Softball Takes Two from Monmouth, UW-Green Bay

Penn 3, UW-Green Bay 2 Box score

Penn 9, Monmouth 2 Box score

KISSIMMEE, Fla. - Looking to bounce back from a tough 4-1 loss to Robert Morris on Thursday, the Penn softball team did just that, winning a 9-2 blowout of Monmouth and a 3-2 edging of Wisconsin-Green Bay on Friday to close out their stay at the Rebel Spring Games. The Quakers wrapped up the spring trip with an impressive 8-2 record (10-4 overall), their best showing in Florida ever. Freshman Jessie Lupardus picked up both wins, improving her record to 8-1.

"This is phenomenal for our program," head coach Leslie King said. "The best we had ever done down here before this year was 5-5. This is the best start we have had to a season, period. We need to work on carrying that momentum over now."

On a young team featuring eight freshman on a roster of just 14 players, it was theupperclassmen who provided the leadership on Friday. Against Monmouth, senior tri-captain Annie Kinsey scored the first run for the Quakers, while senior tri-captain Christina Khosravi broke open what was then a 4-2 game with a booming three-run homer in the sixth. Her second home run of the year fought a strong wind to clear the right-center field fence with ease.

Meanwhile, in a tightly-contested pitcher's duel against UW-Green Bay, it was Kinsey's hit that brought home the winning run in the bottom of the seventh. The second baseman laced a bullet to left-center field that could easily have gone for extra bases, but a single was all she needed to score pinch runner Tory Satagaj from third and give the Quakers the win.

"It is going to be a sad day for all of us when C.K. and Annie graduate," King said. "They are our leaders both offensively and defensively and they are just great people to have associated with Penn softball. That was a real opposite field blast that Christina hit. That is a tough park to hit it out of, and with the wind blowing like that, she really crushed it. And as for the second game, I could not have scripted it any better to have Annie Kinsey in the plate in that situation. With a runner on third, I am going to put my faith in Annie every time."

Junior tri-captain Emily Denstedt pitched 6.1 innings, giving up just three hits and one earned run and striking out three, but got the no decision. Still, the outing kept Penn in the game as their bats had gone cold and was one of her best this season.

"Emily pitched a tremendousgame for us today," King said. "I am really pleased with the way she has thrown the ball in her last few outings. She is pitching like she was for us last year, and we need that from her in order to win both ends of doubleheaders. It was good to see her get out there and throw like she is capable."

Penn actually fell behind 1-0 early to Monmouth, as the Hawks got an unearned run in the second inning. The Quakers answered right away, though, with two in the top of the third. Kinsey led off with a single and Keiko Uraguchi put down a perfect bunt, beating the throw for a single. The throw got away from the first baseman, allowing Kinsey to move up to third. Uraguchi promptly stole second, putting two runners in scoring position for Khosravi. The power hitting shortstop fooled the Monmouth defense with another well-placed bunt, and again she beat out a wild throw. Kinsey and Uraguchi scored, putting Penn up 2-1.

After Monmouth tied the score in the fourth, RBI singles from freshmen Hilary Sheridan and Diana Ark scored freshmen Taylor Tieman and Alisha Prystowsky, giving Penn a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning. After Khosravi's home run scored Kinsey and Uraguchi in the sixth, the Quakers tacked on two more in the seventh as they capitalized on an RBI single from freshman Kelsey Wolfe and a costly defensive miscue by the Hawks to reach the 9-2 final.

Against UW-Green Bay, the Quakers could not seem to get anything going offensively, but fortunately for them, Denstedt was equally good at shutting down the Phoenix hitters.

Finally, in the sixth inning, Uraguchi laid down another perfect bunt, beating it out for a single to lead off the inning. Khosravi bunted her over, and Wolfe hit a double to left-center just out of the reach of the dive of the Phoenix left fielder to score Uraguchi. Wolfe would come around to make it 2-0 when Tieman ripped a single to left.

The lead was not safe, though, as an error by Denstedt herself prevented what could have been a game-ending double play and instead put runners on first and second for Green Bay with one out. Lupardus was brought on to nail down the game, but a sharp single to center by Dana Brockman plated two runs, tying the score.

In the bottom of the inning, though, sophomore Susan Miller led off with a single to left and moved up to second on a sacrifice by freshman Bridget McDugall. Freshman Tory Satagaj then came in to pinch-run for Miller, and was nearly picked off by the Green Bay catcher, Samantha Howe. Satagaj remained on second, though, and put the Quakers even closer when her nice slide eluded the tag of the Green Bay third basemen, putting runners on the corners as junior Anna Puglisi hit into the fielder's choice.

Up stepped Kinsey, who fell behind in the count 1-2 before driving the 2-2 pitch to deep left-center field. As Satagaj crossed the plate and was greeted by her teammates, the Quakers completed their best Rebel Spring Games appearance ever, finishing 8-2 in the action-packed week.

"To hang in and win eight games out of ten in six days is really big for us as we head into Ivy play," King said. "I thought we showed great stamina and intensity for a team with eight freshman out of 14 players. We have to stay focused now and keep this going."