softball

Freshman Jurie Joyner hit two home runs this weekend, but it was not enough to keep Penn from dropping three of its four games

Photo: Guyrandy Jean-GIlles

It wasn’t quite the weekend Penn softball expected.

After taking three of four games from Harvard and powerhouse Dartmouth last weekend, the Red and Blue seemed primed for a strong outing this weekend. However, Penn dropped both games on Friday afternoon against Brown as well as the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader against Yale, before the Quakers’ offense exploded by scoring 11 runs Saturday afternoon to pull back to .500 in the Ivy League.

After Penn (13-13, 4-4 Ivy) took the lead in the fourth inning of the first game on freshman Jurie Joyner’s single, Brown quickly struck back, scoring two runs in the bottom of the frame off of senior pitcher Alexis Borden. The Quakers left the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, and four runs in the next two innings helped the Bears seal their 6-1 victory.

The Quakers were once again given an early boost in the second game of the doubleheader against Brown (8-12, 3-5), when sophomore Alexis Sargent crushed a two-run homer to put Penn on the board first for the second straight game. But once again, Brown’s offense responded, scoring in the second, third and sixth innings, leaving the Quakers trailing 6-2 entering the top of the seventh.

However, Penn refused to go quietly. With two outs and two runners on base, Joyner once again produced some clutch hitting, homering to left-center field and notching her fourth RBI of the doubleheader. Penn managed to get two more runners on base still with two outs, but the rally fell just short when senior captain Vanessa Weaver flied out to right field.

“I think coming off last week’s games against Harvard and Dartmouth, it felt like we let off the intensity a little bit on Friday,” Joyner said. “Our games against Brown really were a sort of wakeup call that we can’t let off the gas for a second and how important it is that we go out there and do our job day in and day out.”

The Quakers were right back at it Saturday looking to end their weekend skid against the Bulldogs. Again, Penn’s fortunes looked promising in the early going when junior captain Lauren Li hit a solo homer in the top of the first.

But, just like in the squad’s contests on Friday, the Quakers bats faltered. Although the Red and Blue maintained their one run lead for most of the game — thanks to a stellar outing by Borden for six innings — Yale (5-12, 2-4) brought two runners home in the bottom of the seventh with the help of a few passed balls.

“This was our first real road trip, and I think it was certainly an adjustment playing away from Penn Park,” Sargent said. “Something we struggled with on Friday and early Saturday was making those in-game adjustments that we needed to win, and I think we were having some trouble with making the same mistakes twice.”

In the final game of the weekend, Penn’s offense finally found its groove, eclipsing its run total from the previous three games.

The Quakers scored 12 runs on 15 hits, including another Joyner home run — her third of the year. Sargent contributed by knocking in three runs, giving her a league-leading 25 RBI, while Li also added three RBI to the tally. This proved enough to hold off Yale’s seven-run fifth inning, proving enough to overcome the Elis’ seven-run fifth inning.

“We needed to be more ready to fight for every pitch in every inning, and I think on Saturday we made those adjustments and it showed on the scoreboard,” Sargent said. “I think as a team we responded really well to those first few tough games and think that last win will allow us to have some momentum going into our big games next week.

Penn will resume action next week with a midweek game against Villanova before its all-important divisional matchup against Cornell.

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