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Freshman center fielder Emma Nedley had one of Penn softball's three hits on Thursday against Drexel, which was a leadoff double in the sixth inning.

Credit: Tamara Wurman

The Quakers had some promising moments, but they ultimately fell to the mercy rule.

On Thursday, Penn softball stayed close to home, playing at Drexel's Vidas Athletic Complex. Although the Red and Blue had a few opportunities, they were unable to get any runs on the board and fell to the Dragons, 8-0, after only six innings of play.

The game was closer than the score indicates, and although the Quakers hit 3-for-20 as a team, they were down by just two runs going into the sixth inning. Drexel ran away with the game in the sixth frame, putting up six runs and ending the contest before Penn could get another chance at the plate.

The game opened slowly for both sides, as neither team was able to get its offense going in the first two innings. Although they put the ball in play, the Quakers couldn't reach base in the first two frames. Strong pitching from junior starter Jennifer Brann, who threw a perfect game in her last outing, kept Penn in the game early on. Brann struck out two batters and didn't allow a anyone to reach base in her two innings of work.

Penn’s offensive struggles continued into the third. Although freshman catcher Laurel McKelvey had a leadoff single, the Red and Blue couldn't capitalize, and their next three batters went down in order. 

“Hitting has been going really well for us this year, and today it did not go as well as we would have liked it. I know we need to focus on base running and on eliminating walks,” freshman center fielder Emma Nedley said.

On the other side, Drexel drew first blood in the bottom of the third. An early walk, accompanied by a pair of singles, allowed the Dragons to get two runners onto base. Another single and a Penn error gave them the first run of the game.

Penn's best chance to get on the board was in the fourth inning. A hit and a walk sent a pair of runners to second and third. However, a groundout stopped any momentum that Penn had and ended the inning. 

After giving up one more run in the fifth, the Quakers were down by just two heading into the sixth inning. Nedley got things going with a leadoff double but was caught stealing to clear the bases. The next two batters went down for Penn in another missed opportunity for the visiting team.

Drexel blew the game open in the bottom of the sixth. Good base running, paired with a Penn error, put Drexel runners on second and third. A subsequent sacrifice bunt brought one runner in. Following this first run, a frenzy of hits by the Dragons, accompanied by a stolen base, put five more runs on the board, ending the game with a score of 8-0 by the mercy rule.

Despite Thursday's loss, the Quakers are confident that they can get back on track as the season nears its close.

“We need to keep our energy up, and our entire team has to buy into winning. When our team comes together, I don’t think anything can stop us,” Nedley said.

The Quakers will head to New York this weekend to face Columbia with a spot in the Ivy League Championship Series on the line.