ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team continues its five-game homestand this weekend with a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series against Towson on April 15-16. The Phoenix and the Tigers open the weekend with a twin bill on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. followed by the finale on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.
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. All three games of the series will be streamed online through Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel.
Inside the Series
Elon and Towson have met on the softball diamond 11 times during the maroon and gold’s fastpitch history. The series began in 2006 as the Tigers hold a slight 6-5 advantage over the Phoenix all-time. Since becoming league opponents in 2015, Elon is 3-4 against Towson and has yet to win a season series versus the Tigers.
Leading Off for Elon
• The Phoenix is coming off a tough outing at home versus NC State on Wednesday, falling to the Wolfpack by a score of 9-0 in five innings. The loss snapped Elon’s season-tying high six-game win streak and its two-game win-streak against NC State.
• Elon was shutout for only the third time this season against the Wolfpack and for the first time at home in 2017.
• Despite the loss on Wednesday, Elon still has a 16-6 record this season at the home confines of Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix is four wins shy of tying its season-best mark at the five-year facility of 20 wins in 2015 with eight games remaining on its home schedule.
• The Phoenix have started strong this season in the opening frame, outscoring its opponents 33-14. Elon has plated the most runs in the third inning (45).
• Elon has scored first in 24 of its 40 contests played this season. The Phoenix has a 20-4 ledger when it crosses the dish before its opponent.
• Kiandra Mitchum is averaging 6.73 strikeouts per seven innings in 2017. That’s the highest total for a Phoenix pitcher since 2011 and the sixth-best mark in a single-season.
• Since last playing at home versus UNCW on Sunday, April 2, junior Hannah Olson has stepped up her play at the plate. Over the last seven games, the Yorktown, Va., native is hitting .529 (9-for-17) while scoring nine runs with a double and a triple.
Scouting the Phoenix
The Phoenix is 26-14 overall and is tied for third in the CAA with a 5-4 mark after earning its first league series win at Drexel last weekend. Elon trails UNCW (8-1) and James Madison (7-2) in the standings and is tied for Delaware for third with Hofstra a game behind at 4-4. With three weeks left in the regular season after this weekend, the Phoenix will look to strengthen its position to reach the league’s postseason tournament for the third straight year.
Elon’s offense is batting .284 in 2017 with 295 hits, including the second-most triples (10) and RBI (168) in the CAA. Three Phoenix batters are hitting above .300 after 40 games. Senior outfielder Alaina Hall is batting .395 to lead the maroon and gold’s offense, while junior outfielder Kara Shutt is next with a .364 clip. Hall leads the team and the CAA with 51 hits, including five doubles and 19 RBI. Senior Carey Million is the third Phoenix player batting over .300 in the regular lineup and leads the league with 41 RBI. Olson has a league-best 37 runs scored.
Elon has the third-best ERA in the CAA with a 2.78 ERA. Overall, the Phoenix pitching staff is having its best year statistically since 2010 when the program earned its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Elon leads the CAA in saves with four and is second with 191 strikeouts. Mitchum ranks in the league’s top-five in ERA (2.31), innings pitched (148.2), strikeouts (143), wins (14) and has a CAA-best three saves.
Scouting the Tigers
After being tabbed to finish second in the 2017 CAA Preseason poll, Towson sits seventh in the league standings at 2-6 after coming off being swept at home last weekend by then No. 13 James Madison. Overall, the Tigers are 15-20 on the season after rebounding to earn a pair of wins over Norfolk State on Tuesday.
Offensively, the Tigers are batting .284, tied for fifth in the league with Elon, with 275 hits and 31 homeruns. Five players on Towson’s roster are hitting above .300. Kendyl Scott is hitting a team-high .347 in 35 starts with team-highs in hits (42) and RBI (25). Three players are tied for the team-lead with five home runs including Nicole Stockinger, Brook Miko and Shelby Stracher.
In the circle, Towson has posted a 4.34 ERA with 105 strikeouts compared to 72 walks in 225.2 innings of work. Opposing batters are hitting .315 against the Tigers’ pitching staff. Junior right-handed pitcher Megan Dejter leads the pitching staff with 19 starts. She has posted a 3.96 ERA and struck out a team-high 55 batters in 123.2 innings of work. Dejter owns a 5-12 mark in the circle with 13 complete games, two shutouts and a save. Rookie Julia Smith-Harrington leads the team with 10 wins toeing the rubber and has a 4.68 ERA in 91.1 innings.
The Phoenix close out its homestand with a contest against Triad rival UNCG next Wednesday, April 19. That game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. opening pitch.