Elon Softball to Host Phoenix Opening Tournament

Posted by Press Release on February 20, 2014 at 8:53 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – After playing in two early-season tournaments on the road to start year, the Elon University softball team will host its first slate of games of 2014 this weekend, Feb. 21-23, in its home tournament, the Phoenix Opening Tournament. The Phoenix will kick off the event with its home opener against Niagara on Friday, Feb. 21, with the first pitch scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.

Live Coverage
Fans can follow the Phoenix and the rest of 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.

Tournament Central Page

Tournament Field
Elon welcomes Niagara, Saint Joseph’s, UMBC and Iona to Hunt Softball Park this weekend. UMBC is the only team that has played in 2014 and also has a series history against the Phoenix with the all-time record knotted at 2-2 between the two schools. Both programs last met in 2003.

The Phoenix will face Niagara, Saint Joseph’s and Iona for the first time on the diamond. The remainder of the tournament schedule can be found on the tournament central page on the softball’s home page at elonphoenix.com

Last Time Out
The Phoenix fell on the road on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Campbell in its most recent contest. The Fighting Camels scored nine runs in the first three innings en route to a 9-2 win over the maroon and gold. Senior Ali Ford belted her first career home run for the Phoenix with a solo blast in the third inning, but that was one of only two hits that Elon could muster against the Fighting Camels.

Scouting the Phoenix (5-3-1)
Despite the setback, the Phoenix still posts a winning record and has a 19-10-1 mark in the month of February under head coach Kathy Bocock in her two-plus seasons at Elon. She also has a 9-2 record in home tournaments for the Phoenix.

Elon is hitting .274 as a unit and has nearly twice as many home runs as its opponents (13-7). Emily Cameron is hitting .400 for the young season and is also leading the team in slugging percentage (1.000), RBI (12) and home runs (5). Ford has scored the most runs for Elon this season with eight and has been very patient at the plate drawing five walks, tied for the team-lead.

Five players currently have a perfect fielding percent for the Phoenix, including Ford, Carleigh Nester, Alaina Hall and pitchers Alli Burdette and Caitlin O’Shea. Burdette also has the most wins on the year in the circle for Elon with two while O’Shea has the second-lowest ERA among the staff at 1.80.

Scouting Niagara (16-30 in 2013)
The Purple Eagles are a member of the MAAC Conference and are led by head coach Larry Puzan in his first full season as head coach. Senior Jennifer Sansano was the 2013 MAAC Pitcher of the Year after striking out 185 batters in 156.2 innings of action. She also posted a record of 10-11 with a 2.13 ERA.

Offensively, senior Brittany Richburg had 29 runs and 47 hits last season, the most among Niagara’s returners.

Scouting Saint Joseph’s (37-10-1 in 2013)
The Hawks are a member of the Atlantic-10 Conference and were picked second overall in its Preseason Poll for 2014. Under head coach Terri Adams, Saint Joseph’s won the A-10 a year ago and return six starters along with 13 letterwinners.

Scouting UMBC (2-2)
UMBC split its games at its season-opening tournament at the Seahawk Invitational, hosted by UNC Wilmington, on Feb. 15-16, to open the season.

A member of the American East Conference, UMBC was picked sixth in its league’s preseason poll for 2014. Head coach Joe French enters his 13th year at UMBC and returns all-conference performers in junior Taylor Hall and sophomore Danielle O’Neill.

Scouting Iona (13-37 in 2013)
Iona College was tabbed sixth in the 2014 MAAC Preseason Poll and is led by second-year head coach Melissa Inouye. Gaels’ senior outfielder Eileen McCann was also recognized on the MAAC Preseason Teams and is a two-time All-MAAC selection in her career.

On Deck
Elon hosts Charlotte in a midweek contest next Wednesday, Feb. 26, with the first pitch slated for 4 p.m. The Phoenix then follows with its second home tournament of the year, the Phoenix Clash, starting next weekend on March 1.

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