Softball Opens South Division Play with Cornell

PHILADELPHIA – Getting two much needed wins against Brown on Wednesday, the University of Pennsylvania softball team hosts top South Division team, Cornell, in a four-game series on Saturday and Sunday at Penn Park. The Quakers’ victories over the Bears moved them into second place behind the Big Red, as the Red and Blue are now 4-3 in the Ivy League. Both doubleheaders this weekend will begin at 12:30 p.m.

Live Audio/Stats

A free live audio feed for the doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday will be provided by the Ivy League Digital Network.

All the action can also be found here through live stats.

Last Time Out

Strong pitching performances propelled Penn in Wednesday afternoon’s doubleheader with Brown at Penn Park. The Quakers swept the Bears by scores of 8-0 and 5-3 and enter this weekend’s series 9-14 overall, 4-3 Ivy.

Notching her second shutout of the season, junior pitcher Alexis Borden set the tone early in game one, striking out Brown’s lead-off batter, Casey Fisher.

The Quakers came out swinging, taking an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Back at the plate in the second, the Red and Blue extended their lead to 4-0 after sophomore Kanani Datan hit a two-run single to right center.

As the Bears continued to struggle at the plate, Penn continued to add more onto the board. Senior tri-captain Elysse Gorney helped the Quakers pull further away with a three-run double, for a 7-0 lead. Needing one last run to end the game early, senior Kayla Dahlerbruch did just that in the bottom of the fifth with a walk-off single.

Game two began very similar to the first, this time the other Alexis was in the circle.

Freshman Alexis Sargent picked up right where Borden left off, forcing Brown’s first three batters to ground out. Once again, the Quakers got on the board first, scoring three runs on Bear errors. The Red and Blue tallied two more runs and began the top of the fifth with a 5-0 lead.

Brown put pressure on the young pitcher and finally cracked the board, scoring two runs in the fifth. The Bears were only able to put one more up in the top of the seventh, as a fly out to short ended the game, 5-3.

Scouting Cornell

On Tuesday afternoon, Cornell fell in a nonconference single game to Colgate in extra innings, 7-6. The two teams were scheduled to play a doubleheader but were unable to play the second game due to darkness.

The Big Red held a 2-1 lead through five innings, but the Red Raiders tied it up at two in the top of the sixth. As neither team could score for the win, the contest went into extra innings where things got interesting.

Colgate took the lead in the top of the eighth, scoring on a fielding error by Cornell’s centerfielder. However, the Big Red returned the favor in the bottom half, scoring a run on an error by the Red Raider’s third baseman.

Both teams scored one run each in the ninth and began the tenth tied at 4-4.

Colgate went ahead by three on an RBI single and two-run homer to open the top. With a runner on at third, Cornell pulled itself out of danger and went to the plate one final time.

After having scored one, the Big Red needed two more runs to stay tied with the Red Raiders. With two outs, Sophie Giaquinto hit a single, knocking one run in, and advanced to second on the throw. Christina Villalon made her way to third and attempted to beat the throw to home but was called out, ending the game one run shy, 7-6.

In the loss to Colgate, Cornell left a total of 18 runners on base.

**Colgate was the first win of the season for Penn. The Quakers defeated the Red Raiders in Orlando during the UCF Spring Fling, 11-1 (6 innings).**

Big Red to watch:

Sophomore Outfielder Michiko McGivney – Leads Big Red in batting average (.361) and in slugging percentage (.639) … Has a 1.00 fielding percentage … Also has team’s best on base percentage (.465).

Freshman Pitcher/Outfielder Jessica Bigbie – Ninth in the League in batting average (.333) … Tied for seventh in the League in RBI (16) … Recorded most hits for Cornell so far this season (27) … Went 4-for-4 against Colgate.

Senior Pitcher Alyson Onyon – Leads Cornell with a 3.34 ERA … Is fourth in the Leauge with 65 K ... Recorded two shutouts so far this season.

The Series with Cornell
Cornell leads the series, 19-38

First Meeting: The Quakers defeated the Big Red in 1982, 9-4
Last Meeting:
April 20, 2013 - Penn took three out of the four-game series with Cornell, dropping the first game, 10-9. The Red and Blue took the next three games, 13-0 (5 inn.), 6-2, and 6-5.
In the last nine contests between the two teams, the Quakers took seven – including the 4-0 South Division Playoff win on May 5, 2012.

League Leaders

Earning her second Rookie of the Week award for her performance last week, freshman Leah Allen is tied for the League lead in home runs with six and has the League-best slugging percentage of the season (.680). She is tied for the third best batting average (.373) and is in a three-way tie for most RBI (21).

Also among the Individual League Leaders is fellow freshman Alexis Sargent. Sargent is atop of the list in ERA with 1.24 and is tenth in the League with 5.25 K/G. Aside from her power pitching; Sargent’s presence at bat has also been a big factor for the Quakers, as she has the League’s seventh best slugging percentage (.517). She is also tied for fifth in the League with four home runs.

A two-time unanimous first-team All-Ivy selection, junior pitcher Alexis Borden holds the League’s best K/G (8.30) and is also second in the League in strikeouts with 85. Borden holds the fifth best ERA around the League at 2.15 and is tied for fifth in innings pitched with 71.2.