ELON, N.C. – After opening Southern Conference play last weekend, the Elon University softball team returns home for nonconference matchup against Towson on Thursday, March 20. The first pitch for the single-game tilt is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.
The matchup was originally scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, at 6 p.m., but due to the recent winter weather in the surrounding area, the game was pushed to Thursday evening.
Fans can follow the Phoenix via live stats by going to the Elon softball schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Twitter updates will also be provided the handle @ElonScores or @ElonUSoftball.
Thursday’s matchup will be the fourth all-time meeting between the two programs and second of this season. Elon holds a 2-1 advantage over the Tigers in a series that dates back to 2006.
Elon defeated Towson, 3-2, on March 9, thanks to a walk-off single by freshman Carey Million in the eighth inning that scored pinch runner Emilie Rowand. Junior Caitlin O’Shea earned the win for the Phoenix in the contest after pitching four scoreless innings and allowed only one hit in relief.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix opened SoCon play this past weekend, March 14-15, at Western Carolina, but lost a tough fought series against the Catamounts. WCU won the first game, 4-3, on Friday, March 14, in a 10-inning affair, before the maroon and gold battled back the following day with a 2-1 victory. The Phoenix would fall in the rubber match, 3-0.
Scouting the Phoenix (16-8-1)
Despite the setback at Western Carolina, Elon returns to the home confines of Hunt Softball Park where the Phoenix has posted a record of 10-3 this season. As a team, Elon is hitting .319 at home compared to .211 for its opponents while scoring 30 more runs (68-38).
Rookie Alaina Hall continues to impress this season while providing a spark at the plate. The Suwanee, Ga., native batted .438 in the Phoenix’s four games last week and is second on the team with a .383 average overall. She also swiped three bags during the week to increase her team-lead to 11.
Senior Carleigh Nester hit two home runs in the series versus the Catamounts and has a chance to become only the second player in program history with 30 or more career homers behind All-American Tomeka Watson’s (2010-13) 34. Nester currently sits on 29 for her career after belting her team-best seventh and eighth home runs of the year against the Catamounts.
The Elon pitching staff performed well against the Catamounts, allowing only a 1.57 ERA in the three-game series. Sophomore Kayla Caruso earned the Phoenix’s lone win against WCU with a complete game performance in which she allowed only one run. O’Shea posted a 1.02 ERA in 13.2 innings of work over the weekend against the Catamounts.
Scouting Towson (12-8)
The Tigers have won three out of four going into its doubleheader at North Carolina A&T this Wednesday, March 19, after last facing the Phoenix on March 9. Lisa Costello’s program is batting .312 on the year and has four players batting .300 or better in their lineup including three players hitting over .400.
Maureen Hepner paces the Tigers offensively with a .438 average and is second on the squad with five home runs and 26 RBI. Missy McCormick is the main run producer for Towson with team-bests in home runs (six) and RBI (30).
In the circle, Towson has a 3.92 ERA as a team in 137.1 innings of work along with 74 strikeouts. Ambar Hickman has been the staff ace this season, tying the team-lead in wins with five while posting a team-low ERA of 3.00 in 56.0 innings of action. McCormick also contributes in the circle with an ERA of 3.53 and is tied with Hickman for the team-lead in wins with five.
Elon travels to Georgia Southern on March 22-23 for its second SoCon series of the year. The Phoenix and the Eagles will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday, March 22, beginning at 1 p.m., before concluding the series on Sunday, March 23.