April 20, 2012 by John ChagarisAfter hitting a stride last week, the Drexel softball team encountered a daunting and difficult task against Georgia State University April 14-15. The Panthers (32-12, 9-3 Colonial Athletic Association) hold the best overall record in the CAA, and they are currently third in the CAA standings. The Dragons struggled against their conference rivals, losing all three games by a combined 17-3 score.
The series started with a doubleheader in Atlanta. Senior Hillary Allen got the start in Game 1. The Dragons got on the board in the first inning when Allen hit a comebacker to the pitcher that was mishandled, allowing speedy senior Devon Metcalf to score. The Panthers escaped the inning without any further damage, but the Dragons held the 1-0 lead.
Allen kept Georgia State off the board until the fifth and sixth innings. The Panthers scored single runs in both innings, giving them their first lead of the game. In the seventh inning, Metcalf hit a dramatic game-tying home run, which ended up sending the game into extra innings. The Dragons were held scoreless in the top of the eighth inning, giving Georgia State a chance at a walk-off win early. The Panthers’ Brenna Morrissey connected on a pitch from Allen to give them the 3-2 win.
Sophomore Shelby Taylor got the start in the second game, but she was pulled after just 1.2 innings pitched. Taylor gave up four unearned runs in the bottom of the second inning to put the Dragons behind 0-4. Sophomore Jessica O’Hara entered the game for Taylor and gave up four more runs for the rest of the game. The Dragons were blanked by Georgia State’s McCall Langford in their 0-8 loss.
In the final game of the series, Allen got the start once again. The Panthers got off to a fast start when Callie Alford hit a three-run home run in the first inning. The Dragons were able to score one run in the fourth inning, but that would be the only run the Dragons would score. Georgia State hit another three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth, ending the Dragons’ hopes of a comeback. Drexel lost the game by a score of 1-6, completing the Panthers’ sweep.
After a few days off, the Dragons faced the neighboring University of Pennsylvania (24-14, 8-4 Ivy League South Division). O’Hara got the start against Penn and struggled early in just her second start of the season. The Quakers got on the board early with a two-run homer in the bottom of the first. The Dragons fought back in the top of the second inning with two runs of their own. Drexel was able to load the bases before senior infielder Caprice DeMirjian chopped a ball back to the middle of the infield, which Penn starter Mikenzie Voves mishandled. Everyone was safe, allowing a run to score. Sophomore Comfort Ahonkhai then worked a long at-bat into a walk, plating another run for the Dragons to tie the game at 2-2.
Drexel then scored three more runs in a wild third inning. After loading the bases, junior Amanda Bachmann hit a line drive up the middle that allowed junior Jenn Reading to score. As the throw came in from center field, Penn first baseman Karina Rios mishandled the cutoff, deflecting the ball into foul territory. The error allowed sophomore catcher Maddison Timoteo and freshman infielder Sylvia Llamas to score, making it 5-2 Drexel.
The Quakers came back in the bottom of the fourth inning with four runs of their own, ending O’Hara’s day and allowing Taylor to come into the game in relief. The Dragons tied things up at 6-6 in the top of the fifth inning with a run of their own.
Drexel scored another run in the top of the sixth inning to take the 7-6 lead, but Penn orchestrated a comeback in the bottom of the sixth to score two runs. That would seal the Dragons’ 7-8 loss.
The next day the Dragons welcomed Iona College (21-19, 4-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Association) to the Drexel softball field. Taylor got the start in this one and was tagged with a run in the first inning. Drexel came back and scored a run of its own in the second inning. The game went into extra innings tied at one apiece until the eighth inning. Iona scored two runs in the top of the inning, while the Dragons weren’t able to score any runs to answer, sealing the 1-3 loss.