ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team begins its third season of league play in the Colonial Athletic Association this weekend, March 25-26, with a three-game series at the College of Charleston. The Phoenix and the Cougars open with a twin bill on Saturday at 2 p.m. before concluding the series on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.
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 final game of the series will be streamed online through College of Charleston’s athletic website, cofcsports.com.
Inside the Series
Elon and CofC have met 46 times on the softball diamond during the maroon and gold’s fastpitch era (since 1990). This is also the third season that the two programs have renewed their conference rivalry in the CAA after being longtime league foes in the Southern Conference from 2004 to 2013. The Cougars lead the all-time series that began in 1999, 27-19, including eliminating the Phoenix in the CAA Tournament last season. Elon however won the season series last season, taking two out of three at Hunt Softball Park.
Leading Off for Elon
• Elon has won eight out of its last nine games after earning a nail-biting 10-9 victory on Wednesday, March 22, at East Carolina. The victory was the second straight in the series against the Pirates and improved the Phoenix’s road ledger to 3-2 this season.
• Since joining the CAA in 2015, the Phoenix has posted a 4-2 mark in its series league openers. Under sixth-year head coach Kathy Bocock, Elon is 5-4 on the first day of league play.
• The Phoenix racked up a season-high 13 hits versus East Carolina on Wednesday. When tallying double-digit hits, Elon is 7-0 this season against the opposition.
• Senior Alaina Hall was 4-for-5 against the Pirates and moved into a tie for fifth all-time in school history with 207 career hits along with Paige Goss (2004-07).
• Hall also scored twice at ECU, bringing her career total to 112 runs. That mark is currently tied for seventh all-time in program history along with Tracey Dahlen (2005-08).
• Over its previous nine games, Elon is batting .332 as a team with three players – Hall (.484), Kara Shutt (.483) and Carey Million (.440) – hitting north of .400. The Phoenix is also outscoring opponents 65-24 while allowing opposing teams to hit just .240.
• Million has driven in 18 runs over the last nine games including three at East Carolina on Wednesday. She also has two of the Phoenix’s five home run totals in that period and leads the team with four on the season.
• The Phoenix pitching staff has been solid over the last nine games. Kiandra Mitchum has posted a 5-1 ledger while holding opponents to a 1.17 ERA and a .186 average. She has also fanned 52 batters during that span in 36.0 total innings.
• Emily Roper reached 100 career RBI at UNCG last Saturday, March 18. She became the seventh player in school history to reach the milestone.
• Wednesday’s win at ECU was the program’s 898th victory all-time since beginning collegiate competition in 1977. It was also career win 381 for Bocock and the 143rd for her at Elon.
Scouting the Phoenix
Elon heads into 2017 CAA play with an 18-9 overall mark and has won eight of the last nine games. The Phoenix is also looking to continue to play well on the road as Elon has posted a 3-2 ledger so far in 2017 after winning just four games total all of last season in true road contests.
The Phoenix is fourth overall in the CAA in batting average at .293 and is third in runs (137), RBI (119) and on-base percentage (.381). Hall is third in the league with her .427 average on the season and leads the league in total hits at 35. Million is the only player in the CAA with 30 RBI this season with her league-best 31 while Erica Serafini is tied for the conference lead with seven doubles. Hannah Olson has scored a CAA-best 25 runs and paces the league with 16 walks.
Elon’s 3.14 staff ERA is third in the CAA while the Phoenix is also third in batters struck out with 127. Mitchum ranks second in the league in batters struck out (88) and leads the Phoenix with her 9-5 record along with her 83.0 innings while posting a 2.87 ERA. Freshman Kenna Quinn has posted a 6-3 record with a 2.74 ERA in her 66.1 innings.
Scouting the Cougars
CofC has won two in a row and four out of its last five while posting a 15-11 record so far in 2017. The Cougars last played on Wednesday at former conference foe Georgia Southern, earning a 10-5 victory. Prior to the season, College of Charleston was chosen to finish third in the 2017 CAA Preseason Poll.
Offensively, CofC is hitting .303, second in the CAA, while scoring 127 runs, with 34 doubles, 11 homeruns and 108 RBI. Six players in the Cougars’ lineup are hitting better than .300 with freshman Taylor Belfiore leading the way with a .386 clip. She also has a team-high four homers and has also driven in 13 runs.
In the circle, CofC has a cumulative ERA of 3.40 with four players seeing most of the time toeing the rubber. Three players have pitched at least 44 innings with Brittany Violette having a team-high 45.0. She leads the team with her 1.40 ERA and has struck out 30 batters with a 4-3 record.
The Phoenix closes out its eight-game road trip with a visit to Triad rival North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, March 29. Opening pitch is at 4:30 p.m.