VILLANOVA, Pa. A trip to Villanova turned out to be just what the Penn softball team needed. The Quakers (20-16) defeated Villanova 7-0 in the first game and then came from behind for a dramatic 4-3 victory in Game Two.
Freshman Taylor Tieman, who came in relief in Game Two and ended up getting the win, hit a two-run home run with one out in the top of the seventh to put the Quakers up, 4-3. It was her fourth home run of the season.
Freshman Jessie Lupardus got the win in the first game, pitching a four-hitter to shut out the Wildcats. Lupardus, now 15-7, also earned her fourth save of the season in the second game.
The Quakers got off to a fast start in the first game and did not look back. Senior tri-captain Annie Kinsey singled to lead off the game, and after sophomore Keiko Uraguchi bunted her over to second, the Wildcats elected to intentionally walk senior tri-captain Christina Khosravi.
Freshman Kelsey Wolfe then worked a walk to load the bases, and freshman Taylor Tieman picked up the first of two RBIs in the game by being hit by a pitch, forcing Kinsey home. Sophomore Susan Miller followed by working the third Quaker walk of the inning, plating Khosravi.
After threats turned up fruitless in the second and third, the Quakers expanded their lead in the fourth.
Uraguchi led off with a single to left, and freshman Alisha Prystowsky followed by lining a single to center field. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, and Khosravi walked for a second time to load the bases.
Wolfe then lofted a fly ball to medium-depth left field. Uraguchi broke for home and just beat the throw, giving the Quakers a 3-0 lead. Tieman followed with a hard roller through the left side that brought home another run, and Miller completed the scoring when her sacrifice fly to center field brought home Khosravi.
In the fifth, Annie Kinsey drew a one-out walk and stole second. With two outs, Prystowsky ripped a double to left-center field, allowing Kinsey to trot home. After Khosravi was intentionally walked again, Wolfe sliced a single down the right field line, plating Prystowsky with the Quakers’ seventh run.
Although the offensive outburst was more than welcome in the Penn dugout, it was hardly necessary as freshman Jessie Lupardus put together another dominant outing. Going the distance, Lupardus scattered four hits and allowed only one runner to advance beyond second base while striking out five. The freshman retired the final 13 batters she faced as the Quakers broke their eight-game losing streak.
Game Two got off to another fast start for the Quakers as Khosravi launched her eighth home run of the season, a two-run blast to left-center, in the first inning. Uraguchi scored on the homer after having walked earlier in the frame.
Villanova tied the score in the bottom of the first thanks to a two-RBI double by Jess O’Boyle.
The score stayed tied 2-2 until the bottom of the fifth when Meghan Morese launched a solo home run to lead off the fifth and put Villanova up, 3-2. After the next two runners reached, Tieman was brought in to relieve starter Emily Denstedt.
The first batter Tieman faced was Kristen Jelinski, who lifted a deep fly ball to left-center field. The hit seemed destined for extra bases, but Keiko Uraguchi made a fully-extended over-the-shoulder grab to record the second out of the inning and prevent any further damage.
Villanova remained in the lead until the seventh inning, when Khosravi led off with a walk. After Wolfe popped out, Tieman stepped to the plate.
As soon as the ball left her bat, it was clear that the Quakers had taken the lead. The blast easily cleared the left-center field fence and Tieman rounded the bases to be met at home by her raucous teammates.
Lupardus came on in the bottom of the seventh to shut down the Wildcats. She got the firs two outs on two pitches, but O’Boyle fouled off several pitches before flailing and missing as the Quakers claimed the sweep.
Penn is back in action on Saturday when it travels to rival Princeton to start a four-game set over the weekend with the South Division-leading Tigers. First pitch on both days is set for 12:30 p.m.