Elon Women’s Softball Opens Season at Charleston Southern Tournament

Posted by Press Release on February 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team opens its 2014 season on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Charleston Southern Tournament in North Charleston, S.C. The Phoenix will face UNC Wilmington at 9 a.m. Saturday morning to open the tournament followed by a game against Maryland Eastern Shore. Elon concludes the weekend with rematch against UMES starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday before playing host Charleston Southern in the finale at Buccaneer Field.

Live Coverage
Fans can follow the Phoenix at the tournament via live stats by going to the Elon softball schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Twitter updates will also be provided the handle @ElonScores or @ElonUSoftball.

Series History
The Phoenix boasts a 14-8 overall record against the field in this weekend’s tournament. Elon has a 5-3 series lead over UNCW all-time after defeating the Seahawks, 5-4, in its most recent matchup in 2010. Elon will face Charleston Southern for the 13th time on Sunday and has an 8-4 series advantage over the Buccaneers after winning 6-4 in their last meeting in 2011. UMES and Elon have met only once prior to this weekend, with the Phoenix earning a 15-0 win over the Hawks in 2006.

Five Earn Preseason All-SoCon Honors
Elon had four players receive 2014 Preseason All-Southern Conference honors in seniors Carleigh Nester, Lauren Oldham and Johanna Spencer along with sophomore Emily Cameron. Nester and Cameron were first team selections while Oldham and Spencer were placed on the second team.

In addition, Nester and junior Grace Eng were also recognized on the College Sports Madness 2014 SoCon Preseason Teams with Nester being a first team selection and Eng on the second team.

Scouting the Phoenix
Elon head coach Kathy Bocock begins her third season at the helm of the Phoenix softball program. The 30-year coaching veteran has amassed 45 wins during her first two years at the school, the most of any coach in program history in their first two seasons.

Bocock returns all but three players from her 2013 squad, including Nester, a first team All-SoCon pick a year ago. The senior from Kernersville, N.C., is the Phoenix’s returning leader in nearly every offensive category including batting average (.370), runs scored (38), hits (60), RBI (34), home runs (11) and stolen bases (14). She also posted a perfect fielding percentage (1.000) for the second straight season and was a first team NFCA All-Mideast Region selection in 2013.

The Phoenix also returns its top two pitchers in the circle in junior Chelsea White and sophomore Kayla Caruso. Caruso became the team’s workhorse during her freshman campaign, pacing the squad in wins (10) and innings pitched (134.1) while allowing an ERA of 3.44. White was the team leader in strikeouts and helped the Phoenix to a 5-2 upset win at eight-ranked Georgia on Opening Day last season, fanning seven batters in the contest.

Elon was selected to finish seventh in the 2014 Southern Conference Preseason Poll after coming off a 21-31 campaign in 2013. This will also be the last year for Elon in the SoCon as the Phoenix move to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) next season.

Scouting UNC Wilmington (16-37 in 2013)
The Phoenix will get an early preview of their future CAA foe in its matchup with the Seahawks. Head coach Kristy Norton is in her second season at UNCW after arriving as an assistant from James Madison.

The Seahawks welcome back 14 letterwinners from a season ago, including seniors Morgan Ayers and Casey Shue. Ayers led the team in 33 runs scored while batting .282, while Shue was the team-leader in RBI with 32.

Scouting UMES (14-35 in 2013)
Head coach Sam Douglas begins his ninth season at Maryland Eastern Shore, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). The team returns nine players from last season, including College Sports Madness 2014 MEAC Preseason Second Team All-Conference pick Vanessa Gomez. Gomez posted a .304 batting average in 2013 and paced the squad in hits (51).

Scouting Charleston Southern (15-40 in 2013)
Host Charleston Southern, coming off a 15-40 season, returns 10 players from its team from last season. Head coach Shane Winkler begins his sixth year with the Buccaneers, a member of the Big South Conference.

Among the returners, senior Marci Christian is the top offensive threat for the Buccaneers after leading the team in batting average (.341), home runs (15) and total bases.

On Deck
Elon welcomes in-state rival North Carolina to its home opener at Hunt Softball Park on Wednesday, Feb. 12. It is the Tar Heels’ first visit to the Phoenix’s new stadium with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.

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