Elon Softball Hosts USC Upstate and Radford to Open 2015

Posted by Press Release on February 6, 2015 at 10:57 am under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – Hosting its first-ever season-opening games at its three-year facility, Hunt Softball Park, the Elon University softball team welcomes USC Upstate and Radford this weekend, Feb. 7-8. The Phoenix opens versus the Spartans on Saturday, Feb. 7, at 1 p.m. followed by a contest against the Highlanders.

The maroon and gold and the Highlanders then close out the weekend in a rematch on Sunday, Feb. 8, with the first pitch scheduled for a noon start.

Live Coverage
Fans can follow the Phoenix 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
Elon’s matchup on Saturday against USC Upstate will be the first-ever meeting between the two schools. The Phoenix and the Highlanders have faced each other 28 times in the all-time series between the two former Big South Conference foes. Radford holds an 18-10 record all-time over Elon, but the maroon and gold has won the previous three meetings.

Elon in Season Openers
The Phoenix holds an all-time record of 15-10 in its season-openers in the fastpitch era and have a mark of 2-1 under fourth-year head coach Kathy Bocock. Last season, Elon opened the year with an 8-3 victory over UNCW at the Charleston Southern Tournament and defeated Liberty in its last season opener at home, 4-1, in 2012.

CAA Era Begins
On July 1, 2014, Elon became a member of the Colonial Athletic Association and enters its first foray into the CAA this season. The Phoenix’s first league series starts on March 21, at former Southern Conference foe College of Charleston. The maroon and gold first CAA home series begins on March 4, versus Towson.

Scouting the Phoenix
Elon returns 14 letterwinners and six starters from last year’s squad. Among the top returners is rising sophomore outfielder Alaina Hall, who earned second team All-SoCon honors as a rookie. Hall led the team in hits (56), batting average (.341), runs scored (35) and stolen bases (17) during her first year at Elon.

The Phoenix had a program-record 53 home runs in 2014 and returns 35 of those round-trippers this season. Senior Grace Eng and junior Emily Cameron are the returning leaders in home runs with eight each followed by sophomore Emily Roper with seven. Roper also drove in 31 RBI, the most among the returners.

In the circle, Elon statistically returns 100 percent of its pitching from a year ago. Senior Caitlin O’Shea headlines the returners after leading the team in appearances (35), innings pitched (150.2), saves (two) and ERA (2.97). Another senior, Chelsea White, is also back after pacing the team in wins (10) and strikeouts in 2014.

Scouting USC Upstate (46-9 in 2014)
The Spartans concluded the 2014 season with a 46-9 record and is one of seven teams on Elon’s schedule that advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season. USC Upstate won its conference, the Atlantic Sun, with an overall league record of 22-2 finished the season No. 26 in the USA Softball poll.

Chris Hawkins is in his 20th year at USC Upstate and returns 12 letterwinners and six starters from last season. Senior Shellie Robinson is back after batting .410 with 18 homers, 48 RBI, 55 runs scored and earning All-American honors. The Spartans lost two-thirds of its pitching staff from last season, but still returns sophomore Lexi Shubert in the circle. As a freshman, Shubert posted a 1.53 ERA and had an 18-2 record with 145 strikeouts, earning the A-Sun Freshman of the Year award.

Scouting Radford (22-30 in 2014)
The Highlanders ended 2014 with a 22-30 overall record, but had a 14-10 mark in the Big South, third in the conference. Maggie White begins her third season at the helm of the Radford softball program.

Radford has two second team All-Big South selections returning in juniors Whitney Davis and Becky Mantel. Davis batted .283 with 10 homers a year ago while Mantel was second on the team in hits with 38. Sophomore Abby Morrow is the Highlanders’ top pitcher returning after leading the team in ERA with 2.91 and earning Big South All-Freshman honors.

On Deck
Elon travels to Athens, Ga., next weekend, Feb. 13-14, to participate in the Georgia Softball Classic, hosted by the University of Georgia. The Phoenix opens against Troy on Friday, Feb. 13, before facing the 12th ranked Bulldogs. Elon closes out the tournament the following day against SIU-Edwardsville and a rematch against the Bulldogs.

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