ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team will close out its regular-season slate this weekend with a three-game Southern Conference series against Chattanooga. The Phoenix (18-30, 5-14 SoCon) and the Mocs (26-23, 10-8 SoCon) will play in a doubleheader on Saturday, May 4, beginning at 1 p.m. before concluding the series on Sunday, May 5, at 1 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.
With Sunday’s contest being the final home game of the regular-season, the Phoenix will honor its four seniors, Ali Ford, Camille Hill, Kari Pervell and Tomeka Watson prior to the game.
Fans can follow the series via live stats by going to the Elon softball schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Free live steaming of the games can also be viewed the Phoenix’s Ustream.tv channel while live audio courtesy of WSOE will be available for Sunday’s game. Twitter updates will also be provided @ElonScores.
Elon and Chattanooga have faced each other 30 times in the all-time meeting between the two schools. In a series that dates back to 2004, the Mocs hold a 23-7 advantage over the Phoenix and have won nine straight over the maroon and gold. Last season, Elon was swept in Chattanooga, Tenn., in the three-game series and fell to the Mocs in the SoCon Tournament, 8-1, in Boone, N.C.
Elon last defeated the Mocs in 2010 in a 7-6 win. Then freshmen Pervell and Watson contributed in the win with Watson leading the team at plate going 3-for-4 while Pervell picked up the win after pitching 1.0 inning in relief.
Last Time Out
Elon defeated North Carolina A&T in a doubleheader on Wednesday, May 1, taking both contests at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix grinded out a 1-0 win in game one before completing the sweep of the Aggies with a come-from-behind 4-2 win in the finale.
Chelsea White fanned a career-high eight batters in the first game for the Phoenix to earn her second shutout win of the season. Grace Eng provided the lone score in that contest with a solo home run in the bottom of the second, her fifth of the year.
After trailing 2-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, the Phoenix were able to get on the scoreboard off the bats of Ford and Caitlin O’Shea to tie the game at 2-2. Reigning SoCon Player of the Week Carleigh Nester plated the go-ahead run with a solo lead off home run in the bottom of the sixth. Game two starter Kayla Caruso drove in another run on her first career hit to set the final score.
Scouting the Phoenix
Nester hit the double-digit home run plateau with her 10th of the year on Wednesday, a new single-season high for the junior outfielder. It is also the first time in school-history that the Phoenix has had two players with double-digit homers in a single season with Nester joining Watson, who has a team and league-leading 14 on the year.
During the month of April, Nester hit .426 (20-of-47) with 13 runs scored, seven home runs, 18 RBI and seven doubles. She was also perfect in the field (1.000 fielding percentage) and on the base paths (6-of-6 stolen bases). On April 7, at Appalachian State, the Kernersville, N.C., native tied a NCAA Division I softball record with three doubles in a single game.
In the circle, White has posted an ERA of 1.62 in her last six starts, including a pair of shutouts. The Salisbury, N.C., native has allowed five total extra base hits while striking out 22 in those 34.2 innings pitched for Elon. Caruso heads the staff in wins (nine), ERA (3.65) and innings pitched (126.2).
The Mocs are 26-23 on the year and 10-8 during SoCon play. Chattanooga is coming off a 3-0 loss at UAB on Tuesday, April 30, in its most recent contest.
Offensively, the Mocs are hitting .288 on the year, second in the SoCon. Four players are hitting .300 or better in head coach Frank Reed’s lineup with Kasey Tydingco leading the way with her .381 average. Tydingco is also pacing the team in home runs (five) and RBI (31).
Expected to toe the rubber for the Mocs this weekend are the trio of Taylor Deason, Rachel Albritton and Kaisey Carson. Deason has a staff-best 16 wins on the year while Albritton has posted a team-low ERA of 2.62 in 2013.
On Sunday prior to the 1 p.m. series finale, the Elon senior quartet of Ford, Hill, Pervell and Watson will be recognized one final time at home. The group has helped lead Elon to some of its most successful seasons at the Division I level, including a program-record 38 wins in 2010, the 2010 Southern Conference Tournament title and the team’s first NCAA Regional appearance. They will leave Elon after contributing over 110 wins to the Elon softball program.
The Phoenix will begin postseason play as the Phoenix travel to Greensboro, N.C., for the 2013 SoCon Softball Championships beginning on Wednesday, May 8.