ELON, N.C. – Winners of seven of its last eight, the Elon University softball team begins its spring break week with a midweek intrastate contest at East Carolina on Wednesday, March 22. The single-game is scheduled to begin at 4:30 p.m. at the ECU Softball Stadium.
Follow the Phoenix
Fans can keep up with the action of the Phoenix all season via live stats from the program’s schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Updates will also be provided on Twitter on @elonscores or the program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball. The game will also be streamed online through East Carolina’s athletic website, ecupirates.com.
Inside the Series
Intrastate rivals since 1998 in the fast pitch era, Elon and East Carolina are meeting for the 23rd time on Wednesday on the softball diamond. ECU holds a 16-5-1 advantage all-time over the maroon and gold, but the teams have split the last four meetings. The last time the programs met in 2015, Elon earned a 10-4 victory over the Pirates at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix belted three homers in that contest with Carey Million, Emily Roper and Kara Shutt providing one each.
Leading Off for Elon
• The Phoenix is coming off a series win at former conference and fellow Triad rival UNCG last weekend. Elon won two of three in the series at the Spartans and has won seven out of its last eight games heading into Wednesday’s matchup. Elon also improved to 2-2 this season in true road contests.
• Senior Alaina Hall became the sixth player in school history to reach 200 career hits in the Phoenix’s first game at the Spartans last Friday, March 17. The Suwanee, Ga., native now has 203 career base hits, which currently stands sixth all-time in school history.
• With its two wins last weekend, Elon sits at 897 victories all-time as a program since beginning collegiate competition in 1977.
• Million had two home runs in the Phoenix’s opening game at UNCG last Friday in Elon’s 11-1 victory. It was the Phoenix’s first multi-homer game since 2014 when Roper also had two round-trippers versus Furman on March 30.
• Elon batted .317 overall in its three-game series at the Spartans with five players hitting .300 or better. Callie Horn led the way in the batter’s box with a .556 average (5-for-9) while Hall and Roper both batted .500.
• Roper homered in the second game of the series on Saturday, March 18, her second of the season and the 22nd of her career. The round tripper moved her into sole possession of sixth all-time in school history in career home runs and is one shy of jumping into the program’s top five.
• The pitching staff also did a solid job versus the Spartans, holding UNCG to a .203 average while posting a 2.33 ERA. Elon also fanned 17 batters total with junior Kiandra Mitchum accounting for 16 of those.
• Elon sixth-year head coach Kathy Bocock improved her overall Elon record to 143-143-1 last weekend at the Spartans. Saturday’s win in the rubber match was also the 380th in her career overall.
Scouting the Phoenix
As a unit, Elon is batting .288 as a team while scoring 127 runs, good for third in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Phoenix’s 111 RBI is also third in the CAA while the team’s five triples is second overall. The maroon and gold is also one of the more patient teams in the league, ranking second in total walks with 83.
Hall leads the team with her .403 average and is tied for the CAA-lead with 31 hits. The outfielder carries a current team-best five-game hitting streak into Wednesday’s game after plating two hits in each of the Phoenix’s three games last weekend at UNCG. Million’s 28 RBI is tops on the conference while her .373 average is second on the team to Hall. Erica Serafini is tied for the CAA-lead with seven doubles, with Kristin Hoover also in the league’s top three with six.
The Phoenix pitching staff has posted a cumulative 3.01 ERA with four shutouts and 122 strikeouts in 170.0 innings of action. Mitchum has a team-best nine wins on the season while posting a 2.89 ERA in her 80.0 innings. The Mechanicsville, Va., native is second in the CAA with 87 strikeouts, which is already the most for a Phoenix single-season leader since the 2012 season.
Scouting the Pirates
ECU is 15-13 heading into its contest versus Campbell on Tuesday, March 21, prior to hosting the Phoenix the following day. Prior to its midweek games, the Pirates were coming off a trip at the Jeannie McHaney Memorial Classic hosted by Texas Tech where they went 1-2. Second-year head coach Courtney Oliver leads East Carolina after posting a 23-31 ledger in 2016.
Collectively as a team, the Pirates are batting .268 while scoring 158 runs with 36 home runs, 145 RBI, 38 doubles and 110 walks. Alex Mycek is one of three regulars hitting .300 or better in the lineup for ECU with her team-best .368 average to go with a team-high 10 home runs and 26 RBI.
The ECU pitching staff has a 4.94 ERA with 113 strikeouts in 177.0 innings of action. Lydia Ritchie has posted an 8-5 ledger with a 3.23 ERA in her team-high 78.0 innings of action. She has also struck out 56 batters.
Elon opens its third season of CAA play this weekend, March 25-26, at College of Charleston. The series begins with a twin bill on Saturday, March 25, with the opening game scheduled for a 2 p.m. start.