Softball Splits Opening Day Games

Eastern Kentucky Box Score

Bryant Box Score

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Softball hit the fields for the first live action of the spring season on Sunday to begin the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Florida. One bad inning cost the Quakers (1-1) a shot at two opening day victories, but the team still managed to split with a Sunday evening victory over Bryant, 7-4.

Eastern Kentucky 11 Penn 4

The Quakers opened the 2011 campaign against Eastern Kentucky, who came into the contest with 14 games already under its belt. Nevertheless, the Quakers got out to a quick start when Penn's starting pitcher Taylor Tieman set down the side in order to start off the top of the first. In the bottom half of the frame, Penn loaded the bases with two walks and a hit by pitch. After a Penn strikeout and a force-out at the plate, Penn freshman Kayla Dahlerbruch made her presence in the lineup felt immediately, with a two-out two RBI single. Her hit brought home Alisha Prystowsky and Stephanie Caso to make the score 2-0 after one.

Eastern Kentucky answered in the second inning with two runs of its own. After a one out walk, Tieman struck out the next hitter to put two away. However, Larkyn Wood, who was a thorn in the Quaker's side all game long with a 4-4 day, while scoring three times and knocking in four, hit a two-run homer to tie the game up.

In the bottom of the second and the top of third both lineups went down in order. Penn got the offense back on track in the third when Caso and Prystowsky led off the bottom half of the inning with back to back singles. However, those two would once again not move as Eastern Kentucky got a batter's interference call and a strikeout to put two away. This brought up Dahlerbruch, who once again came through with a two-out double that plated both runner and gave Penn a 4-2 lead.

Neither offense could muster any runs in the fourth, but Eastern Kentucky would have its big inning in the fifth. During that inning, Eastern Kentucky used mostly small ball as it pounded out eight hits and scored seven times in the frame. Seven of the eight hits were singles, but the big blast came in the form of a two-run home run. After the top of the fifth, Penn found itself in a 9-4 hole. The Quakers best chance to come back came in the bottom of the sixth when Bridget Ellsworth and Samantha Erosa both walked with two outs, but Eastern Kentucky would end the threat with a force-out at third.

Eastern Kentucky tacked on two insurance runs with Wood's second two-run home run on the afternoon and eventually held on for the 11-4 victory.

Penn 7 Bryant 4

Penn then turned around for the second game of opening day with Bryant and did not let the earlier loss affect them. Playing as the away time in the neutral site contest, the Quakers got on the board quick in the first with three runs. Penn was up 1-0 after just two batters with Elysse Gorney singling to lead off and coming around to score on the Erosa double to left field. Brooke Coloma made the score 2-0 with her RBI single. She would come around to score on a fielding error by Bryant for the third run of the inning.

Cailyn Hennessy, who got the start after pitching two innings of relief in the first game, gave Penn a shutdown inning when she retired the side in order in the bottom half of the first.

Penn would threaten in the second, but a caught stealing put a damper on a promising inning. Bryant got on the board in the bottom of the second with two runs of their own.

Freshman Mikenzie Voves made her Penn debut when she took the circle in the bottom of the third. She was impressive right from the start. In her first two innings of relief, Voves retired the Bryant lineup in order to keep Penn ahead.

Penn's offensive attack got back on track in the top of the fifth. Dahlerbruch led off the inning with a single and came around to score when Kelsey Wolfe tripled into the right-centerfield gap. An Ellsworth single brought her home to make the score 7-2.

Eastern Kentucky answered with two of its own in the bottom of the fifth to get within three at 7-4, but it would get no closer than that as Voves was very sharp in her collegiate debut. She allowed just one hit over the last two innings to secure a victory in her first outing. For the game, Voves went five innings, allowing just two hits and one earned run. The Quakers offense finished the second game with 12 hits. Erosa had three of those hits, going three for four, while Gorney and Dahlerbruch each had a pair of hits against Bryant.

The Quakers will be back in action early tomorrow morning with a 9 a.m. game at Robert Morris, followed by an 11 a.m. game against Detroit-Mercy. Both games tomorrow will be played at the Osceola Softball Complex.