How about a winning streak for a change?
After enduring seven consecutive losses, Penn softball won its third straight game Wednesday thanks to some heroics from Kayla Dahlerbruch. The senior third baseman singled home the winning run in the eighth inning as the Quakers took down city rival Temple, 4-3.
Already 2-0 in Ivy play after sweeping Yale in a doubleheader on Monday, the nonconference triumph over the Owls (9-15) gives the Red and Blue (7-11) some much-needed momentum.
“It’s nice to get some swag back,” Dahlerbruch said. “We lost a little confidence once we were on our losing streak, but I think that if we win, we have the confidence that we can win.”
As has been the case over the last couple of games, Penn’s pitching was a big story.
Freshman Courtney Cuzick got the call to start on the mound for the Quakers and got off to a quick start, fanning a trio of Owls and holding Temple hitless for the first three innings. She got out of a slight jam in the away half of the fourth to keep the game scoreless. With a runner on second and only one away, Cuzick got a clutch strikeout and a harmless flyout to center to end the inning.
Penn took an early 1-0 lead when freshman Alexis Sargent hit into a fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the bottom of the third inning, scoring freshman Leah Allen. The Quakers could not capitalize on the situation any further though, as catcher Korinne Raby popped out and shortstop Lauren Li lined out to end the inning.
The Red and Blue were able to tack on a pair in the bottom of the fourth on the strength of a two-run single from senior designated hitter Elysse Gorney, which chased home Allen and freshman Casey Stevko.
Both of those runs proved to be much needed.
Temple was able to expose some chinks in Cuzick’s armor in the sixth, as the Owls rallied for three runs on three hits. The big blows were a pair of RBI doubles from center fielder Annie Marcopulus and catcher Kaylyn Zierke. However, Cuzick was able to escape the jam with a big strikeout to keep the game tied and give the Quakers a chance to climb back in the lead.
Though Penn had runners on first and second with two outs in the bottom half of the inning, Dahlerbruch grounded out to second to end the frame.
She would get her revenge in extra innings.
In the bottom of the eighth, after Allen and Gorney reached base for the third and fifth times, respectively, Dahlerbruch stepped to the plate staring at a tough 0-for-3 afternoon. After working the count, the senior came through with a single to right field that chased Allen home and gave the Quakers a huge victory.
“I started off not hitting the ball well and swinging and missing a lot,” Dahlerbruch said. “But for the last at-bat, I said: ‘Forget about what happened and focus on now.’ When I got to two strikes I thought: ‘Put the ball in play and just tap it,’ and that’s what I did.”
“It’s nice to have a couple wins going into the Harvard series this weekend because it is a tough series, no doubt,” coach Leslie King added.
But after Wednesday’s display of toughness by the Quakers in a clutch situation, the pressure will be on Harvard to match Penn’s newfound momentum.