South Division Champs, Wins Columbia Series, 3-1

NEW YORK, N.Y. – For the third year in a row, the University of Pennsylvania softball team has clinched the South Division Title, after splitting with Columbia on Saturday afternoon to win the series, 3-1. The Quakers took game one by a score of 3-1, and dropped the second game, 6-5. The Red and Blue will await the conclusion of the North Division’s games to see which team they will play in the Ivy League Championships Series.

Game 1 – Columbia

WP: Alexis Borden (11-8), 7.0 IP, 10 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K

LP: Tessa Kroll (3-3), 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

Going into the game, Penn needed on more win to secure the outright title of South Division Champ, and the Quakers did just that in game one against Columbia on Saturday. With the first two innings ending quickly, the Red and Blue cracked the board first in the top of the third, scoring two unearned runs on a fielding error by the Lions’ right fielder. Junior tri-captain Sydney Turchin was the first run to get on base after hitting a single through the left side on the first pitch and then sophomore Kanani Datan followed up with another single on the first pitch. But it was Datan’s hit that caused the Lion error, leading both Quakers to reach home safely.

The Red and Blue put up a third run in the top of the fourth for a 3-0 lead, when junior tri-captain Vanessa Weaver hit a single to right field that allowed freshman Vera Barnwell to round the bases and safely score.

But Penn wasn’t the only team that capitalized on an error, as Columbia scored a run in the bottom of the fifth on a fielding error. However, the Lions were stopped by the Quakers from scoring anymore as the score remained the same at the bottom of the seventh.

Senior tri-captain Elysse Gorney went 2-for-3 at the plate and recorded seven putouts. Datan was 1-for-3 and scored a run.

Game 2 – Columbia

WP: Brooke Darling (9-9), 5.2 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 3 K

LP: Lauren Li (1-1), 3.2 IP, 9 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Once again, just like in the other three games, Penn was first to take the lead. In the top of the first with two outs, freshman Leah Allen started the scoring off with a bang, hitting a bomb out to right center on a full count. But the bombs didn’t stop there as freshman Alexis Sargent hit another shot to left field.

After Sargent and the rest of the Red and Blue defense made quick work of the Lions in the bottom of the inning, the Quakers were back at the plate and extended their lead with three more runs.

In the top of the second inning sophomore Kanani Datan came to the plate, with no outs and runners at first and second, and look down the third base line to head coach Leslie King for the signal. Picking out the right pitch, Datan laid down the sac bunt and moved junior tri-captain Vanessa Weaver to third and junior tri-captain Sydney Turchin to second. The threat of runners in position caused Columbia to make the decision of a pitching change, replacing starter Kayla Maloney with Brooke Darling. But after fouling off her first pitch, Allen smacked a double out to right center, sending Weaver and Turchin home. A third run was added when Sargent hit a single out to center field allowing Allen to sprint home for a 5-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, Columbia began to chip at the lead after scoring on a single through the left side by catcher Liz Caggiano.

Unable to score any runs in the top of the third, Penn took the field once again as the Lions continued to close the gap. On a full count, Mackensy Lakian added another run to the board on her home run to left field. Columbia kept putting the pressure on the Red and Blue defense, scoring two more runs to trail only by one, 5-4.

After starting off strong, the Quaker bats began to lose its luster and were unable to bring anymore home for the rest of the game.

However, the Lions were able to keep their bats moving and scored a run in the bottom of the fourth and the fifth for the 6-5 win.

Sargent and Allen led Red and Blue’s bats in the one-run loss. Sargent was a perfect 3-for-3 with two RBI and one run, while Allen was 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs.

Penn will be back in action on Tuesday for its final game of the season, and the last nonconference contest with Villanova at 4:00 p.m.

Download: Columbia Game 3 Boxcore.pdf