MEDIA, Pa. -- One week after claiming its fifth-straight Penn State University Athletic Conference championship in DuBois, Pa., the Penn State Brandywine softball team will return to Heindl Memorial Field for the United States Collegiate Athletic Association World Series, which begins Monday.
Brandywine, the No. 10 seed in the double-elimination tournament, will have a familiar opponent to face in the first round in No. 7 Penn State Hazleton as the teams will square off for the sixth time this year at 10:00 am on Monday. Brandywine and Hazleton split four regular-season meetings before Hazleton claimed the PSUAC East Division tiebreaker game on Apr. 24 to win the season series.
Both of Brandywine's victories over Hazleton came on its home turf at Maple Zone. This spring, Brandywine is 14-0 when playing on an artificial surface, including three victories last week in DuBois to capture the PSUAC championship.
During those 14 games on turf, Brandywine's defense, the top-ranked unit in the USCAA with a .965 fielding percentage, committed just nine errors. The Lions did not have a miscue last weekend in DuBois.
Brandywine's pitching staff and offense also rank among the leaders in the USCAA. The Lions rank ninth in team earned run average (3.92) behind all-conference honorable mention standouts Cara Fabiano and Alexandra Szpindor. The offense stands fourth in runs scored (261) nationally as Arianna Segich, a First Team All-PSUAC selection, ranks second individually with 49 runs scored and leads all USCAA base runners with 61 stolen bases, while Szpindor tops the team in batting with a .421 batting average and 41 RBI.
Overall, Brandywine featured a PSUAC-high nine all-conference selections, including five first team performers.
Brandywine overcame a slow start to win 23 games for the fifth-straight year under Head Coach Mark Caserta's direction. The Lions owned a 3-11 record entering a doubleheader at Franklin & Marshall on March 28, but reeled off 10-straight victories and won 20 of their final 25 games to finish seven games above the .500 mark.
Brandywine will be making its fifth appearance at the USCAA World Series. The Lions have won at least two games and finished in the top five each of the last three seasons. Brandywine and Hazleton have met once previously during the World Series, a game won 2-0 by Brandywine in 2016.
The winner of the opening-round matchup between Brandywine and Hazleton will move on to face No. 2 NHTI Monday evening at 6:00 pm.