ELON, N.C. – Victors of four out of its past five, the Elon University softball team will hit the road to nearby Chapel Hill, N.C., for the 2018 Carolina Classic hosted by the University of North Carolina this weekend, March 2-4, at Anderson Stadium.
The Phoenix opens the tournament on Friday, March 2, with a matchup versus Kansas at 12:30 p.m. followed by a contest against Harvard at 2:30 p.m. Elon returns to the field on Saturday, March 3, at 5 p.m. against the host Tar Heels before closing out the weekend with its final game on Sunday in either the championship (at 12:30 p.m.) or consolation game (at 10 a.m.) of the tournament.
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 at program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball. Live stats for all games will provided this weekend for fans to follow. Elon’s contest versus North Carolina will be streamed on the ACC Network Extra via WatchESPN. For more on Elon softball, follow the Phoenix on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Inside the Series: The Field
The Phoenix will face Kansas and Harvard for the first on the softball diamond this weekend. The Jayhawks will be the second team from the Big 12 that Elon will face all-time after Iowa State in 2013. Harvard will be the first of two teams from the Ivy League the Phoenix will see this season. The maroon and gold is also set for a meeting versus Princeton on March 18, at the USF Tournament. The last time Elon faced a team from the Ivy League came in 2013 versus Dartmouth.
Elon and North Carolina are set to meet at least for the 33rd time this weekend with its second contest of the season. The Tar Heels hold a 28-3-1 record all-time versus the Phoenix, but Elon snapped a seven-game losing streak to UNC earlier this season on Feb. 14, with a 2-1 victory at Hunt Softball Park. The win was the Phoenix’s first over the Tar Heels since 2010.
Last Time Out
Elon returned home this past Saturday, Feb. 24, to earn a doubleheader sweep versus Howard. The Phoenix took game one of the twin bill, 7-2, before closing out the day with a 3-0 victory over the Bison in the nightcap to improve to 9-4 on the season.
Rookie Ally Repko had three hits between the two games (3-for-4) including her first career home run in the opening game. She also drove in two RBI, tying Elise Walton for the most among the Phoenix players during the doubleheader. Overall, the Phoenix had 15 hits total in the two games, hitting for a .300 average (15-for-50).
Kiandra Mitchum earned the win in the circle in the opening game with a complete game performance, improving to 4-1 on the season. The senior lefty gave up four hits and two runs with one of those being earned. She also struck out eight batters in the contest. In the second game, Walton went to 2-0 on the year after tossing 6.0 scoreless innings and giving up two hits in the contest with four strikeouts. Sophomore Kenna Quinn threw a hitless seventh frame with a strikeout and earned her first save of the season.
Around the Horn
• This season, Elon is batting .283 for the year through its 13 games with 54 runs scored, 18 doubles and 44 RBI. During the season, the Phoenix is a perfect 9-0 when it outhits the opponent and has had three double-digit hit games.
• Kara Shutt leads the Phoenix with her .435 average and carries a 11-game hitting streak into the tournament. The Greensboro, N.C., native needs one hit to become seventh player in school history with 200 or more career hits.
• Shutt also is one double shy for tying Dani Concepcion ’05 for the second-most career doubles in school history at 48. Fellow classmate Hannah Olson joined the program’s top-10 career doubles list this season sitting on 30.
• Junior Erica Serafini is tied with Shutt for the team-lead in RBI with seven and is currently sixth in the nation in triples this season with three. Serafini is also 11th in the country in triples per game at 0.25.
• The Elon pitching rotation has accounted for a 2.26 ERA in 93.0 innings with 59 strikeouts and 27 walks. Elon also has three saves as a team, second in the Colonial Athletic Association.
• Mitchum paces the team with her 38.1 innings pitched and has a 2.19 ERA and 34 strikeouts. The Mechanicsville, Va., native moved to sixth all-time in career strikeouts the past weekend at 317.
• Mitchum also needs one save to become the programs all-time career leader in that category. She is currently tied with Jen Lamb ’04 and Caitlin O’Shea ’14 with six in her career.
• Abby Barker is second on the team with her 27.0 innings pitched and is 3-1 this season with a 2.07 ERA. Walton is next with her 16.0 innings and a team-low 0.88 ERA.
The Jayhawks are 12-3 on the season after splitting its doubleheader versus South Dakota State on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Coming off a 24-28 season in 2017, Kansas was tabbed to finish fifth in the 2018 Big 12 Preseason Poll as head coach Megan Smith is in her 13th season at the helm of the program. As a team, KU is hitting .319 on the season with Harli Ridling pacing the team with her team-best .447 average among its regulars. Jessie Roane has been one of the main run producers for the Jayhawks with her team-highs in home runs (four) and RBI (19). Kansas’ pitching staff has posted a 2.97 ERA with three players seeing the majority of time in the circle with 20 or more innings. Andie Formby leads the team with her 46.2 innings and a 5-1 record with her 3.00 ERA.
The Crimson is 2-3 on the year after opening its season at the Citrus Classic last weekend in Orlando, Fla. After going 22-19 last season, Harvard was picked to finish second in the 2018 Ivy League Preseason poll as head coach Jenny Allard is in her 24th season as the head coach of the program. The Crimson has a .269 team average with 21 runs scored this season and 19 RBI. Meagan Lantz is among the leaders for Harvard with her .438 average among regulars while Erin Lockhart has a team-best five RBI. Kathleen Duncan has seen the majority of the time for Harvard in the pitching circle with her 23.2 innings with a 2.66 ERA and 2-3 record. As a team, the Crimson has a 4.99 ERA through 33.2 innings of action.
Scouting North Carolina
Since its setback to the Phoenix on Feb. 14, the Tar Heels are 3-8 in its past 11 games after coming off its victory over Hampton in a midweek contest on Wednesday. North Carolina has faced a tough schedule over that stretch, going against four ranked teams including two-time defending national champion Oklahoma while playing in a couple of tournaments, the ACC/Big Ten Challenge and the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic. As a team, UNC is hitting .270 with Kiani Ramsey leading the squad with her .395 average. Brittany Pickett has driven in a team-high 11 RBI while also carrying the workload in the circle with her team-best 69.0 innings and a 2.03 ERA. The sophomore has a 5-3 ledger this season in the circle as the Tar Heels have accounted for a 3.39 ERA as a team.
The Phoenix heads to Campbell for its second true road contest of the season next Wednesday, March 7. Opening pitch for that contest is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.