The Quakers may have won three out of four games against a color, but the Dragons were an entirely different beast.
After taking three of four games from Cornell last weekend, the Red and Blue were dropped by their hometown rival Drexel, 8-0, in a nonconference matchup at Drexel Field.
The score told the whole story in April 15th’s West Philadelphia matinee. In the bottom of the fifth, Drexel’s Vanessa Lightfoot sent the Quakers (16-16, 7-5 Ivy) home with a double, one that increased the Dragons’ lead to eight, thus implementing a mercy rule.
While Penn did surrender eight runs in four and one third innings, only three were earned. This was largely due to the four errors committed by the Quakers in the field. Drexel (14-15) only amassed three extra base hits, so the runs were ultimately the result of the Red and Blue providing extra outs to Drexel hitters.
Senior Alexis Borden — who took the loss — fell to 7-10 on the year. While she saw four Dragons cross the plate, she was only responsible for one earned run. The Yorba Linda, Calif., native also tallied three strikeouts, adding to her career total of over 600, which are the most in Penn softball history.
The loss stings for the Red and Blue but is only a bump in the road and won’t dampen their Ivy League aspirations.
Luckily, despite the loss on Wednesday, the Quakers won’t have to wait long to try to bounce back. After capturing three wins against Ivy League South Division rival Cornell last weekend, Penn now returns home — although it wasn’t too far away when it played Drexel — for another important series on April 18.
Matched up with Princeton, the Quakers may have their hands full with one of the Ancient Eight’s staunchest pitchers. Junior Shanna Christian — who ranks fourth in the conference with a 2.63 earned run average — threw consecutive complete-game shutouts on Sunday against Columbia, helping propel the Tigers (14-19, 6-4) to a four-game sweep of the Light Blue.
Although Princeton has played two fewer Ivy contests than their South Division rivals, the squad poses a formidable challenge to the Red and Blue as the former seeks another berth in the Ivy League Championship Series. Although Penn faces Columbia for its final South Division matchup next weekend, a strong performance against the Tigers likely will be enough to put the Quakers in position to capture the division crown.
While both teams feature strong starting pitchers between Borden and Christian, Penn’s advantage comes in the form of its offense. The Quakers average 5.06 runs per contest, while the Tigers only push 3.47 runs across per game and have only one batter with a .300 batting average.
As a result, if the Quakers can do what they failed to do against the Dragons on April 15 and put runs on the board, Penn may find itself in position to clinch the South Division crown sooner rather than later.
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