ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team is set to host its second tournament of the season, the Elon February Classic, as the Phoenix welcomes the field of Northern Kentucky, Virginia, Hampton and North Carolina Central to Hunt Softball Park this weekend, Feb. 15-17.
Elon’s first game of the tournament is scheduled on Friday, Feb. 15, versus Northern Kentucky at 2:30 p.m. The full schedule of the tournament this weekend can be found on the Phoenix’s schedule page at elonphoenix.com.
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, @ElonSoftball.
Around the Horn
• The Phoenix went a perfect 4-0 in its first tournament of the season, the Elon Opening Weekend tournament, on Feb. 8-10. Elon defeated the field of Appalachian State (twice), Eastern Kentucky and Longwood.
• Elon belted six home runs in the opening weekend tournament, getting off to a good start with the long ball.
• Freshman Allie Eith was named the Colonial Athletic Association’s Rookie of the Week on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The Alpharetta, Ga., native batted .333 with a home run, two RBI and scored a team-best four runs last weekend.
• As a team, Elon is batting .301 on the year and has four players in its regular lineup (five or more at bats) hitting north of .300. Morgan Reich leads the team with her .417 average.
• In the circle, the Phoenix has posted a 2.41 ERA as a team with three players seeing time toeing the rubber so far in 2019. Kenna Quinn and Abby Barker have carried most of the load this season, combining for 29.0 or the 32.0 innings pitched so far this season for Elon.
• The Phoenix is in 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.
• 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 won her 185th game versus Longwood last Saturday, Feb. 9.
Versus the Field
Northern Kentucky (First-ever meeting)
The Phoenix and the Norse will meet for the first time on the softball diamond this Friday. Elon has an all-time record of 6-8 versus the current members of the Horizon League.
Virginia (UVA leads 10-3)
The Phoenix and the Cavaliers will meet for the first time since 2017, where both teams split a doubleheader at Hunt Softball Park. Elon has won four out of the last five contests against Virginia since 2010.
Hampton (Elon leads 6-0)
Elon and Hampton will compete for the seventh time on Saturday in a series that dates back to 1998. The Phoenix has won every meeting in the series including a doubleheader sweep of the Lady Pirates in 2017.
North Carolina Central (Elon leads 12-0)
The Eagles have been a more frequent opponent for the Phoenix in recent seasons, as both teams have met nearly on an annual basis since 2011. Elon swept the Eagles in a doubleheader last season, with both games being 5-4 victories for the maroon and gold.
Last Time Out
Elon suffered its first defeat of the season with a 7-2 setback at Charlotte on Wednesday, Feb. 13. The Phoenix took a 2-1 lead over the 49ers after the top of the fourth, but Charlotte responded with six unanswered runs over the next three innings to earn its third straight victory over the maroon and gold. Reich and Ashtyn Foddrell led Elon with two hits each with Reich also adding an RBI and a double to her stat line.
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 Northern Kentucky (24-22, 11-11 Horizon League in 2018)
Northern Kentucky will make its 2019 debut this weekend after coming off a 24-22 campaign last season, its most successful season in the Division I era. The Norse was tabbed to finish fifth in the 2019 Horizon League Preseason Poll after going 11-11 in league play in 2018. Among some of the notable returners for NKU includes sophomore Madi Mulder, who batted .304 last season and is the leading retuning RBI producer with 27. Northern Kentucky also returns two of its three pitchers from the circle last season in Taylor Ginter and Faith Howard.
Scouting Virginia (0-5)
The Cavaliers are 0-5 to start off the season after coming off competing at the FAU First Pitch Classic last weekend at Boca Raton, Fla., where Virginia dropped decisions to Indiana, Bethune Cookman, Georgia, Florida Atlantic and Saint John’s. UVA went 12-41 in 2018 and 3-21 overall in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in Joanna Hardin’s first season at the helm of the program. So far in 2019, Virginia is hitting .282 overall as a team with five batters hitting .300 or better. Senior Erika Osherow has performed well at the plate and in the circle for the Cavaliers, batting .375 with a double, triple and home run. She also added four RBI to tie for the team lead. The Darien, Conn., native also has tossed 16.0 innings and posted a 1.75 ERA.
Hampton (24-28, 11-7 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in 2018)
Mother Nature washed out the Lady Pirates’ season-opener at Delaware last weekend, so Hampton will also make its 2019 debut this weekend. Coming off a 24-28 campaign in 2018 and a 11-7 ledger in the MEAC, the Lady Pirates returns returns All-MEAC First Team honoree DaSha Hill, who finished last season ranked third nationally in stolen bases with 45. She also led the team with a .396 batting average and runs scored, with 42. Hampton also returns its top two pitchers, both of whom claimed 12 wins a season ago. Allyson Babinsack posted a 2.51 ERA and fanned 81 batters in 172.2 innings pitched, while Allie Hotetz had an ERA of 4.22 while striking out 77 batters in 166 innings pitched.
North Carolina Central (1-3)
The Eagles opened this season at the Chef Celeste Softball Challenge Tournament hosted by Southern last weekend. NCCU lone win of the weekend came at the hands of host Southern, with the Eagles winning by a score of 7-3. Last season, North Carolina Central went 20-26 overall – its first-ever 20-win season of the program’s modern era. The breakout season also included NCCU’s first winning record in Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) play at 8-7 and its best finish in the MEAC Tournament as the Lady Eagles took third place in the eight-team postseason event. At the plate, Madison Mifsud and Jessica Powell are both batting .400, with Mifsud driving in three of the Eagles’ eight runs this year. Kiara Hurley has taken on most of the team’s workload in the circle and has struck out 11 batters in 18.0 innings pitched to go with a 5.44 ERA.
Elon hosts NC State next Wednesday, Feb. 20, at Hunt Softball Park. That game is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start time.