Hot or cold with the bats, the Penn softball team can’t seem to find a winning formula.
And there is no better evidence to that point than the Quakers doubleheader at Lehigh yesterday.
In the first of the Mountain Hawks’ two victories, the Red and Blue fell 2-0 in a one-hitter pitched by Lehigh’s Tiffany Curtis. Though Penn’s bats came alive in the second game, in which they recorded 13 hits, the Quakers still got outslugged, 10-7.
With her performance in yesterday’s opening game, Curtis continued her recent dominance of the Quakers (3-10). The righthander has allowed only three runs in her last 15 innings pitched against Penn.
The Red and Blue’s sole hit against Curtis came via a drag bunt by senior Keiko Uraguchi in the third inning.
“She does a really great job of keeping us off balance,” Penn coach Leslie King said. “She utilizes the umpire strike zone really well, spots the ball well and throws hard.”
The Quakers’ poor performance at the plate in the first game seemed out of place in a series marked by strong offensive performances.
In last year’s doubleheader, for example, the teams combined for 23 runs and 39 hits.
But in yesterday’s second game, the spark came back to both teams, and an offensive barrage ensued.
The Quakers fell into an early 6-1 hole before taking the lead with a six-run rally in the top of the sixth.
“We do well under pressure towards the end of games when we know that we can be doing better,” said freshman Brooke Coloma, who recorded one of Penn’s seven straight hits during the late surge. “We knew this was our shot. We started hitting the pitcher. She started getting rattled, and we took advantage of that.”
But Lehigh quickly responded with four runs in the bottom half of the inning before shutting down the Quakers in the top of the seventh.
“We let the first two runners on base [in the sixth], which is the cardinal sin,” King said. “Our defense lapsed a bit, and they scored the go-ahead run. It was a kick in the gut to take the lead and then give it back to them.”
While today’s losses make it five years since Penn last defeated Lehigh, the team is still satisfied with having broken its recent offensive slump.
“It was nice to see us get some hits back-to-back, which we’ve been struggling with in the last couple games,” King said. “So to string them together was really encouraging for us.”
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