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Senior Laurel McKelvey bunts a pitch from Columbia during the game at Penn Park on March 20. Credit: Samantha Turner

Penn softball picked up its second-straight Ivy series win as it took down Cornell in two out of three games. Both wins were drawn from close games, with each victory being separated by only one run. 

Game 1 - Penn escapes 8-7 in 12 innings

After twelve innings in almost four hours, the Quakers (9-19, 5-4 Ivy) finally toppled the Big Red (6-13, 2-4 Ivy) with their longest game in six years.

Several Quakers stepped up and endured to help secure the difficult victory. Junior catcher Sarah Schneider went 3-for-6 at the plate, scoring three runs (including the game-winner), batting in two RBIs, and chipping in a two-run home run during the sixth inning.

The close matchup continued up into the eleventh inning, where Cornell’s shortstop reached on a fielder’s choice with bases loaded. The Big Red took the lead 7-6 as their runner scored from third. The Red and Blue responded at the bottom of the inning, as senior outfielder Emma Nedley tied the game 7-7 with her third home run of the season – a much-needed run for the Quakers.

Senior pitcher Julia Longo held the Big Red from scoring in the top of the 12th, pitching a 1-2-3 to send the game to the bottom of the 12th where the Quakers stamped the end to the game.

Sophomore outfielder Brianna Brown got the job done as she advanced both Julia and Sarah Schneider into scoring positions. Junior pitcher/infielder Bella Fiorentino soon after notched a base hit that sent Sarah Schneider home for the winning run and set the Quakers with an 8-7 win over the Cornell Big Red.

Game 2 - Cornell takes the late game, 5-2 

Right after a 12-inning affair, Cornell and Penn immediately returned to the field for game 2 of the doubleheader.

Penn went up 1-0 in the bottom of the first as Schneider capitalized on a throwing error by Cornell’s shortstop.

No scoring occurred again until the sixth inning when the Big Red hit a costly grand slam to snatch a 4-1 lead over the Red and Blue. A fifth run in the top of the seventh on a base hit to the left side of the field put the game away for Cornell. Longo had tossed five scoreless frames before allowing these five runs, which Penn's offense was unable to match onward into the game.

The Quakers did, however, fight back to push across one run in the bottom of the seventh, making the final score 5-2.

Game 3 - Penn wins 7-6

Another close game was won by the Quakers in Penn Park on Sunday in what served as the series rubber match.

Schneider jumped out right away with her eighth home run of the season during the bottom of the first inning to put the Quakers up 1-0. Later in the inning, the Cornell shortstop mishandled the ball and missed second base on back-to-back plays, allowing Penn’s Laurel McKelvey to reach home, setting the scoreboard to 2-0 in Penn's favor. 

A third run for Penn occurred the very next inning, where McKelvey hit an RBI base hit to get Brown from second to home.

Cornell quickly responded to Penn’s commanding 3-0 lead, opening the third inning with three straight base hits and a bases-loaded walk with no outs to shave the Quaker lead to two runs. This sequence of events led Penn to insert Longo into the game, but obstacles only grew.

After another pair of base hits, this time given up by Longo, the Big Red took a 4-3 lead. Although Longo managed to escape the inning with the Quakers only down a run, she gave up two more scores during the top of the seventh to put Cornell up 6-3.

Despite the three-run gap and rain starting to fall in the bottom of the seventh, Brown tagged up on a pop-fly and scored the fourth Quaker run.

During the seventh inning, though, the real tide shift occurred, as senior outfielder Corrie Phillips, who prior to the Cornell series hadn't notched a hit in four games, came up to the plate with two runners on base and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Phillips proceeded to launch a walk-off home run moonshot that lifted the Quakers past the Big Red 7-6. 

After this weekend’s thrilling matchup, the Quakers sit third in the Ivy League, just behind Princeton (6-3) and Harvard (6-3). The Red and Blue look ahead to host Villanova at 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Penn Park.