The sun shined brightly enough for the Quakers Wednesday afternoon in a doubleheader against the Lehigh Mountain Hawks.
Penn scored early in each contest but went the distance in a dramatic 8-7 afternoon victory followed by a 2-0 shutout of the Hawks. The sweep marked the first of Lehigh since 2006.
Senior second baseman Samantha Erosa notched her first home run of the season for Penn (8-10) and junior catcher Elysse Gorney electrified Penn Park by hitting a walk-off double to give the Quakers the 8-7 nod over the Mountain Hawks (7-9-1) in the afternoon.
The first game started out positively for Penn, with freshman pitcher Amanda Gissoni surrendering a hit and no runs. Then, Erosa went deep in the bottom half to help stake the Quakers to an early lead.
In the second and third innings, Penn struggled, committing an error and giving up six runs to Lehigh, which took a commanding 6-2 lead into the bottom of the fourth.
But after a pitching change from Gissoni to senior Lindsay Mann and a hit by senior shortstop Stephanie Caso, the Quakers bounced right back, posting four runs in the bottom of the fourth.
“We gave up those runs, we were down by four and we came right back. That’s the sign of a good team,” coach Leslie King said. “That’s very demoralizing to the other team.”
A sixth-inning Penn error led to another run by Lehigh but was quickly answered with a double by sophomore outfielder Sydney Turchin. Caso hit a sacrifice bunt to plate Turchin, tying the score at 7-7.
Despite moves from Lehigh’s bullpen, senior pitcher Lindsay Mann finished the inning in commanding style with a strikeout of Lehigh’s pinch hitter.
Senior center fielder Jessica Melendez cranked a double to put Penn in an advantageous position. With two outs and Melendez having advanced to third, Gorney smacked a pitch over the center field wall on a bounce for a ground-rule double that gave the Quakers the win.
In the second game of the doubleheader, sophomore pitcher Alexis Borden took the mound aiming to keep the confidence from her no-hitter at Penn Park on Friday.
Borden got off to a great start and struck out Lehigh to close the top of the first. Lehigh’s confidence was obviously shaken as it committed two errors and gave up two hits, allowing Penn to take a 1-0 lead.
The game carried on as stellar defense and confident pitching kept runs by both teams off the board.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Quakers would take advantage of a double by senior outfielder Jessica Melendez and a sacrifice bunt by sophomore utility Karina Rios. A Gorney hit put Penn up, 2-0.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Erosa made a sensational diving catch to cap the sweep of the Hawks.
“Lehigh is a team that almost every year goes to NCAAs, and to take two from them and having taken two from last Friday gives us some confidence, particularly with our hitting,” King said.
“This is Penn softball, so we’re excited,” Erosa said.
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