Softball Prepares for Big 5 Opener with Hawks

PHILADELPHIA – Mother Nature caused the University of Pennsylvania softball team to reschedule its doubleheader home opener with Big 5 rival Saint Joseph’s -- originally set for Tuesday March, 4 -- for Sunday at noon. The Quakers found themselves once again at the mercy of Mother Nature this week, when they had to postpone a second doubleheader on Wednesday against Lehigh with rain ending any hope of completing the games. With the weather, the Red and Blue have only played 11 games so far this season, all of which were over spring break.

Before the game with the Quakers on Sunday, the Hawks will open conference play with George Mason in a doubleheader on Saturday at noon.

Last Time Out

Last year, Penn only played one game of a scheduled doubleheader with Saint Joseph’s and fell, 5-0. The second game was cancelled due to dropping temperatures and a forecast of rain. The Hawks jumped out to a 4-0 lead after the second inning and were able to hold off the Quakers from scoring any runs. With the win last year, Saint Joseph’s holds the overall series 29-8.

Scouting Saint Joseph’s

Picked to tie for second in the A-10 Preseason Poll, the Hawks are 7-10 after playing in four tournaments. Saint Joseph’s was also scheduled to play a doubleheader on Wednesday, against Delaware, which was postponed due to the rain as well. One of the tournaments the Hawks played in was the Under Armour Challenge in Clearwater Fla. In that tournament, Saint Joseph’s played three of the same teams Penn played: Maine, Providence, and South Florida. The Hawks defeated Maine (6-3) and Providence (4-1) but fell to South Florida (0-5). After the loss to USF, Saint Joe’s dropped four more games to Central Connecticut (1-2), Rutgers (2-10), Wagner (1-6), and Bryant (1-2) but snapped the losing streak with a win over Miami of Ohio (4-2).

Florida Spring Break

During the spring break trip to Florida, Penn recorded four consecutive wins over Colgate (11-1), Seton Hall (6-0), Quinnipiac (10-1), and Providence (8-7).

In the first game of the trip during the UCF Spring Fling, the Quakers found themselves trailing Troy, 4-0. Never giving up, the Red and Blue tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, after Leah Allen rounded the bases on a strike out. Even though the Trojans got the win, Penn pushed the game to 10 innings with junior Alexis Borden pitching the entire game, totaling 15 strikeouts.

After an early 4-0 lead, the Quakers captured their first win against Colgate and ended the game early, 11-1. The Red and Blue went on to win the next three games, with the last against Providence being another come from behind win.

Home Run Hitters

A total of six home runs have been recorded by Penn so far this season.

The first home run of the season was hit by sophomore Lauren Li to start the second inning against Colgate. In the Quakers’ next game against Seton Hall, freshman Leah Allen hit her first collegiate home run and would hit two more in the following two days, one being a game-tying grand slam in the bottom of the fifth against Providence. Fellow freshman Alexis Sargent tacked on her first collegiate home run with a solo shot past right center in the bottom of the sixth against Providence, which would eventually win the game. Junior Sydney Turchin also hit her first career homer in the win over Quinnipiac.

Ivy Co-Player of the Week/Rookie of the Week

Earning her first Ivy honors, freshman Leah Allen was named Co-Player of the Week and Rookie of the Week for her performance during last week’s games in the USF Under Armour Showcase. Allen shares the Player of the Week honor with Dartmouth’s Kelsey Miller.

Allen drove in 10 runs last week and went 8-for-20 with a .950 slugging pct. and currently leads the League in RBIs with 16. She is tied with Darmouth’s Karen Chaw for most home runs (3) and has the second best slugging pct. in the League (.692).