ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team returns to Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend as the Phoenix hosts Hofstra at Hunt Softball Park. Both teams open the three-game set with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 31, at 1 p.m., before concluding the series on Eastern Sunday with a noon opening pitch.
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 at the program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball. All three contests will be streamed on Elon’s Phoenix All-Access channel at elonphoenix.com. For more on Elon softball, follow the team on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Around the Ballpark
Prior to the game on Easter Sunday, all children in attendance are welcome to participate in an Easter egg hunt inside the stadium an hour before start time. Be sure to arrive early for a chance to get some Eastern candy, toys and other prizes.
Inside the Series: Hofstra (Hofstra leads 7-2)
The Phoenix and the Pride have met nine times on the softball diamond since becoming league opponents in 2014. Hofstra has dominated the series recently with the Pride winning the last three contests including two last season in Hempstead, N.Y. Elon’s last victory over the Pride came at home in 2016.
Last Time Out
Elon rallied to earn its 18th win of the season on Tuesday, March 27, with a 7-2 road victory at Triad rival North Carolina A&T. The Phoenix fell behind early to the Lady Aggies, 2-0, after the first two innings, but overcame its deficit with its seven runs in the last three innings. The victory was the Phoenix’s fifth win out of past six games overall and its fourth straight over N.C. A&T. Senior Kristin Hoover led the Phoenix at the plate after going 2-for-4 with two RBI while freshman Ally Repko added three more RBI on her team-best fifth homerun of the season.
Around the Horn
• The Phoenix is hitting .269 as a team and is 15-1 this season when it outhits the opponent. Elon is also currently second in the CAA in doubles (41) and triples (five).
• Elon has five players hitting better than .300 among the Phoenix regulars with at least 25 or more at bats. Seniors Hannah Olson and Kara Shutt continues to lead the Phoenix’s charge at the plate with their .398 average, tied for fifth in the league.
• After earning the Elon career doubles crown last Sunday, March 25, versus College of Charleston, Shutt needs one hit to move into a tie for fifth on the program’s all-time career hits list. The Greensboro, N.C., native sits with 220 career base hits and is fourth in the CAA with 41 this season.
• Olson leads the Phoenix in RBI (22), slugging percentage (.541) and doubles (11). The Yorktown, Va., native is tied for second in the league in doubles while Shutt is fourth with 10.
• Elon is third in the CAA in ERA (2.88), opponents’ batting average (.250) and batters struck out (127). The Phoenix is tied for the league-lead with five saves on the season.
• Four players have seen 22 or more innings for the Phoenix inside the circle this season with senior Kiandra Mitchum leading the way with her 79.1 innings. The lefty is tied for the team-lead with six wins and has a 2.56 ERA with her team-best 71 strikeouts.
Scouting the Pride (18-8, 3-0 CAA)
Voted as the runner-up in the 2018 CAA Preseason Poll, Hofstra is holding true to form as the team heads to Elon in a tie for first with James Madison in the conference standings after sweeping UNCW in its league-opening series last weekend. The Pride, who are receiving votes in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches and the ESPN.com/USA Softball top-25 polls, are led by fourth-year head coach Larissa Anderson.
Hofstra played a couple of games this week prior to its series against the Phoenix. The Pride defeated UConn, 5-2, on Tuesday, but fell to Fordham on Wednesday, 3-2. Coming into the weekend, Hofstra is batting .244 on the season with Kristin Hallam (.315) the lone player on its squad hitting better than .300 in its lineup. Four players have double-digit RBI for the Pride led by Brielle Pietrafesa’s 23.
The Pride have been one of the more dominating teams in the league this season in the circle, ranking in the top-two in ERA (1.69), opposing batting average (.176) and strikeouts (168). The Pride duo of Sarah Cornell and Sophie Dandola has carried Hofstra in the circle this season with Cornell being the primary workhorse with 110.0 innings of action with a 1.53 ERA and a CAA-best 137 fanned batters. Both Cornell and Dandola both ranked first and second in the league in opposing batting average at .172 and .181, respectively.
The Phoenix heads on the road to Farmville, Va., for a midweek doubleheader at Longwood next Wednesday, April 4. The twin bill is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time.