Elon Softball to Face NC State, UNC in Midweek Slate

Posted by Press Release on March 25, 2014 at 10:24 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – Looking to rebound from a tough losing stretch, the Elon University softball team will play back-to-back contests against in-state rivals and Atlantic Coast Conference foes NC State and North Carolina this week in a pair of midweek contests.

The Phoenix treks to Raleigh, N.C., to face the Wolfpack on Wednesday, March 26, at 4 p.m. before returning to Hunt Softball Park to host the Tar Heels on Thursday, March 27. That game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.

Live Coverage
Fans can follow both games via live stats by going to the Elon softball schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Thursday’s game against the Tar Heels will be streamed live online through Phoenix All-Access free of charge to all viewers. Twitter updates will also be provided the handles @ElonScores and @ElonUSoftball.

Series History
Elon and NC State are meeting for the 16th time in a series that dates back to 2004 in the fast-pitch era. The Wolfpack have a 9-6 advantage all-time in the series over the maroon and gold, including an 11-0 win last year in Elon. The Phoenix however defeated NC State 7-1 the last time the two teams met in Raleigh in 2012. Then sophomore Carleigh Nester had four RBI in that game.

The Phoenix trails UNC 2-23-1 all-time in its series versus the Tar Heels dating back to 1998. Elon fell at then 25th-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C., 6-0, last season and last defeated the Tar Heels in 2010.

Last Time Out
Elon was swept by Southern Conference 2014 preseason favorite Georgia Southern this past weekend, March 22-23, in Statesboro, Ga. The Phoenix battled the Eagles tough in the three-game series, including an extra inning affair during game two of a doubleheader on Saturday, March 22. Georgia Southern would eventually prevail with a 5-4 walk-off win in eight innings in that game which was preceded by a 7-3 game one Eagles win over the Phoenix. Georgia Southern wrapped up the series and the sweep the following day with a 9-1 victory.

Scouting the Phoenix (16-12-1)
Nester became the program’s all-time leader in RBI over the weekend after reaching 126 for her career and passing All-American Tomeka Watson’s (2010-13) mark of 125. Despite the team’s setback at Georgia Southern, Nester was one of the few bright spots for the Phoenix as she hit .300 with a pair of home runs – both coming off 2014 SoCon Preseason Pitcher of the Year Sarah Purvis – along with six RBI and a double.

Elon ranks among the top teams in the conference in terms of batting average and fielding percentage. The Phoenix is third overall in both categories with a .278 batting average and a fielding percentage of .971. The Phoenix is also second in the league in home runs and leads the conference with 39 stolen bases.

Nester also recorded her 200th career hit last weekend against the Eagles and moved into a tie for second all-time in program history with 46 doubles, two shy of Dani Concepcion’s (2002-05) school record of 48.

Scouting NC State (19-10)
Second-year head coach Shawn Rychcik and his Wolfpack squad is 10-4 in ACC play this season after being picked second in the conference’s 2014 preseason poll. NC State won the ACC Tournament in Rychcik’s first season last year.

The Wolfpack is hitting .269 for the season as three regulars are batting .300 or better. Renada Davis is second on the team with a .337 clip while tied for the team-lead with seven homers, along with Molly Hutchinson. Hutchinson paces the squad with 26 RBI and has drawn 11 walks this season.

Junior Emily Weiman is the workhorse in the circle for NC State. The Pasadena, Md., native has posed a 2.14 ERA in her 150.2 innings of action to go with nine shutouts and a 17-8 record.

Scouting North Carolina (16-12)
Fellow ACC member North Carolina is 9-2 in the conference under head coach Donna J. Papa, who is in her 29th year at the helm of the program.

Picked fourth in the ACC preseason poll, UNC has four players hitting .300 or more in its regular lineup including Aquilla Mateen who has a team-high .402 average on the year. She has also been a threat on the bases for the Tar Heels with 10 stolen bases.

Lori Spingola (11-7, 2.95 ERA, 111.2 IP) leads the way in the circle for the Tar Heels, who have an overall ERA of 3.48 on the season. UNC pitchers have also struck out 143 batters this season with Spingola accounting for 98 of them.

On Deck
Elon returns to SoCon play this weekend beginning with a doubleheader against Furman on Saturday, March 29, starting at 1 p.m. The three-game series concludes on Sunday, March 30, with a single-game contest at 1 p.m.

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