PHILADELPHIA - One of softball's three victories to open the Penn Spring Invitational was a 3-1 win in the opening game of the weekend against Villanova. During Sunday afternoon's championship game, Villanova (19-6) and Penn (13-10) again found runs hard to come by. On this day, it was the Wildcats that would bring home the 3-2 victory.
Despite falling in the championship game, the Quakers finished with the best record of all the teams this weekend at 3-1. Villanova finished an even 2-2 for the week after being one of three teams with a 1-2 record after pool play, but advanced to the championship on tiebreak criteria.
In the second meeting between the two schools, it was new starters for each as Mikenzie Voves got the ball for Penn and Molly Manning started for Villanova. The Wildcats would score early by drawing a leadoff walk and putting runners on second and third following an error on a sacrifice bunt play. The leadoff runner came home on a sacrifice fly to left. In the bottom of the first, Kayla Dahlerbruch singled with two outs, but Penn could do no more and trailied 1-0 after the first.
Following one-out and two-out singles in the second, the Wildcats had runners on first and second. A third single found its way into left field, but Sydney Turchin came up firing as Villanova tried to score the runner from second. Turchin's throw was in time as Elysse Gorney made the tag at the plate for the final out of the inning.
With the momentum of a strong defensive play to close the top half of the second, Georgia Guttadauro would tie the game in the bottom of the second with her second home run of the season. This was the second consecutive day that Guttadauro has hit a home run to right field. Sunday's homer sent the game to third tied at 1-1.
Penn held Villanova scoreless in the third and fourth innings, but Manning would just concede a two-out single to Gorney in the third. The Quakers would take the lead in the fourth. After two quick outs, Jessica Melendez would reach on a defensive error. Samantha Erosa was then hit by a pitch, putting two runners on. Karina Rios would get the key two-out RBI as she singled into centerfield, giving Penn a 2-1 lead after four.
Voves would retire the Villanova side in order in the fifth for the first time all game, while Manning worked around a leadoff double by Turchin in the bottom half to keep the game at 2-1. Villanova would knot the game at two-all with a leadoff home run in the sixth, but Penn would have two more chances to score. Guttadauro singled to start off the sixth. Laura Placentra, who came in to pinch run, was bunted into scoring position by Melendez, but was ultimately stranded there.
Villanova took the lead for the first time since the second inning in their final at-bats. After beating out an infield single to start the inning, a wild pitch and grounder to the right side of the infield moved that runner to third. She would then score the go-ahead run on a double into right-center, giving Villanova the 3-2 edge. In the Quakers' final at-bats, Manning would set the side down in succession to lock up her eighth win of the year in the complete game effort.
For Penn, Voves finished her sixth complete game in row inside the circle. Only two of the three runs that she allowed on the day were earned. Guttadauro was the only Quaker to finish with two hits as she also scored and drove in one run.
Softball will be back in action this Wednesday at Penn Park for a doubleheader against La Salle beginning at 4 p.m. Ivy League play will open up at home with Brown and Yale this coming weekend.