April 28, 2014
VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Villanova softball team (17-31, 5-13 BIG EAST) will play its final nonconference contest of the season Tuesday when Penn (18-19) travels to the Villanova Softball Complex for a 4 p.m. showdown against the Wildcats.
Coming into the game, Villanova is 17-31 overall with five of those victories coming on its home field. Before going 1-7 last week, the Wildcats had won six of their previous eight games.
Led by sophomore ace Kate Poppe, Villanova's 2.79 ERA as a pitching staff is third in the BIG EAST. Along with senior Kaity Sitzman and freshman lefty Jordan Prutzer, the rotation is holding batters to a .244 average.
Young guns Lauren Herschberg and Sierra McConnell provide the bulk of the run support for the Wildcats. As a freshman, Herschberg has done an excellent job filling as the leadoff batter over the past 11 games, hitting .333 with a .364 on base percentage. McConnell leads the team with five home runs, 17 runs scored and 22 RBI.
Tuesday is the regular-season finale for Penn, who owns the all-time series record with a 21-39-2 mark since Villanova took the inaugural game 19-8 in 1975.
The Villanova Softball Complex is located on Pike Field across from Villanova stadium and admission is free for the public. Tuesday's game will be broadcast on Nova Nation All-Access with Nick Mentenya on the call. Live stats can be followed through Gametracker.
Poppe is a classic power pitcher that has been downright dominant sitting down hitters all year. The righty ranks atop several strikeout categories in the NCAA. She is fourth in the entire nation with 263 whiffs and 14th in the country averaging 9.2 Ks per seven innings. Earlier in the week, she broke her own record for most strikeouts in a single season.
For the third-straight year, Penn has clinched the Ivy League South Division title putting them in a championship game versus the North winner for a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
The Quakers boast an 18-19 record on the season with a 13-6 mark in the Ivy League but are 4-8 on the road. Against opponents that Villanova played during the season, Penn is 2-5 with wins over BIG EAST foes Seton Hall and Providence during tournament play.
Coming into Tuesday, Penn has won three of its past four games all coming against conference rival Columbia, which helped them clinch their share of the league title.
The Quakers are hitting .279 as a team, while holding opponents to .268 on the attack. Leah Allen leads a lineup that has six players batting over .300 on the season. Allen is the reason for a lot of her team's success, batting .410 with 13 homeruns, 31 runs scored and 41 RBI on the year.
Junior Alexis Borden and freshman Alexis Sargent headline a staff that accounts for a 3.17 ERA. Borden has tossed 121 of the team's 238.2 innings, tallying 11 wins, 13 complete games, 120 strikeouts with a 1.91 ERA. Sargent is 6-5 with a 2.48 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 59.1 innings.