Elon Softball Set For SoCon Tournament; Face Samford in Opening Game

ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team begins postseason play on Wednesday, May 8, at the 2013 Southern Conference Softball Championships in Greensboro, N.C. The eighth-seeded Phoenix (21-30, 8-14 SoCon) will face ninth-seeded Samford (14-33, 6-15 SoCon) in the opening single-elimination game at 9 a.m. at the UNCG Softball Stadium.

The winner will enter double-elimination play and face No. 1 seed Appalachian State at 5 p.m. later that day.

Live Coverage
Fans not able to make it to the tournament can follow the games through live stats by going the league’s website at www.soconsports.com or by going to the softball schedule page at www.elonphoenix.com. The SoCon will also provide a live video stream of the games throughout the tournament. Twitter updates for the Phoenix will be provided @ElonScores.

Series History
This will be the 15th meeting between the Phoenix and the Bulldogs and the first in the SoCon Tournament. Samford took two out of three from Elon earlier this season in Birmingham, Ala., and have a 9-5 advantage in the all-time series.

Last Time Out
The Phoenix earned its first SoCon series sweep of the regular-season last weekend, defeating Chattanooga at home on May 4-5. Elon won game one on Saturday, 6-4, snapping a nine-game losing streak to the Lady Mocs. The maroon and gold won the next two contests in walk off fashion as Amanda Allen’s solo home run gave the Phoenix a 2-1 win in game two. In the series finale, Carleigh Nester hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth to drive in the winning run as the Phoenix prevailed 4-3.

Scouting the Phoenix
Elon is entering the tournament on a five-game win streak, tying its longest of the year. The Phoenix is hitting .262 as a team and leads the conference in home runs (38) and stolen bases (69).

Senior Tomeka Watson leads the team in several categories, including batting average (.414), slugging percentage (.763), on-base percentage (.506), runs scored (42), hits (63), home runs (14) and stolen bases (25).

Nester has been equally impressive at the plate this season. The Kernersville, N.C., native was named the league’s Player of the Week for the second straight week on Monday, May 6, and is hitting .373 on the season and .414 during the Phoenix’s five-game win streak.

In the circle, Elon has been boosted by the recent performances of Chelsea White, Kayla Caruso and Kari Pervell. White was selected as the SoCon’s Pitcher of the Week on Monday, May 6, after going 3-0 with a 1.87 ERA in her 15.0 innings last week. The Salisbury, N.C., native struck out a career-high eight batters against North Carolina A&T last Wednesday, May 1, in the Phoenix’s 1-0 win versus the Aggies.

Caruso went 2-0 last week and heads the staff with 10 wins. Pervell made her first start of the season on Sunday, May 5, versus the Lady Mocs, pitching 7.0 innings and allowed only two earned runs.

Scouting Samford
The Bulldogs enter Wednesday’s contest with an overall record of 14-33 and 6-15 in SoCon play in 2013. Samford dropped two out of three to Furman this past weekend at home, losing the last two contests.

Offensively, Samford is batting .217 as a team with no players currently hitting above .270. Alex Adams leads the team with her .267 batting average, 36 hits and 18 RBI. Megan Dowdy is also tied with Adams for the team-lead in hits and is second with a .261 batting average. Nine players have hit a least one homer for the Bulldogs this season with Callie Brister pacing the team with five.

In the circle, the Bulldogs have a team ERA of 3.36 with four pitchers seeing action this season. Mollie Hanson has a staff-best ERA of 1.76, second-best in the SoCon, and seven wins on the year. Shelby Scott, who pitched a no-hitter versus the Phoenix on April 20, has appeared in a team-high 93.1 innings.

All-Conference Performers
On Monday, May 6, Nester and Watson were named to the 2013 SoCon All-Conference First Team. It was the first time since 2010 that Elon has had multiple players selected to All-SoCon first team when Emerald Graham and Kaitlyn Piazzolla were recognized. That was also the last time that Elon had member of the program on the league’s first team.

On Deck
If Elon wins its matchup against the Bulldogs, the Phoenix will enter double-elimination play and will face No. 1 seed Appalachian State at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The loser of that game will move on to play at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 9, while the winner plays later that afternoon at 4:30 p.m.