Softball Hosts Hazleton In PSUAC First Round Friday

Arianna Segich
Arianna Segich

MEDIA, Pa. -- Penn State Brandywine, the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Division, will host No. 3 Penn State Hazleton in a single-elimination first round game of the Penn State University Athletic Conference Tournament on Friday at Maple Zone beginning at 3:30 PM.

The three-time defending conference champion, Brandywine is 8-0 in the PSUAC Tournament since 2015 and owns a 64-6 overall record against conference foes during that time under the guidance of Head Coach Mark Caserta, who earned his 100th career victory earlier this season.

Two of the top teams in the conference during the last five seasons, Brandywine and Hazleton have made meetings in the PSUAC an annual event. Brandywine has defeated Hazleton in the title game in three consecutive seasons and is 5-1 against Hazleton all-time in the postseason. Each of Brandywine's five victories have been in games decided by three runs or fewer, including a pair of walk-off triumphs.

This spring, Brandywine won three-of-four games against Hazleton, including both contests played at Maple Zone. Katie DeStefano was the winning pitcher during all three of Brandywine's wins. The two-time all-American is 7-0 in nine career appearances, with 24 strikeouts and a 2.65 ERA in 42.2 innings, against Hazleton.

Brandywine boasts one of the top offenses in the PSUAC, averaging 10.0 runs per game. Seven players have accounted for the Lions' league-best 24 home runs this spring, led by Katy Steffen's seven long balls. Arianna Segich and Alexa Anderson have both homered five times. Anderson, who is batting .659 (29-44) with seven three-hit games during the month of April, is the PSUAC leader in RBI with 41.

All nine of Brandywine's starters on Friday will bring a batting average of over .300 into the game, topped by Rachel Cherubini's .537 mark. Cherubini, who set a program record with an 18-game hitting streak this season, and Anderson are both 21-for-37 (.568) at the plate in PSUAC games this spring.

Hazleton, which enters the game with a 16-15 overall record and 10-6 conference mark, is led by junior Samantha Varela. She is the PSUAC leader in home runs with nine and owns a .481 batting average with 34 RBI, while also posting a 4-6 record in the circle, pitching to a 3.57 ERA in 11 appearances.

The winner of Friday's game will travel to State College for the double elimination portion of the PSUAC Tournament and face off with Penn State Fayette, the top seed in the west, during its first game at Penn State's Beard Field. Game times will be determined early next week for the tournament, which begins Sunday, May 6.