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In Penn’s first trip to the NCAA tournament, rising junior Alexis Borden pitched in both of Penn’s double-elimination contests, bouncing back from a poor start against Texas A&M on Friday to pitch seven and a third strong innings against Arizona, pushing the game into extra innings only to lose on an Arizona sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Photo: Patrick Hulce / The Daily Pennsylvanian

The historic season of the Penn softball team has finally come to a dramatic, hard-fought close.

The Red and Blue came off of a 12-0 shutout at the hands of the Texas A&M Aggies heading into an elimination game with the Arizona Wildcats. The Quakers (30-20) battled with a storied Arizona (33-25) team, coming up just short in extra innings, falling, 3-2.

The game began with three scoreless innings for both sides. Penn and Arizona managed a few hits and walks, but neither team could execute.

The Quakers’ “D” again showed that it was one of the best in the nation by notching a double-play in the bottom of the first.

The scoring was started by junior first baseman Georgia Guttadauro who cleanly plated senior second baseman Samantha Erosa on a homer right inside the foul pole. This two-run homer put Penn over the top in the third and initiated a pitching change for the Arizona, knocking the Wildcats’ starter out of the contest.

In the fourth, Arizona responded with an RBI single with no outs. But, Penn’s defense would keep the Wildcats from clawing their way back into the contest.

The play of the game was made by Guttadauro, who made a diving catch in foul territory. The flash of leather earned the number two spot on ESPN’s Top Plays and a SportsCenter Top Play nomination by broadcaster Pam Ward.

After the Quakers went down 1-2-3 in the top of the seventh, the Wildcats managed to claw their way back into contention with another RBI single.

The Red and Blue entered the top of the eighth with all the pressure, having lost the lead.

Despite their best efforts, they couldn’t get anything going at bat. Then, in the bottom of the eighth, Arizona tallied a sacrifice fly to secure the walk-off victory and end the historic season for the Penn Quakers.

“I’m very proud of how we came back today after a very shaky start [last Friday against the Aggies],” coach Leslie King said. “I’m really proud of the team coming out and playing the type of softball we are used to playing,”

King also made sure to point out that, whether or not the rest of the teams in the NCAA recognize it, this game proved to the other teams that Penn is a legitimate contender.

Both King and Guttadauro addressed that this participation in the regional finals boosts not only the prestige but the expectations for the program.

“They went out and showed that they could compete with a program like Arizona which has a tremendous history,” King said. “It certainly raises the bar for our program.”

Penn showed its class and swagger as it has all season by being all smiles facing questions from the NCAA and other reporters.

“Penn’s gotten little press for being in the Ivy League. I think yesterday we were stunned by the fans,” Guttadauro said.

“I think what’s important is that we aren’t out of our league with level of play [here] and we showed that today.

“We played Penn softball and that I’m really proud of.”

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