In a pitcher’s duel, one inning can make the difference between winning and losing. And in two pitcher’s duels, two innings can change the face of a doubleheader.
Penn women’s softball suffered two narrow defeats Wednesday afternoon in a doubleheader at Lehigh, as the Mountain Hawks scored in just two innings in the two games. Meanwhile, Lehigh’s pitching held Penn scoreless, leading the team to 3-0 and 2-0 victories over the Quakers.
Penn’s freshman ace Alexis Borden entered the game having pitched five consecutive complete games and with a nearly flawless 1.23 ERA. However, Borden ran into trouble early against the Mountain Hawks (11-11) as they scored three runs on four hits in the first inning.
Borden settled down after the opening frame, but the Quakers (10-9) were unable to score against Lehigh’s own freshman pitcher Emily Bausher, who held Penn to just one hit and three walks in seven scoreless innings.
Lehigh’s pitching continued to vex the Quakers’ offense in the second game behind a four-hit complete game from junior pitcher Rebecca Bliss. Sophomore Penn pitcher Mikenzie Voves matched Bliss’s performance pitch-for-pitch through the fourth inning.
But in the fifth, the Mountain Hawks broke through once again, scoring two runs on an RBI single up the middle from senior Julie Fernandez.
Despite failing to score in the second game, Penn’s offense showed signs of life to the tune of four hits and more instances of making “solid contact,” according to sophomore Georgia Guttadauro.
“Making solid contact is definitely a step in the right direction,” she said.
The Quakers have allowed more than four runs in just one game out of 19 this year. However, their offense has yet to match the defense and pitching’s success, as it remains the elusive missing piece from the team’s profile.“Hitting’s contagious, and right now we don’t really have anybody hitting,” coach Leslie King said.
However, the Quakers are confident they can catch the hitting influenza in time for Ivy League play, which opens against Brown on March 30.
“I know this team is full of sources of potential,” Guttadauro said. “We have some amazing hitters, and I think we just need to keep working.”