MEDIA, Pa. -- The Penn State Brandywine softball team opens the Penn State University Athletic Conference Tournament on Sunday in Scranton in search of its third-straight conference championship.
The Lions, looking to become the first team in school history to win conference titles in three consecutive seasons, earned the Eastern Division's No. 1 seed after finishing the regular season with a 15-1 PSUAC mark. Brandywine will face Penn State Fayette, the No. 2 seed from the PSUAC Western Division, during its first game on Sunday at 1:00 pm at UGI Utilities Field on the campus of Penn State Scranton.
Ranked No. 5 nationally in the latest USCAA coaches poll, Brandywine has won 50-of-52 games against PSUAC opponents since the beginning of the 2015 season. Brandywine and Fayette did not meet during the 2017 regular season, but the Lions own four consecutive victories over Fayette, having outscored Fayette 60-2 in those four wins during the 2015 and 2016 seasons.
During the regular season, Brandywine posted the top team batting average, earned run average and fielding percentage of any PSUAC school.
As a team, the Lions hit .393 in 16 conference games, led by Arianna Segich, who posted 27 hits in 51 at-bats and Katie DeStefano, a .488 hitter during league play. Brandywine averaged nearly 11 runs per game.
The team's pitching staff - DeStefano, Grace DeRosa and Maura Moser - combined to allow only 13 earned runs in 83.0 innings against conference teams for a PSUAC-best ERA of 1.10. The trio combined to throw 10 shutouts, four no-hitters and one perfect game during the regular season.
After going 1-21 in 2016, Fayette enjoyed a bounce-back season, compiling a record of 18-17 (13-7 PSUAC). The Roaring Lions claimed second place in the western division and advanced to Scranton by defeating Penn State New Kensington 6-0 last Friday. Miranda Nichols topped Fayette with a .364 batting average and 25 RBI in 28 games.
The winner advances to play the winner of the Penn State Beaver - Penn State Hazleton game at 5:00 pm on Sunday evening, while the loser will play in an elimination game at 3:00 pm. The championship game is scheduled for Monday at 1:00 pm.