ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team opens Southern Conference play this weekend, hosting Georgia Southern at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix (9-6) and the Eagles (11-10) will begin their three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 9, at 1 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday, March 10, at 1 p.m.
Fans can follow the action of the series via live stats by going to the Elon softball schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Twitter updates will also be provided at @ElonScores.
Elon and Georgia Southern have met 30 times entering this weekend’s matchup in a series that dates back to 1998. The Eagles hold a 20-10 all-time advantage in the meetings between the two schools, but lost two out of three in their last visit to Elon in 2011.
The Phoenix was swept in last year’s meeting in Statesboro, Ga., including a 6-5 setback in extra innings in the opening game.
Last Time Out
Elon split a doubleheader at Charlotte on Wednesday, March 6, to improve to 9-6 on the season. The Phoenix won game one, 5-2, to earn head coach Kathy Bocock her 269th career victory and its first win against the 49ers since 2010. The maroon and gold would fall in game two, 8-0.
Kayla Caruso pitched her fifth consecutive complete game to earn the game one victory against the 49ers. The freshman allowed no earned runs with three strikeouts and improved to 4-1 in her last five outings with an ERA of 1.40.
Scouting the Phoenix
Elon has won eight of its last 10 contests after starting the season 1-4. Heading into this weekend’s series, the Phoenix is leading the SoCon in batting average (.322), slugging percentage (.534), on-base percentage (.399), runs scored (82), home runs (21) and stolen bases (18).
Tomeka Watson leads the league in eight offensive categories, including batting average (.490), RBI (19) and home runs (nine). She is also a perfect 8-for-8 in stolen bases and has 83 in her career. The Jackson, Ga., native was recently named the SoCon’s Player of the Month for her efforts in the month of February.
Elon is the only school in the league to have three batters rank among the top four in both RBI and home runs in Watson, Johanna Spencer and Grace Eng. Spencer and Eng are tied for second on the team with four home runs.
In the circle, Caruso (4-3) is one of five members of the staff to have seen time for the Phoenix in 2013. Caruso has a team-best 25 strikeouts with a 3.02 ERA in 44.0 innings this season. As a unit, the Phoenix staff has posted a 4.04 ERA.
Scouting Georgia Southern
Georgia Southern is 11-10 on the year after being tabbed in the preseason as the league favorite for 2013. The Eagles swept Jacksonville in their midweek twinbill on Wednesday, March 6, 9-5 and 5-3, in Statesboro.
At the plate, Kourtny Thomas leads the team in home runs with six and had 12 RBI, tying Taylor Douberly for the team lead. Overall, the Eagles are batting .222 as a team, last in the SoCon despite Shelby Morrill’s team-best .373 average.
The Eagles have been one of the best teams in the conference in the circle this season with a staff ERA of 2.27, second-best in the SoCon. Junior hurler Sarah Purvis, tabbed as the league’s Preseason Pitcher of the Year, is 6-6 with a 1.67 ERA in her 12 overall appearances.
Elon travels to the College of Charleston for a three-game matchup next weekend, March 16-17. The Phoenix will play the Cougars in a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. The series finale is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 17.