After already mercy-ruling Holy Cross once this season and winning both of its previous home doubleheaders, Penn softball took the field at Penn Park with unbridled confidence.
Sophomore Alexis Borden continued her pitching dominance by throwing a no-hitter until the seventh inning, giving the Quakers a 5-1 victory over Holy Cross in the first game of the doubleheader Saturday afternoon.
Penn then turned in another dominating mercy-rule of the Crusaders, 8-0.
This doubleheader sweep finishes off the Quakers’ first sweep of the Patriot League since 1993, another feat to add to Penn’s turnaround since their Florida swing.
In game one for Penn (10-10), Borden demonstrated her control of opposing hitters by retiring 18 of 20 first batters, including 12 strikeouts on the day.
“I think we are pretty confident right now,” Borden said. “This is our team, this is what we want to look like right now.”
After a scoreless first inning, Penn’s senior outfielder Jessica Melendez hit a single down the middle to get on base.
Junior first baseman Georgia Guttadauro extended a five-game hitting streak by notching her first home run of the season to put the Quakers up, 2-0.
The game remained scoreless until Penn scored in the bottom of the fifth inning. Senior second baseman Samantha Erosa and senior outfielder Brooke Coloma put up back-to-back doubles to increase their team’s advantage to 5-0.
Borden gave up three hits and a home run in the seventh inning. The Quakers then allowed Holy Cross to fill the bases in the final frame, but Penn’s defense made another strong statement by keeping the Crusaders off the board, sealing a 5-1 victory.
In game two, Lauren Li took the mound, looking for another home ‘W.’
A Guttadauro single soon put Penn up, 1-0. Holy Cross junior pitcher Julia Barrett hit two batters this inning to put Erosa and freshman catcher Korinne Raby on base. Melendez followed by cracking a double, vaulting Penn to a 5-0 lead.
Li and the Quakers’ defense were tested in the second inning. She surrendered three consecutive hits, loading the bases at Penn Park with no outs.
“I just thought back to a situation when I’ve gotten out of those things before and also having the faith in my defense behind me, knowing they can make the plays for me,” Li said.
And Penn’s defense made those plays, enabling the Quakers to get out of the inning without allowing any runs.
“We basically executed very well today,” coach Leslie King said. “We did a very clean job today on the bases which I was very proud of.”
Penn scored a run in every successive inning, including a home run in the third by Raby, her fifth of the season.
“We feel good, we are in a pretty good place right now,” King said.
At least not a bad place to be heading into Ivy League play this weekend against Harvard.
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