Penn softball came alive this week. With their first-ever four-game sweep of Cornell, the Quakers extended their winning streak to six games after dropping three of four to Princeton last weekend.
“Taking four from a team in one weekend is really difficult to do,” Penn coach Leslie King said. “The team came out with some good energy and some good confidence this weekend and got the job done.”
Junior pitcher Alexis Sargent made things easy for the Red and Blue (21-19, 7-9 Ivy) in the first game of the series, pitching a complete game shutout. Allowing only three hits while striking out five, Sargent passed the 100-strikeout mark on the season for the first time in her career.
After a quiet couple innings to start, a pair of Cornell errors in the third allowed sophomore Hayley Metcalf to score before senior Lauren Li got another one across with an RBI single.
Penn plated four more in the fourth inning as everyone joined in on the action. Li hit in her second run of the day after junior Leah Allen recorded her league-best 36th RBI of the season. Sargent even helped her own cause with an RBI single as the Quakers made it a 6-0 affair.
The last two and a half innings breezed by quietly, as the Big Red (8-28, 3-13) failed to even get on the board.
“The defense played absolutely phenomenally,” Sargent said. “So having that backup and having everybody hitting the ball on offense really gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do.”
In game two, Cornell came alive, scoring four runs in the top of the first off the Quakers’ Mason Spichiger. After King brought Li in to relieve the sophomore in the second, the Red and Blue settled in. A 10-run second inning — highlighted by a three-run home run from Li — put Penn firmly in command, although the Big Red mustered two response runs in the top of the third.
A pair of runs each in the fourth and fifth sealed the deal as the Quakers run-ruled their New York rivals, 14-6.
Following the offensive show Penn put on Saturday, game three on Sunday was a little quieter.
With Sargent in the circle again, the Red and Blue took an early lead as freshman Sam Pederson scored on a two-out passed ball. With the Quakers up 1-0, Sargent and Cornell’s Meg Parker settled into their grooves, not allowing another run to cross until the sixth.
The Big Red tied things up after freshman Madeline Avery hit a leadoff double and later scored when Leanne Iannucci hit a two-out bloop single.
The tie wouldn’t hold.
After Sargent drew a leadoff walk, sophomore catcher Jurie Joyner smashed a ball over the left field fence to put Penn back on top, 3-1, before Sargent finished things off — yielding only four hits on the day.
“She looked much looser today, looked a lot stronger physically,” King noted. “I thought she just did an outstanding job.”
Li took the mound for the Quakers in the weekend’s final contest, quickly settling in after yielding a run in the first. Things remained static at 1-0 as the Red and Blue were held hitless until Allen got on base with an infield single in the fourth.
Following a walk for Sargent, Joyner got Penn on the board, plating Allen with an RBI double down the left field line. The Quakers took the lead an inning later as sophomore Hayley Metcalf scored on an error.
In the sixth, the Red and Blue scored three more insurance runs, making it 5-1 headed into the final frame. Cornell made a run in the seventh, loading the bases with nobody out. King elected to bring Sargent back in to pitch, and the junior was able to finish things off after a pair of RBI hits, closing out the weekend with a 5-3 victory.
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