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PHILADELPHIA - Ivy League play opens up for all eight softball teams around the Ivy League this Friday and Saturday. With the south division schools hosting north division schools in the opening weekend, Penn opens up league play at home with doubleheaders against Brown (2 p.m. Friday) and Yale (12:30 p.m. Saturday). The Quakers (15-10) have won five of their last six games, including a sweep against La Salle on Wednesday. Brown (3-11) comes back east after going 1-3 at the UC Riverside Tournament. Yale (6-12) also participated in the Rebel Spring Games, going 3-5 that week, including a win over Lehigh.
For fans unable to make the trip to Philadelphia this weekend, live stats and live audio of both games will be provided. A live blog will also be available to follow along with the action.
Penn looks to be gaining some momentum offensively as the Quakers racked up 13 runs on 19 hits in the doubleheader sweep of La Salle. Sydney Turchin has a team-high 17 runs scored, including seven in her last four games. She has a hit or walk in each of her last seven games and has stolen nine bases. Elysse Gorney raised her batting average 50 points with five hits combined against La Salle. She is now batting .296 and has at least one hit in five straight games.
Karina Rios and Kayla Dahlerbruch come into the weekend batting .295 and .292, respectively. Rios had two hits in each game against La Salle, raising her average 53 points. She also has a team-high four doubles this season. Dahlerbruch hit her team-leading fourth home run of the season on Wednesday and has a team-high 15 RBI to go along with a .486 slugging percentage.
Brooke Coloma (11 RBI) and Georgia Guttadauro (9 RBI) are second and third on the team in runs batted in. Coloma has knocked in at least one run in six of the last 11 games and has four multi-hit games this season. Guttadauro has two home runs this season and six hits in the last five games she has batted.
Samantha Erosa recorded a hit in both games against La Salle yesterday, including a two-RBI double, her first extra-base hit since coming back from Florida. Jessica Melendez got going offensively with two home runs at the Penn Spring Invitational. She now has a run or RBI in each of the last six games. Stephanie Caso has started 22 games this season. She has a hit in nine different games and has driven in five, while scoring two more.
Jessica Arneson and Kristen Johnson each have five hits for Penn. Arneson recorded her first extra base hit of the season against La Salle and now has a hit in two straight games. Johnson has driven in two runs this year. Laura Placentra and Bridget Ellsworth each have three hits this season. Placentra has scored six runs, while Ellsworth has scored five. Vanessa Weaver and Justine Payne have each added two RBI off the bench, while Meg Krasne has yet to see game action.
In the circle, Alexis Borden (9-2, 1.18 ERA) threw her fourth shutout of the season in game one against La Salle on Wednesday. She has now thrown a complete game in her last nine starts. In 77.1 innings, she has struck out 78 batters and allowed 62 hits. Opponents are hitting just .212 off of her. Lindsay Mann (1-0, 2.00 ERA) got the start in game two against La Salle and threw three shutout innings. She has allowed just two earned runs in her last 17 innings of work.
Mikenzie Voves (4-4, 1.88 ERA) came on in relief to pick up the win in the second game vs. La Salle. After setting a career single-game high for strikeouts in just four innings of relief, Voves has 44 strikeouts in 56 innings. She has pitched in 12 games total, starting nine. In each of her last six starts, she has thrown a complete game. Jen Retzer has pitched in five games, making three starts. She has one victory in 13.1 innings of work this year.
On Friday, Penn will have to deal with the top-hitting team in the Ivies. Brown is led by Stephanie Thompson, who leads the league in avg. (.477), slugging (.818), and on-base percentage (.489). She also has three home runs through 14 games with 12 RBI. Kate Strobel and Alyssa Caplan also have batting averages over .300. In the circle, Jessica Cherness (3-4, 6.46 ERA) and Denise van der Goot (0-3, 5.41 ERA) have seen most of the innings.
Yale comes into this weekend's game on a mini hot streak as the Bulldogs are hitting just over .300 in their last three games and have scored 15 during that time. Three regulars in the Yale lineup are batting over .300. Jennifer Ong leads the way with a .328 average and two extra-base hits. Chelsea Dunham (4-4, 3.83 ERA) and Kylie Williamson (1-3, 4.94) handle the primary pitching duties.
Last season, Penn made the trip to Brown and Yale and suffered through a tough weekend as the team was swept in both series to put themselves in an early hole in what was the second Ivy League weekend last year. They would battle out of that early hole late in the year, but can make things a lot easier on themselves with a strong start to the league schedule this weekend.