Just as softball coach Leslie King had hoped when Penn’s season began, the Quakers’ defense was relentless against Monmouth Saturday.
But ultimately, the Hawks clawed their way back to win both contests of a doubleheader, setting Penn back to a 3-8 record this season.
The Red and Blue surged to a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth of the first game, when, with runners on the corners, junior Alisha Prystowsky laced a double to left field.
But Monmouth (4-8) rallied off Penn pitcher Chelsea Ott. Hawks’ junior Emily deLong led off the bottom of the sixth with a triple to right field. Two batters later, senior Jessica Nicola brought deLong in with a sacrifice fly to cut the score to 2-1.
Freshman Kayla Weiser led off the bottom of the seventh with a double for Monmouth. A sacrifice bunt moved her to third, but a key strikeout of sophomore Chelsea Paprocki moved the Quakers within a single out of earning their fourth win of the season.
With a composure beyond her age, Monmouth freshman Kate Kuzma hit a blooper up the middle to tie the game. An error by Penn freshman third baseman Brooke Coloma in the extra frame gave the Hawks a 3-2 win.
The Monmouth victory gave Ott the loss despite a fine outing in which she fanned four.
The Red and Blue also turned their first double play of the season in the second inning, and senior centerfielder Keiko Uraguchi threw a runner out at the plate to end another scoring threat in the third.
Monmouth carried its momentum into the second game of the afternoon, scoring a run in each of the first two innings. A five-run romp in the ninth iced the game for the Hawks.
The Quakers will play next on Wednesday when they visit Lehigh for a doubleheader.
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