ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team opens the 2019 season with the first of its three home tournaments, the Elon Softball Opening Weekend Tournament, this weekend, Feb. 8-10, at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix opens the tournament with a twin bill on Friday, Feb. 8, against Appalachian State at 2:30 p.m. and versus Eastern Kentucky in the nightcap.
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, @ElonSoftball.
Around the Horn
• The Phoenix enters its 30th season of as a program at the fastpitch level (since 1990) and the 20th year at the Division I level. Since beginning fastpitch play, the Elon softball program has posted 752 victories and 469 at the Division I level.
• Elon returns 11 letterwinners from its 2017 roster while also adding eight talented newcomers into the fold. Among the notable returners includes sophomore Ally Repko, who was a Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie selection in 2018. Repko led the Phoenix with six home runs as a rookie.
• Repko and senior Erica Serafini are the returning RBI leaders for the Phoenix with 23 each. Ashtyn Foddrell had 22 RBI and was second on the squad with five homers.
• In the circle, Abby Barker and Kenna Quinn led the Phoenix in innings pitch and wins, respectively, in 2018. As a group, the Phoenix pitching staff posted a 3.79 ERA to go with 174 strikeouts and seven saves.
• The Phoenix will have a unique blend of a large senior class (seven) to go with a large freshman group (eight). In between, the maroon and gold only have two juniors and two sophomores.
• The maroon and gold will face an exciting and challenging slate in 2019. The Phoenix’s schedule will feature contests versus six teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season including a matchup at defending NCAA national champion Florida State.
• Elon head coach Kathy Bocock begins her eighth season with the Phoenix with a record of 182-183-1 during her helm at Elon. She’s currently sitting on 419 career victories heading into 2019.
• Last season, Elon went 24-28 overall and finished seventh overall in the CAA with a 7-14 mark during league play.
Versus the Field
Appalachian State (Elon leads 25-21)
Elon and Appalachian State will meet for the first time since the 2014 season on the softball diamond. Former longtime Southern Conference foes, Elon holds a 25-21 all-time lead over its intrastate rival, but the Mountaineers have won five out of the last six contests.
Eastern Kentucky (EKU leads 2-1)
EKU holds the slight advantage over the Phoenix in the all-time meetings, 2-1. The last time the two programs met came in 2010 in Elon where both teams split in a doubleheader.
Longwood (Longwood leads 12-11)
The Lancers and the Phoenix have met more frequently since 2009 during the regular season, 12 times. During that time frame, Longwood has dominated the series, winning 11 of those contests including last year’s 10-7 victory in Farmville, Va.
During Elon’s fastpitch era, the maroon and gold has posted an all-time record of 29-20 in its opening day games. Under Bocock, the Phoenix has an 8-3 ledger in games on opening day including a 5-2 victory at No. 8 Georgia in 2013.
Elon Tabbed Sixth in 2019 Preseason CAA Poll
Elon was selected to finish sixth in the 2019 Colonial Athletic Association Preseason poll as chosen by the league coaches. James Madison was selected as the unanimous favorite to win the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) softball championship by a vote of the league’s eight head coaches. The vote marks the fifth straight season in which the Dukes have sat atop the CAA’s preseason poll. James Madison collected seven first-place votes and 49 total points, and College of Charleston was picked second with 39 points and a first-place vote. UNCW was picked third with 33 points, while Hofstra and Towson were picked tied for fourth with 28 points each. Rounding out the poll was Elon with 21 points, Delaware with 14 points and Drexel with 12 points.
Scouting Appalachian State (17-35, 4-20 Sun Belt in 2018)
The Mountaineers posted a 17-35 ledger in 2018, the most wins for the team since the 2014 season. Head coach Shelly Hoerner begins her second season at the helm of the ASU softball program with senior Jenny Dodd being one of the standout players returning for the Mountaineers. Dodd was named to the 2019 Preseason All-Sun Belt team after she led the Mountaineers in six offensive categories, including batting average (.345), home runs (nine), slugging percentage (.622), walks (38) and on-base percentage (.521).
Scouting EKU (45-21, 19-3 OVC in 2018)
EKU returns seven of nine starters off last year’s team that went 45-21 and won the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title. Eastern also ranked fifth in the country last year in home runs per game and 19th in slugging percentage. The Colonels ranked first in the OVC in home runs per game, scoring, slugging percentage and W/L percentage. EKU was also chosen to repeat as league champions in the 2019 OVC Preseason Poll. Destinee Lizzmore headlines a group of returners that includes senior infielders Hannah Clark and Emily Corbitt, along with junior pitcher Mollie Paulick for head coach Jane Worthington.
Scouting Longwood (38-16, 17-4 Big South in 2018)
The Lancers were chosen as the league favorite in the 2019 Big South Preseason Poll. For Longwood, it marks the fourth consecutive year that the Lancers have been selected to win the league. Seniors Sydney Gay and Kaylynn ‘Bug’ Batten also earned Big South preseason accolades as Gay was named the league’s Co-Pitcher of the Year and Batten selected as Player of the Year.
The Phoenix will travel on the road to Charlotte next Wednesday, Feb. 13. That game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time.