ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team will look to earn its second win on the road against ranked competition this season as the Phoenix (12-24) travels to Chapel Hill, N.C., to take on in-state rival No. 25 North Carolina (31-13) on Wednesday, April 10. The single-game matchup is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at the Anderson Softball Stadium.
Fans can follow the action of the game via live stats by going to the Elon softball schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Twitter updates will also be provided at @ElonScores. GoHeels.com will also stream the game live via a paid subscription.
Wednesday’s contest will be the 26th meeting between the two schools in a series that dates back to 1998 in the fast-pitch era. The Tar Heels own a 22-2-1 record all-time versus the Phoenix and have won the past two contests. Elon’s last victory over UNC came in 2010 as the Phoenix took a 1-0 victory against the then 16th-ranked Tar Heels on a Tomeka Watson solo home run.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix fell in a three-game series last weekend, April 6-7, at Appalachian State. Despite the setback, junior outfielder Carleigh Nester had an outstanding weekend for the maroon and gold at the plate. The Kernersville, N.C., native batted .500 (6-for-12) in the series with three home runs, four runs scored and five RBI. In the series finale, Nester hit 4-for-4 with a home run and had a career-high three doubles.
Scouting the Phoenix
Over the past week, Nester is hitting .474 (9-for-19) while scoring six runs for the Phoenix. She also continues her stellar play in center field contributing with 10 putouts while holding her perfect 1.000 percent fielding percentage on the year.
With her three doubles on Sunday, April 7, Nester became the fifth player in school history to reach 40 in a career. She is eight shy of tying Dani Concepcion (2002-05) for the most two-baggers in program history.
Watson also looks to continue to rewrite the program record books. The Jackson, Ga., native stole her 95th career base over the weekend and has a chance to become the second player at Elon to swipe 100 bases. Watson also leads the Southern Conference with a .444 average on the year as the senior outfielder threatens Kelly Lloyd’s single-season program mark of .445 in 1997.
UNC is the third ranked opponent that the Phoenix will face this season and the second on the road. The Phoenix earned a 5-2 win at then eighth-ranked Georgia in its opening-weekend slate of games on Feb. 8. Elon also hosted then 23rd-ranked Virginia Tech on Feb. 28 in a narrow 2-1 loss to the Hokies.
Scouting No. 25 North Carolina
The Tar Heels are 31-13 on the year and are coached by Donna J. Papa, who is in her 28th year at the helm of the North Carolina program. UNC has won seven straight heading into Wednesday’s matchup, including a sweep against ACC foe Virginia over the weekend.
Among its regulars, UNC has nine players batting .300 or better on the season for a team average of .306. Tisha Mahon and Constance Orr are tied for the team-lead with a .350 average with Orr also leading way with 10 home runs and 37 RBI.
In the circle, the Tar Heels have relied on the right arm of their workhorse Lori Spingola all season. The junior has a 21-10 record on the year with a 2.30 ERA and 202 strikeouts in her 185.2 innings of work.
Elon returns to Hunt Softball Park and SoCon play this weekend to host Western Carolina in a three-game series beginning on Saturday, April 13, with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday, April 14, at 1 p.m.