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Stepping in as Penn softball's undisputed ace in her junior year, Alexis Sargent has powered past batters for a 1.68 earned run average in 2016.

Credit: Zach Sheldon

Well, hopefully they got that out of their system.

In the team’s last bit of action before kicking off Ivy League play on Friday against Yale, Penn softball fell in both games of a doubleheader versus Lehigh at Penn Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The Quakers failed to score in 14 out of 15 innings in the twin bill, losing an extra-inning pitchers’ duel, 4-0, in game one before falling 6-3 in the nightcap.

“We were not as aggressive at the plate as we would have liked,” coach Leslie King said. “We got some more hits in the second game — obviously not enough — but we did make some adjustments well.”

The Quakers (11-9) were particularly punchless at the plate in game one, notching just three hits against Lehigh junior hurler Christine Campbell, who went the distance in a dominating shutout.

However, Penn’s Alexis Sargent — in yet another masterful performance — matched Campbell frame for frame, allowing just two hits to the Mountain Hawks (21-7) before being pulled after five shutout innings. The junior now has a 13-inning scoreless streak and sits sixth in the nation with a minuscule 0.93 earned run average.

Junior Courtney Cuzick replaced Sargent and added two more scoreless innings, sending the contest to extras.

However, the wheels came off in the top of the eighth. Fueled by a Morgan Decker homer, Lehigh scored four times and put the Quakers away quietly in the bottom of the frame.

Sophomore righty Mason Spichiger got the start for the Red and Blue in the second game and was knocked around early and often — she left after two innings having surrendered five runs (all earned) on nine hits. Senior Lauren Li came on in relief and pitched much more effectively, allowing just one unearned run over the next five frames.

The Penn offense was again held at bay in game two, this time by Lehigh freshman Emily Sorem. Penn finally broke through with three runs in the fifth — headlined by a two-run triple from junior Leah Allen — but did not score again for the rest of the contest.

Now, the Red and Blue will turn their sights to the games that really count. Penn will open up Ivy League play this weekend as Yale and Brown visit for doubleheaders.

“These non-conference games were preparation. We have to learn from the things that went well and the things that didn’t go well,” King said. “Friday’s a new season. It’s a clean slate, it’s what we’re all here for.”

Both the Bulldogs (7-15) and Bears (11-8) are coming off rough 2015 seasons: They finished in the bottom two slots of the North Division with 4-16 and 2-18 records, respectively.

With Sargent likely to continue her dominant ways, the Quakers will certainly accept being part of low-scoring games — provided, of course, that they come out on top.

However, you have to score at least some runs to win the game. And on Wednesday, the Red and Blue had trouble doing even that.

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