Softball Splits Doubleheader, Winning Opener 4-3 in 11 Innings

Game One Box Score

Game Two Box Score

PHILADELPHIA - The Penn softball team opened its season Sunday with a doubleheader, the opener of which was amarathon game that forced the young team to prove its mettle early and often. The Quakers finally won the game 4-3 in 11 innings when senior Christina Khosravi blooped a line drive over the shortstop's head to bring home freshman Diana Ark. In the nightcap, Penn fell to Lafayette 1-0 in a game that had to be shortened due to darkness.

With junior tri-captain Emily Denstedt in the circle, the Quakers let Lafayette get on the board first in Game One, when the Leopards' pitcher, Kasey Karr, lineda homer to left-center. Kristen Garganio followed with a single, but was stranded at first base. For Denstedt, who pitched four innings in the opener, they were the only two hits allowed.

Penn answered in the bottom of the third when freshman Diana Ark led off with a bloop double down the left field line. After Anna Puglisi flew out, senior tri-captain Annie Kinsey, the reigning Ivy League Player of the Year, roped a double to left center that brought in Ark to tie the score. Sophomore Keiko Uraguchi followed with the Quakers' third double of the inning, giving Penn a 2-1 lead.

Denstedt was lifted after four innings in favor of freshman Taylor Tieman. In her first collegiate start, Tieman was greeted rudely when Lafayette's Sarah Price belted a home run to left. The freshman rebounded, though, getting out of the inning thanks to a 5-3 double play, the first of two twin-killings turned by the Quakers. Last year, Penn led Division I with 0.60 double plays turned per game.

Emma Kline gave the Leopards a lead in the seventh inning when she knocked the third solo home run of the day for Lafayette. But in the bottom of the inning, Anna Puglisibunted her way aboard and Annie Kinsey belted a long fly ball to deep center field that Kline couldn't handle. Puglisi scampered all the way around to tie the score as Kinsey pulled into second base.

That was it for the scoring, as the teams threatened but could push nothing across for the next three-and-a-half innings. In the bottom of the eleventh, though, Ark led off with a sharp single to left. After Puglisi popped out, Kinsey singled and Ark moved up to second. Uraguchi walked, bringing up Khosravi.

Just wanting to put the ball in play, Khosravi smacked the ball up the middle, just out of the reach of Lafayette's shortstop. The throw to second was just a hair too late to force out Uraguchi, but it didn't matter as Khosravi reached first and Ark crossed home. In their first game, despite the extra innings needed, the Quakers were victors.

Freshman Jessie Lupardus, who pitched the final two innings of the game, was the winning pitcher in her first collegiate appearance. Kasey Karr took the loss for Lafayette, going the distance and pitching all 11 innings.

The second game featured more strong pitching, as Lupardus started and kept the Leopards off balance with an impressive change up.

Lafayette pushed across a run in the fourth when Stacey Kushner blooped a single into left, and Kristen Ruckno brought her home witha hard single. It was, as Penn's head coach Leslie King put it, "the only hard hit ball they had all day off Jessie [Lupardus]."

Lafayette scored twice more in the top of the sixth, but those runs were wiped off the board as darkness prevented the Quakers a chance to respond. The score reverted to the end of the fifth inning, with Lafayette earning a 1-0 win.

Penn is back in action on Tuesday when they travel to Delaware for a doubleheader against the Blue Hens. The first game is set to begin at 1 p.m.