Friday, March 25, 2011

Five-Star Matchups

The first weekend of spring certainly is colder than most of us would like ... but it is here and with it comes the first weekend of Conference play in baseball and softball. Can Johns Hopkins and Dickinson repeat? They both face big challenges on Saturday, while key lacrosse and tennis matches are also on the docket. Bundle up and we hope to see you at a Centennial game this weekend.

Johns Hopkins at Haverford (2)
Dickinson at Swarthmore (2)

The defending CC champs and the three teams with the best non-conference records in the Centennial meet in doubleheaders to open the 2011 season. Hopkins (7-5) travels to the Main Line to take on Haverford (13-2) in a rematch of last spring's CC title game. OF Jesse Sikorski leads the Jays with a .372 average and 12 RBI, while SS Charlie Carluccio has a .396 average and 16 ribbies for the Fords. Pitching will be the order of the day as JHU throws (probable) Alex Eliopoulos (3-1, 1.02) and Sam Eagleson (1-0, 2.41), while Haverford counters with Colin Sarafin (3-1, 3.38) and Jonny Williams (3-0, 1.29).

Down the road a piece in Delaware County, the Red Devils (13-4) and the Garnet (9-5) meet in a twinbill. OF Mike Schuster is hitting .443 and has seven steals for Dickinson, while C Mike Waterhouse has a .449 average with 16 RBI and a .653 slugging percentage for Swarthmore. Probable pitchers: D-Sean White (3-1, 1.67) and Evan Fitzpatrick (3-1, 2.03); S-Ignacio Rodriguez (2-1, 2.89) and Neil Mejia (1-0, 3.29) or Kyle Crawford (0-1, 9.00).

Ursinus at Dickinson

The Red Devils (5-9) open defense of their 2010 Centennial title by taking on the new-look Bears (6-5). 1B Madison Gerish is hitting at a .350 clip for Dickinson with 11 RBI, while OF Amy Gentile has a .440 average for UC. Allison Jordan (2-3, 2.57) has fanned 52 in 32 2/3 innings of mound work, while rookie Chelsea Homa (2-3, 0.24) has 43 K's in 29 1/3 innings for the Devils. Jennilyn Weber (4-2, 1.02) may see double-duty on the mound for Ursinus.

Ursinus at Dickinson

The Bears (1-0, 3-4) travel to Carlisle to take on the Red Devils (1-0, 4-5) in a late March contest to could have playoff implications in late April. Ursinus leads the series, 13-4, and snapped a four-game skid to Dickinson with a 9-3 triumph last season in Collegeville. Allison Furman (9-11-20) and Alyssa Thren (20-1-21) are a potent 1-2 offensive combo for the Bears, but will be challenged by Devil 'keeper Jessie Clark who leads the CC with a .507 save percentage.

Ursinus at Dickinson

Are you noticing a trend that Carlisle is the "place to be" for big Conference games on Saturday? The men's lax contest between the first-place Bears (2-0, 6-1) and the 12th ranked Red Devils (0-0, 6-1) should be no exception. Dickinson has a 6-2 all-time lead in the series, but Ursinus has won two of the last three games by two-goal margins in 2008 and 2009. The top two scorers in the Centennial will be on display in the Devils' Brian Cannon (18-16-34) and the Bears' Jeff Ocampo (24-6-30).

Johns Hopkins at Swarthmore

It's a rematch of the 2010 Centennial team finals as the Blue Jays and the Garnet meet in a net doubleheader at the Mullen Tennis Center. The 11th ranked Hopkins women (1-0, 3-0) defeated the Garnet (2-0, 3-5) a year ago for their fourth straight Conference title. Four of the top 25 ranked women in the Atlantic South region will play on Saturday in JHU's Carolyn Warren (4), Nandita Krishnan (10) and Hailey Hogan (11), along with Swarthmore's Lia Carlson (24).

The Blue Jay men (1-0, 4-3), ranked 13th nationally, downed the Garnet (1-0, 4-5) for their fourth consecutive Centennial championship last spring. JHU has three players ranked in the Atlantic South region - Andrew Wang (8), Andy Hersh (9) and Warren Elgort (11), while the doubles team of Casey Blythe and Jacob Barnaby are fifth.

McDaniel Invitational at The Bridges GC
All seven of the Conference's teams will participate in the 36-hole McDaniel Invitational this weekend. The Invitational will also serve as the Conference's qualifying tournament for the NCAA championship, should the Centennial tournament be unable to be played on April 30-May 1. McDaniel posted the lowest team stroke average in the fall (311.08), led by senior Paul Kovalcheck who carded the low individual average (74.50). Also watch Gettysburg's Peter Ruymann (75.33) and F&M's Cameron Warner (75.50).

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