After a promising weekend Ivy League sweep, Penn once again struggled to maintain consistency.
In their mid-week clash with Big 5 rival Villanova, the Quakers committed four errors and only connected for three hits en route to a 9-0 shutout at the paws of the Wildcats.
Penn started the night with freshman Amanda Gisonni taking the mound, searching for her first win of the season.
But the Red and Blue (17-14, 7-1 Ivy) disappointed on both defense and hitting against a weak Wildcats squad (14-20, 2-9 Big East).
Immediately, Villanova took advantage of the rookie with five hits and five runs — including three on a home run by sophomore center fielder Beth Smetana.
The weak inning marked the demise of Penn’s strong defense in the contest.
“We’ve been strong defensively all year,” coach Leslie King said. “There was stuff that went down, that weren’t scored as errors that were plays we should’ve made.”
In the bottom of the first, Penn junior Elysse Gorney walked and junior first baseman Georgia Guttadauro struck a single to get the bats going for Penn.
However, the inning ended in a strikeout by junior third baseman Kayla Dahlerbruch.
Penn then started to self-destruct.
The biggest evidence of the Quakers’ lack of focus were their three errors leading to two more Wildcat runs, vaulting Villanova to a 7-0 lead in the top of the second.
“There wasn’t that fire to us,” senior shortstop Stephanie Caso said. “It’s late in the season and we overlooked this mid-week game.”
Freshman pitcher Lauren Li entered in the top of the third to try and get Penn back on track.
However, the Wildcats benefited from a sacrifice fly and an error by Guttadauro, and Penn saw itself fall deeper into despair with a 9-0 deficit.
The next inning saw the Quakers again struggle in the box, as Villanova struck out two of their batters.
King then dramatically changed the lineup, taking out senior second baseman Samantha Erosa and senior outfielder Jessica Melendez in the top of the fourth.
This change helped Penn keep the Wildcats off of the board for the remainder of the game and show some signs of life throughout this usually strong defense.
Senior pitcher Lindsay Mann stepped up in the top of fifth and helped inspire some hope in the demoralized Quakers squad.
However, with Villanova’s excellent pitching, Penn fell by the ‘mercy rule’ to the Wildcats in the bottom of the fifth.
“Clearly, we just had no energy and we weren’t into the game at all,” King said. “We’ve got to find a way to make more out of these games.”
The Quakers take on Princeton in a doubleheader Saturday at Penn Park, a matchup for which they feel prepared.
“We’ll come out with a ton of energy and fight on Saturday,” King said. “I don’t have any doubt about it.”
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