PHILADELPHIA - After a tough home opener against cross-town rival Saint Joseph's, Penn will return to Warren Field on Friday to take on the Big East's Syracuse Orange in non-conference action. Penn (5-5) will be looking to return to its winning ways after starting the season 5-1, but falling in four straight. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Syracuse (19-5) will certainly present another difficult test for the Quakers as they build toward the Ivy League season. Syracuse is coming into this game having won seven of its last nine, including three straight. In its last two games, the Orange picked up a pair of victories against another Ivy League team, Princeton; winning 9-1 this past Sunday before picking up another 8-1 win the following day.
Penn and Syracuse only have one common opponent so far on the young season as both teams have played Valparaiso in the early going. Penn lost to Valparaiso 11-5 in the final contest of the Rebel Spring Games in Kissimmee, Florida. When Syracuse played Valparaiso in early March, it was the Orange that came out with a 6-0 win at the University of Florida Tournament.
Offensively, Syracuse has four regular starters in its lineup that are currently batting over .300. Leading the team is Lisaira Daniels, who is batting .342 through 24 games. In addition to the high on-base players, Syracuse has showcased its power as well this season. The Orange have 19 home runs on the year and three players who have already gone deep three times.
Syracuse is also very tough in the field with two pitchers maintaining low ERA's. Jenna Caira currently has an ERA of 1.66 and possesses a record of 11-4. She is striking out just over a batter an inning with 116 punch-outs in 109.1 innings. Stacey Kuwik provides a nice one-two punch with a record of 8-1 to compliment her 2.07 ERA.
The Penn offense, which has been very productive in the early going, will certainly have to come through again on Friday if the Quakers are to come away with the wins. Alisha Prystowsky has got off to red-hot start during her senior campaign. She is batting .467 through 10 games and slugging .667. Brooke Coloma is also batting over .400 with her .406 average. Coloma also leads the team in RBI's, with 11, and outfield assists. Three times so far this season runners have tested her arm and have been thrown out at the plate as a result. Kayla Dahlerbruch and Elysse Gorney have certainly injected youth into the Quaker lineup, hitting .393 and .367 respectively. Stephanie Caso is also batting .345 in the early going at the top of the Penn lineup.
Mikenzie Voves has been solid in her freshman campaign. She will bring a 3.21 ERA into Friday after taking the loss against Saint Joseph's for her first of the season. Taylor Tieman also came on strong for two innings in the first game Wednesday, pitching two scoreless innings to keep Penn in the game.
After the doubleheader on Friday, Penn will have two more game dates next week against Lehigh on Wednesday and Rider on Saturday. Ivy League play will start up for each Ivy League team on the first of April.
A live blog will once again be available for both ends of the doubleheader.