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Dartmouth, Penn Square Off for Softball Title This Weekend

Penn's Alexis Borden (left) and Dartmouth's Kristen Rumley meet in the championship series again this season.
Penn's Alexis Borden (left) and Dartmouth's Kristen Rumley meet in the championship series again this season.

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HANOVER, N.H. -- Penn and Dartmouth wmeet for the second-straight year for the Ancient Eight title in the Ivy League Softball Championship Series, which begins this Saturday. 

The Ivy League® Digital Network will have live coverage of all three games.

The site is a change from a year ago, when the teams met in Philadelphia. Dartmouth's Ivy record being the better of the two has earned the Big Green the right to host the series this weekend. Games 1 and 2 will be played Saturday beginning at 1 pm. If a third game is necessary, it will be played Sunday at 1 pm. Dartmouth (29-16) is the home team for games 1 and 3, while Penn (18-20-1) will be the home team for game 2. 

The South Division champ has won four of the seven previous championship series. The home team has won all seven series to date. Only three of the seven have gone to a decisive third game. 

Dartmouth swept the regular season doubleheader in Hanover back on April 5 winning, 3-2 and 12-1. 

Penn, the South Division champs, took care of business quickly last week to wrap up, sweeping a doubleheader in Philadelphia last Friday to reduce the magic number to 1. The Quakers claimed the opener in New York on Sunday to finish off clinching the Ivy League's South Division title for the third-straight year.

Dartmouth's route to the division title was a little more adventurous. Harvard and Dartmouth were rained out last Saturday in Cambridge, shifting the first two games of the series to Hanover. After Harvard won the opener in eight innings, 2-0, Dartmouth had its backs to the wall. 

Morgan McCalmon's 13-strikeout complete game effort was topped off by Kelsey Miller's no-doubt-about-it walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh, giving Dartmouth a 2-1 win and new life heading to Cambridge. 

On Monday, the no-doubt theme continued for Dartmouth with a pair of convincing wins over the Crimson to win the North title for the second-straight year. In the opener, Dartmouth scored three in the top of the first and eventually lengthened the lead to 6-0 on the way to an 8-2 win. In the nightcap, Dartmouth again jumped out 3-0 early on. After Harvard closed to 5-2 in the fifth, Dartmouth put together a four-run sixth to put the game away. 

Penn won last year's series in three games, earning the program's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. It will be a rematch of star pitchers, as well, with both Kristen Rumley and Alexis Borden returning for their respective squads. Over last weekend, Borden became the 18th player in League history to record 50 career wins. She is closing in on 500 career strikeouts, a mark Rumley surpassed two weeks ago. They are 1-2 in strikeouts in the League this season. 

Penn freshman Leah Allen has 13 home runs on the year to break Penn's single-season record. Cornell's Lauren May holds the Ivy League record for home runs by a freshman with 16 (set in 2002). Harvard's Lauren Murphy holds the League record for homers in a season with 18 (in 2007).

The series features the top hitters in the League, as well, in Allen and McCalmon. Allen is hitting .384 on the year and is among the nation's leaders in slugging percentage at .776. She has driven in 41 runs this season. McCalmon is hitting .424 on the year and could become the first Dartmouth player to lead the League in batting. Earlier this season, McCalmon had a 17-game hitting streak, the longest in the Ivy League this season.  

Dartmouth is hitting .290 as a team this season, while Penn is hitting .279. Dartmouth has a staff ERA of 2.40, while Penn sits at 3.16.