Penn softball is firing on all cylinders, which bodes well for its Ivy prospects, but not so well for La Salle.
The Quakers unleashed a 19-hit, 13-run barrage onto the struggling Explorers during a doubleheader Wednesday afternoon at Penn Park.
The offensive onslaught, coupled with strong pitching performances, led the Red and Blue to sweep La Salle, 8-0 and 5-1, in their last outing before starting Ivy play on Friday.
After taking the first game in six innings by mercy rule, Penn (15-10) entered the second game with confidence and energy, as the entire team seemed to feed off the mounting momentum.
However, La Salle (3-19) put up some resistance in the second game, holding the Quakers scoreless through four innings and eliminating the errors that had allowed Penn to cruise in the first game.
In the bottom of the first, it seemed as if the Quakers would pick up right where they left off. To lead off the game, Sydney Turchin reached base on a walk, and Elysse Gorney followed with a single. The two runners advanced to second and third, respectively, with the middle of Penn’s lineup coming up.
La Salle’s freshman pitcher Alicia Aughton escaped the inning without allowing a run to score, as Penn’s next three hitters went down in order.
However, La Salle was simply prolonging the inevitable. The floodgates opened in the fifth inning, beginning with base hits from Turchin and Gorney.
After missing a chance to score runners in the first inning, sophomore Kayla Dahlerbruch capitalized on a second chance by lifting a homerun over the left field foul pole, giving Penn a 3-0 lead.
Four at-bats later, Samantha Erosa drove in two more runs on a two-out double, scoring Karina Rios and Jessica Melendez.
The Explorers would load the bases with one out in the seventh inning and score one run on a base hit to left field. But the comeback bid was stopped short as pitcher Mikenzie Voves finished the inning with a strikeout and fielder’s choice, ending the game at 5-1.
The Penn pitching staff had a clean performance in its final tune-up before Ivy play. Freshman Alexis Borden improved to 9-2 with a two-hit complete game shutout in the first game.
Lindsay Mann and Mikenzie Voves split time in the circle in the second game.Mann gave up three hits and no runs in three innings, while Voves finished with one earned run in the final four innings.
Meanwhile, Penn’s defense bounced back from a nine-error weekend to put together a flawless performance.
“We feel like we’re in a pretty good place,” coach Leslie King said.
Scheduled to face Brown on Friday, the Quakers carry their best record prior to Ivy League play since 2008, when the team started 11-6.
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