They saved their best for last.
After quite a lot of softball this weekend — back-to-back home doubleheaders to be exact — Penn softball finished in style. The Quakers dropped two games to Iona on Saturday, but came back to take two wins against Rider on Sunday. The Red and Blue had a complete game shutout from ace Alexis Sargent in the first win, and then got an extra inning walk-off home run from third baseman Molly Oretsky in the latter.
The dominant pitching of Sargent and senior Courtney Cuzick stifled the offense of Rider, and the Quakers took both games with scores of 6-0 and 1-0, respectively.
Sargent was brilliant on Sunday, striking out 10 and giving up only four hits. The senior picked up the win to move to 4-4 on the year.
Cuzick was equally as impressive, striking out eight and giving up just three hits. She also picked up her first win in the eight-inning performance.
The Red and Blue’s offense in game one was bolstered by a strong performance from first baseman Sarah Cwiertnia, who continued her hot streak of late. The sophomore from California was 2-for-4 at the plate with three RBI and a home run. Star senior center fielder Leah Allen added two runs as well and was 2-for-4 herself.
In game one, the Quakers (9-8) got on the board early, scoring one in the first inning courtesy of an error which allowed Allen to score.
Then the runs started to pour in.
The Red and Blue added two in the fourth when Cwiertnia singled to center, scoring Allen and second baseman Sam Pederson. Two more were tacked on in the fifth when a fielder’s choice followed by an error allowed Oretsky and freshman Claire Sebastianelli to score.
Cwiertnia then put the exclamation point on the game with her solo home run to give the Quakers the 6-0 victory.
Game two saw a good old fashioned pitchers' duel between Cuzick and Kaitlyn Kallert from Rider (3-16).
The Red and Blue were shut down by Kallert for six innings, managing four hits and never getting any momentum going.
However, anything Kallert could do, Cuzick did better.
Kallert gave up four hits, Cuzick gave up three. Kallert had five strikeouts, Cuzick had eight. Kallert lasted six innings, Cuzick had a complete game.
With their pitcher holding down the fort in extra innings, the Quakers needed only one run.
They got it in dramatic fashion.
Pinch hitting to start the bottom of the eighth, Oretsky calmly stepped in and delivered a walk-off home run to end the game. Her first career walk-off home run gave Penn a 1-0 victory.
In the first Saturday loss to Iona, the Red and Blue fell 3-2 after a comeback attempt fell just short. The Gaels took three runs off Sargent in the top of the fourth, and that was all they needed. Catcher Jurie Joyner homered in the bottom of the seventh to bring the Quakers within one, but ultimately it was not enough.
In game two, Iona (10-11) raced out to an early 3-0 lead after two innings. The Red and Blue got one run in the third inning when Allen hit a sac fly that scored left fielder Jess England, and one in the fourth inning when right fielder Lainey Dorris singled to left scoring Cwiertnia.
However, the Gales stopped the Quakers' momentum in the top of the fifth when pitcher Mason Spichiger gave up a three-run home run. Ultimately, Penn fell 9-3.
The Quakers are back in action with a doubleheader at Lehigh on Tuesday and then back-to-back doubleheaders versus Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday and Saturday.
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