ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team is set to take on its longtime Triad rival UNCG in a three-game series this weekend, March 9-10. The Phoenix and the Spartans open the three-game set on Friday, March 9, in a single contest at 3 p.m. at UNCG Softball Stadium. The series concludes on Saturday, March 10, with a doubleheader at Hunt Softball Park beginning at 1 p.m.
Both teams were originally scheduled to play its single game on Sunday, March 11, in Greensboro, N.C., but possible inclement weather in the region forced the adjustment from Sunday to Friday.
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 at the program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball. Sunday’s game at UNCG will be streamed online via the SoCon Digital Nework. For more on Elon softball, follow the Phoenix on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Inside the Series: UNCG
Longtime local rivals since the beginning of Elon’s fastpitch era in 1990, both programs have met 77 times on the softball diamond heading into the weekend. The Spartans hold a slight 39-37-1 edge over its former conference rival, but the Phoenix have had the upper hand in the series lately, winning four of the past five contests. Last season, Elon won two out of a three-game set in Greensboro before earning a 7-2 victory at home to close out the season series.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix went on the road to Campbell this past Wednesday, March 7, for its second midweek road contest for the season. After trailing the Camels 1-0 heading into the sixth and being held to only one hit during the first five frames, the Phoenix rallied to score five runs in sixth inning to take the lead. Elon added another two runs in the top of the seventh and was able to hold off a two-run answer from Campbell in its home half of the frame to earn a 7-3 victory. The win was the second straight over the Camels for the Phoenix and the first at Campbell since 2010.
Around the Horn
• As a team, Elon is hitting .270 with four players hitting .300 or better in its regular lineup. The Phoenix has accounted for 129 hits, 26 doubles, 61 RBI and 75 runs scored.
• Hannah Olson leads the team with her .397 average and has been on a tear recently at the plate. The Yorktown, Va., native has reached base safely in the past 14 games in which she had batted .488 (21-for-43) with 11 runs scored, 12 RBI and 6 doubles during that stretch.
• Kara Shutt is second behind Olson with her .391 average and carries a 16-game hitting streak into the weekend. The Greensboro, N.C., native is hitting .411(23-for-56) over those 16 games with 18 runs scored, seven RBI and six doubles.
• Olson and Erica Serafini are tied for the Phoenix team-lead in RBI with 13. Serafini is third on the squad with her .315 average and has a team-high three triples.
• Shutt recorded her 50th career double at North Carolina on March 3, and is one shy of tying Carleigh Nester ’14 for the most in school history. Shutt also moved into the top-10 of the program’s all-time career list in hits (204), runs scored (119) and RBI (104).
• The Phoenix pitching staff has a 2.44 team ERA in 127.1 innings of action this season. Four players have seen the most time toeing the rubber for Elon in 2018 as the group has struck out 78 batters versus 41 walks.
• Kiandra Mitchum and Abby Barker are the two hurlers who have tossed more than 40 innings this season for the maroon and gold. Mitchum leads the way with 46.2 innings and has a 2.40 ERA with a 4-2 record.
• Barker leads the team with her five wins (5-2) and has a 2.60 ERA in 43.0 innings. She also has one of the Phoenix’s three saves this season along with Kenna Quinn and Hailey Jomp.
Scouting the Spartans
UNCG carries a 13-6 record into this weekend’s series after coming off its trip to the ninth annual Bulldog Classic in Athens, Ga., this past weekend. The Spartans went 2-3 at the tournament including falling twice to host No. 14 Georgia. Coming off a 29-24 record in 2017 including winning the Southern Conference regular season title, UNCG was tabbed as the favorites in the 2018 SoCon Preseason Poll.
The Spartans are hitting .261 as a team and have scored 84 runs with 13 home runs and 75 RBI. UNCG has also hustled for 22 doubles with Marisa Sholtes leading the team with six. Sholtes also has a team-high .360 average and is one of three players with double-digit RBI with 10.
In the circle, UNCG has used a three-person staff this season with Alicia Bazonski seeing the most time for the Spartans. The senior hurler leads the team with a 1.74 ERA in 56.1 innings and has fanned 37 batters. Junior Stephanie Bryden leads the team with 47 strikeouts and is second on the team in wins (five) and ERA (1.98).
Elon is back at home for a midweek game versus Syracuse next Wednesday, March 14. That game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. first pitch.