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Friday, January 27, 2017

Pitt-Bradford Softball Releases 2017 Schedule

By Scott Elliott
BRADFORD, Pa. - The Pitt-Bradford softball team announced its 2017 schedule Friday, and the Panthers will travel to Fort Myers, FL, to kick off the season March 6 at the Gene Cusic Collegiate Classic.

The Panthers face Swarthmore (Pa.) and Kenyon (Ohio) on Opening Day and are slated to play 12 games in Florida against schools from Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Pitt-Bradford travels to St. John Fisher for a pair of games after returning from its Spring Break trip and will host Westminster Saturday, March 25, in the team’s home opener. Following a road-trip to Elmira, the Panthers wrap up a busy month hosting Medaille, signaling the start of conference play.

Eight of the team’s first 10 games in April will be away from the Kessel Athletic Complex, including trips to Penn State Altoona, Mt. Aloysius and Pitt-Greensburg, a trio of AMCC tournament teams from a year ago. The Panthers will host defending AMCC champion Penn State Behrend Tuesday, April 4.

Pitt-Bradford will spend the second half of the month playing the majority of its games at home, with a quick road-trip to Hilbert being the only series away from Bradford. Matchups against AMCC opponents D’Youville and La Roche highlight a stretch of 10 games in 12 days.

The Panthers wrap up the regular season hosting Juniata in early May, and the AMCC tournament is set for May 5-7.

Head coach Tina Phillips
Head coach Tina Phillips, who enters her 14th season at Pitt-Bradford and is five wins shy of 250 for her Panther career, is most looking forward to the challenge of the team’s Spring Break trip.

“I like the schedule that we will open with in Florida,” Phillips said. “We will have some challenging games and then some competition that will be about where we are.”

The Blue and Gold will look to a snap two-year postseason drought this season and will lean on the trio of junior Cassidy Lewis and sophomores Liz Dzurisin and Nicole Nolte. Lewis led the team in wins last year, Dzurisin drove in a team-high 18 RBIs, and Nolte was a third-team All-AMCC performer.

Phillips will be welcoming 10 freshman to the mix, and the Panthers will feature only two upperclassmen.

“We saw a lot of improvement in the fall,” Phillips said. “We will be young, but that can be a good thing and we are much more competitive this season.”

The Panthers held their first official practice Thursday in the McDowell Sport and Fitness Center.

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