After going 7-1 at the Rebel Spring Games in Florida over spring break, the Quakers returned home to a brand new stadium.
The Red and Blue christened Penn Park with a split in a doubleheader against local rival Saint Joseph’s.
“It was great to win our first game at Penn Park,” coach Leslie King said. “We couldn’t have asked for a nicer day, and we had a lot of fans supporting us, which kept us motivated until the end.”
The Quakers (9-6) and the Hawks were locked in a pitcher’s duel for the first game until the bottom of the seventh inning, when Penn loaded the bases and freshman second baseman Sydney Turchin drew a walk to bring fellow freshman Karina Rios home. The walkoff walk was the only run scored.
The win was particularly impressive for the Quakers given their inability to beat St. Joe’s in the past. Yesterday’s win was only Penn’s second in its last nine games against the Hawks.
“It was definitely a total team effort,” Turchin said of the first match. “And I guess it’s sort of fitting that the game ended the way it did because it was such a battle. But it showed us that we can really hang with a team like St. Joe’s, and I think we should all be proud of that.”
Despite the lack of offense, King was proud of her team for “hanging in” on defense. The airtight Quakers defense forced the Hawks to strand seven batters on seven at-bats.
“St. Joe’s is a very, very good team,” King said. “They’re projected to do very well in the Atlantic 10 this season, so I was very impressed with how the girls shut them down defensively.”
Freshman standout pitcher Alexis Borden led the Quakers’ defense, throwing seven strikeouts and surrendering only two walks. Erin Gallagher, who pitched for the Hawks (6-13) pitcher, walked four and only struck out two.
Borden was also named this week’s Ivy Rookie of the Week for her dominant performance over spring training, with three complete game victories, two shutouts and one save.
In the second game, however, the Hawks came out looking for revenge. St. Joe’s got three hits and scored one run against sophomore pitcher Mikenzie Voves in the first inning, and then the Quakers went down in order to close it out.
However, it was clear from the first inning that although the Hawks could get hits off Voves, they could not score runs. They stranded nine batters — three in the second inning alone — which is a testament to the Quakers’ dominant fielding. Voves struck out six batters and walked three in her seven innings on the mound.
“We can only go up from here,” Turchin said. “I think as soon as we get our hitting where it usually is, we’re going to be very, very good this season.”The freshman leads the team with a .372 batting average.
“Clearly the next thing is to get the bats going,” King added. “We’re pretty much just having batting practice tomorrow.”
The Quakers will need to get their offense in full swing if they want to contend during the Ivy season, which begins at the end of the month.