Crosstown rivals always have a bit of extra edge, but Penn softball fell victim to an even closer foe.
The Quakers were looking to extend their winning streak to three games after a big series against Cornell last weekend, but couldn’t put it together against next-door neighbor Drexel and lost, 6-2.
The story of the game was the Dragons (16-17) putting together a string of big hits that would eventually put the game out of reach for Penn (12-16), even though the Red and Blue fought hard to keep it close .
“[Drexel] had made some good adjustments, put the ball in play and made things happen,” assistant coach Alisha Prystowski said.
The Quakers came into the game after scoring 27 runs in their four previous contests, and they looked to keep the offensive fireworks going against a Drexel pitching staff that had allowed a combined 18 runners to cross the plate in its last three contests. But the teams reversed roles in this one.
“We didn’t make enough adjustments at the plate,” Prystowski said. “The ball also just didn’t get through today.”
The Dragons were able to draw first blood in the top half of the second inning off of freshman pitcher Alexis Sargent — who came into the game after the Quakers’ starter, sophomore Amanda Gisonni, departed after pitching a scoreless first inning. The Quakers were an out away from getting out of a jam, with runners on second and third, when Dragons center fielder Comfort Ahonkhai delivered a well-struck base hit through the left side of the infield to plate the only run of the inning.
After being stymied for the first couple of innings by Drexel’s veteran starter Shelby Taylor, the Quakers were able to stage a two-out rally in the third inning after an opposite field single from senior catcher Elysse Gorney, who was eventually plated by freshman Leah Allen on a double to left.
The big blow came in the away half of the fourth with freshman Courtney Cuzick on the mound for the Red and Blue. With the bases loaded, an errant throw to Gorney on a fielder’s choice allowed two runs to score, and the floodgates would stay open when junior Leticia Matsuoka hit a searing line drive to right-center to score two more Dragons, putting Drexel up 5-1.
Even though Drexel was able to tack on another run in the fifth, the Quakers would not go quietly, as they put together a total of six hits in the game. They were able to scratch out a run in the seventh, but eventually stranded the bases loaded to end the game.
“We had some good at-bats today, and hopefully they can carry over into this weekend,” Gorney said, referring to the tough four game stretch that the Quakers will face against archrival Princeton.
And against the Tigers, there will be no margin for error.