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sam-pederson-9-softball

Senior second baseman Sam Pederson helped Penn softball take the lead against Villanova with an early double, and the Quakers eventually won by a score of 11-4.

Credit: Tamara Wurman

It might not have been a national holiday, but a hit parade broke out for Penn softball.

The Quakers (14-11, 5-4 Ivy) used 16 hits to power past Philadelphia rival Villanova (16-16, 1-2 Big East) in an 11-4 victory on Wednesday afternoon.

The Quakers' offense got out to a fast start using their senior leadership. They quickly took their first lead of the game with a double by senior second baseman Sam Pederson, and one batter later, fellow senior designated hitter Sarah Cwiertnia continued her hot hitting with an RBI single up the middle. The Quakers would tack on one more in the frame with an infield single by senior first baseman Hannah Gibbons.

In the bottom of the second, the Wildcats would rally back using three doubles to plate four runs against freshman starting pitcher Julia Longo, who would leave the game after just one and a third innings. With two runners on and just one out, the Quakers would hand the ball to sophomore Tabitha Dyer who would promptly strike out the first batter she faced, setting the tone for a dominant relief outing.

While Dyer was handling the Villanova offense with ease, the Quakers began to get into the swing of things at the plate. After a bases loaded hit by pitch gave Gibbons her second RBI of the game, singles by freshmen Laurel McKelvy and Ashley Waco drove three more home for the Red and Blue to match the Wildcats four-run frame and once again put the Quakers ahead by two.

The Penn offense kept the good times rolling in the fourth with more production from the bottom of the lineup. After a walk by Cwiertnia and a single by freshman center fielder Emma Nedley, fellow freshman left fielder Corrie Phillips doubled home both runners before she was thrown out at third. The Quakers would later tack on three more runs, including two more RBIs for Phillips, to close out their victory.

The offensive production for the Quakers was heavily bolstered by the success at the bottom of their lineup, as nine of their 16 hits and nine of their 11 runs came from hitters positioned 5-9. 

Also key for the Red and Blue was their strong relief pitching, as after replacing Longo, Dyer and junior Jennifer Brann combined for five and two thirds shutout innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two.

Winners of three straight, the Red and Blue now begin preparing for a trip to Ithaca, N.Y. to take on Cornell (5-21, 2-4) in a three-game weekend series. The Big Red have struggled out of the gate with just two Ivy league victories to their name. 

While Cornell has some star power in the form of junior infielder Bridgette Rooney and freshman infielder Allison Kerce, the rest of the lineup has no hitters with over a .260 average, and on the mound, they have a team–earned run average of 7.68.

With the Quakers sitting in fourth place with a 5-4 record in the Ivy League, beating teams like the Big Red will be pivotal to enabling them to move up in the standings. 

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