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The Delaware softball team will play five games this weekend at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic in Orlando.
Courtesy: Delaware Athletics

Delaware Softball Returns To Action This Weekend at Diamond 9 Citrus Classic; Lehigh Game on ESPN3.com

Courtesy: Delaware Athletics
Release: 02/20/2014
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The University of Delaware softball team returns to action this weekend when the Blue Hens will play five games at the Diamond 9 Citrus Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Delaware kicks off action at the tournament on Friday with an 11 a.m. game against Mercer, before facing Lehigh at 3:30 p.m. in a contest that will be broadcast at ESPN3.com. The Blue Hens will face Marshall at 11 a.m. and 17th-ranked Georgia at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, while UD concludes the invitational with a 10 a.m. contest against East Carolina on Sunday.

Delaware opened its season two weeks ago at the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic in Honolulu, O’ahu, dropping its first four games before posting a 5-2 victory over Hampton. The Blue Hens were scheduled to play four contests at the UCF/Holiday Inn Classic last weekend, but were unable to travel to Orlando due to a snowstorm.

Senior captain Brittney Noons was named to the All-Tournament Team after batting .400 with a home run, while freshman shortstop Sarah Bencivenga and junior first baseman Heather Oakley each tied for the team lead with three hits. Freshman pitcher Carolyn Szymanski earned her first win as a Blue Hen after allowing two runs in a complete game effort against Hampton.

After opening the season with a loss, Mercer (6-3) reeled off six consecutive victories before dropping a doubleheader at Georgia. McKenzie Woody is batting an impressive .500 during the early portion of the season with a team-high nine runs scored, while Taylor Miller is batting .400 and Caroline Taylor is hitting .333 on the campaign. Anna O’Neill has posted a 3-1 record with a 0.90 earned run average in the circle to pace the Bears’ pitching staff.

The Mountain Hawks will be opening their 2013 campaign against the Blue Hens, coming off their second consecutive Patriot League regular season title. First team All-Conference selection Emily Bausher will pace Lehigh in the circle, while second baseman Alexis Watanabe returns after leading the conference with seven triples and 48 runs scored a year ago.

Marshall enters the weekend with a 1-4 record, posting only an 8-1 victory over Loyola-Chicago at the Auburn Tournament. Katalin Lucas and Kaelynn Greene are each batting .400 with six hits to lead the Thundering Herb offense, while Shaelynn Braxton has already belted three home runs while knocking home seven. Jordan Dixon picked up the lone victory in the circle for Marshall, but sports a 9.00 earned run average.

No. 17 Georgia will be the second ranked team the Blue Hens will face this season, as Delaware has already taken on 12th-ranked UCLA twice in Hawaii. The Bulldogs are a perfect 9-0 this season, winning their own Red and Black Showcase before sweeping Furman and Mercer in a pair of doubleheaders.

Georgia is batting .316 as a team this season, as Geri Ann Glasco is hitting .458 while Paige Wilson is batting .424 with a team-high 14 hits. Chelsea Wilkinson has allowed just four hits in 29.2 scoreless innings of work while going 6-0 in the early going, while Glasco is 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA.

East Carolina is 5-3 on the year, and won three consecutive games at its own Pirate Snow Classic last weekend. Gabby Andino is 8 for 11 at the plate for a .727 batting average this season, and has already knocked home seven runs. Abby Wynne is hitting .400 during the year, while Kristi Oshire and Chelsea Kaluhiokalani-Glackin are each batting .391 with a team-high nine hits. Sarah Christian is 3-1 with a 3.00 earned run average in the circle for the Pirates.

Friday’s game will be the first ever meeting between Delaware and Mercer, while the Blue Hens lead the all-time series with Lehigh, 35-21-1. Delaware has won just one of five previous meetings with Marshall and is 5-17 against East Carolina, while the Blue Hens have never faced Georgia.

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