The Quakers had no answer for the explosive Texas A&M offense Friday evening in College Station, TX.
Penn faced the NCAA’s 16th seed and Regional Finals host Texas A&M playing loose and without any expectation. The Aggies, potentially fueled by their recent loss to Alabama resulting in an at-large bid, pummeled the Quakers 12-0 allowing only one hit in the contest.
ESPN painted an optimistic picture for Penn with sophomore pitcher Alexis Borden and her lethal change-up in the center. The analysts even said the Quakers had an advantage of a slightly torn rotator cuff in the shoulder of senior Aggie pitcher Mel Dumezich. But, after a 1-2-3 top half of the inning, Texas A&M surged forward.
It began with Borden walking the first batter. Then Penn surrendered an RBI single off the bat of Aggie junior third baseman Amber Garza. Then freshman Cali Lanphear, with 18 home runs on the season, smacked a single into center field. The Quakers would then be in trouble with two consecutive scoring at bats: an RBI double followed by a three run homerun by junior outfielder Cassie Tysarczyk. Penn left the inning down by five runs.
The first two innings were perfect for A&M in the field, resulting in nothing across for the Red and Blue.
Again, Borden and the Red and Blue’s defense had no solution for the domineering Aggie assault. Lanphear hit a single and stole second on the next at bat. Borden, smiling the whole time in an attempt to keep the mood light, walked another batter and gave up another RBI single to Tysarcyk. Dumezich, despite her sore shoulder, entered and notched a two RBI single. Borden’s last pitch in the circle saw a two run homer by senior Meagan May.
Penn was now buried beneath a 10-0 lead. Freshman pitcher Lauren Li relieved Borden and closed out the second inning.
In the third, sophomore Lauren Ainsley relieved the ailing Mel Dumezich. Senior shortstop Stephanie Caso tallied the only hit for Penn in the game with a double deep in left field. But, the Quakers would be handily dispatched.
Penn would stave off another offensive explosion, giving up only two more runs.
Senior second baseman Samanatha Erosa drew the attention of ASA Hall of Famer analyst Michelle Smith in her solid play, executing two beautiful double plays to close out the third and fourth innings.
There is a first for everything and that certainly was true of this evening. This was Penn’s first NCAA tournament appearance game, first nationally televised game, and the first matchup between the Quakers and the Aggies.
While the 12-0 shutout certainly stings on the scoreboard, the Quakers will have an opportunity to bounce back against 8-time national champions Arizona. You can catch this elimination game at 5:30 PM ET on ESPN2.
Arizona is entering the match-up coming off of a 7-0 shutout at the hands of Baylor who faces Texas A&M next.
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