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PHILADELPHIA - After closing the Spring Break trip to Florida with a 7-1 record in its final eight games, softball (8-5) returns home to officially open up play at Penn Park. The Quakers hosted tournaments inside Penn Park during the fall season, but will now finally have the chance to play a spring game in its brand-new facility Wednesday against Saint Joseph's. The two teams will play a doubleheader with the first game beginning at 2:30.
The Hawks (5-12) started out the season winning four of their first six, but went on a skid playing a tough non-conference schedule in California last week. During the 2011 season, Penn also opened its home schedule with Saint Joseph's, dropping both ends of that doubleheader.
In the circle, Penn has the second-lowest ERA (2.37) amongst Ivy League schools. All four of the Quakers' pitchers have already earned victories. Reigning Ivy League Rookie of the Week Alexis Borden leads Penn with a 4-1 record. She is allowing less than one hit per inning and during the Rebel Spring Games had a streak of 25.1 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. Mikenzie Voves has started five games, picking up two wins. She has an ERA of 1.84 through six appearances, throwing two complete games, including one shutout this season. Voves and Borden have each saved one additional game.
Lindsay Mann has appeared in four games this season, winning her only start to date. For the victory, she went five innings against Detroit and did not allow an earned run. In her last 10 innings, Mann has allowed just one earned run to cross the plate. Her ERA is currently 2.50. Freshman Jen Retzer has appeared in four games, making three starts. She picked up her first collegiate win against South Dakota, pitching 6.2 innings and allowing just one earned run on five hits.
Leading off most games has been freshman Sydney Turchin. She is currently sixth in the Ivies with a .478 on-base percentage. She is batting .385 this year and has scored seven runs through 13 games. Kayla Dahlerbruch, the only Penn player to start every game this season, is batting .316 through her first 13 games and has a hit in nine of the last 10 games.
Eleven different players have at least one RBI this season. Stephanie Caso is tied with Dahlerbruch with the team lead with five. Brooke Coloma and Caso are each batting .250 to start the year. Samantha Erosa also came on strong during the Rebel Spring Games, batting .400 in those last eight games.
All 12 of Penn's extra base hits this season have been doubles. Two of those came from freshman Karina Rios in the last game against Manhattan. She has played in 11 games, starting seven to date. Junior Jessica Melendez and sophomore Kristen Johnson have also been constants in the Penn lineup. Melendez has played in 11 games, starting 10, while Johnson has played in 10 different games, starting nine.
Manufacturing runs has also been a big part of the Quakers' offense in the early going. They have successfully sacrifice bunted 13 times this year, nearly double the second best team in the Ivies. They have also knocked in three runs on sacrifice flies.
On the base paths, Elysse Gorney leads the Ivy League in stolen bases. She is a perfect six-for-six in her stolen base attempts this season. Turchin has swiped five bases in the early going.
For Saint Joseph's, the Hawks have a team ERA of 2.44. Erin Gallagher (2.56 ERA in 57.1 IP) and Taryn Ashway (2.77 ERA in 43 IP) have gotten all of the starts. Lauren Pembleton has allowed just two earned runs in 14.1 innings of relief.
Offensively, Bernadette Moran is batting a team-best .280, having started all 17 games. Rochelle Christman adds power to the lineup with a .447 slugging percentage, including two home runs. The Hawks have stolen 16 bases in 23 tries this season.
Live stats will be available to track all the action from Penn Park this Wednesday. In addition, the live blog will also be available to follow along with the action.