ELON, N.C. – After a pair of midweek nonconference games, the Elon University softball team returns to Southern Conference play hosting Furman in a three-game series this weekend at Hunt Softball Park beginning on Saturday, March 29, with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. The series will conclude on Sunday, March 30, starting at 1 p.m.
Fans can follow this weekend’s series through live stats by going to the team’s schedule page at elonphoenx.com. Updates will also be provided on Twitter at the handles @ElonScores or the team’s account, @ElonUSoftball.
Prior to this weekend, the Phoenix and the Paladins have met 41 times in a series that began in 2001. Furman holds a 23-18 advantage over Elon and won the most recent contest last year, 3-2, in Greenville, S.C., as the series was reduced to a single game due to heavy rainfall. The Phoenix however swept the Paladins the last time the programs met in Elon in 2012.
Day in the Park
Saturday is Day in the Park day where multiple events and activities will be scheduled at Hunt Softball Park for children that will attend the game. Raffle games will also be played with prizes being drawn during the Phoenix’s contest.
Scouting the Phoenix (16-14-1, 1-5 SoCon)
Elon has received great production from a number of its first-year players this season. Outfielder Alaina Hall is one of three rookies that play regularly in the Phoenix’s lineup and currently leads the team in hits (37), average (.374), runs scored (25) and stolen bases (12). Fellow frosh Emily Roper is second on the team in RBI with 21 while having a team-high seven doubles and 14 walks.
In the recent SoCon statistics report, Elon ranks among the top three teams in the league in average (.276), fielding (.969), slugging percentage (.454), runs scored (141), hits (217), RBI (133), home runs (35) and stolen bases.
In the circle, Elon has used its great depth with its bevy of pitchers for its success this season. Junior Caitlin O’Shea has posted a team-low ERA of 2.64 in her 66.1 innings of action this season followed by last year’s innings and wins leader, sophomore Kayla Caruso, who has a 3.18 ERA. Junior Chelsea White is the team’s leader in wins (seven), innings (69.1) and strikeouts (45) while another freshman, Alli Burdette, is second to White in strikeouts with 28 fanned batters.
Scouting Furman (14-16, 2-3 SoCon)
Led by second-year head coach Kyle Jamieson, the Paladins were chosen to finish fifth by the league’s coaches in the 2014 SoCon Preseason poll after finishing last season at 27-27. Furman was swept earlier this week by South Carolina in a doubleheader at Columbia, S.C., on Tuesday, March 25.
Furman has an overall team average of .212 this season and is led at the plate by Elise Smith. Smith carries a team-high .286 clip going into the weekend and is also the top run producer with 12 RBI while tied for the team-lead in home runs with three.
The Paladins carry an impressive 3.04 staff ERA as leading pitchers Lauren Collier (8-8, 2.87 ERA, 97.2 IP) and Shelby Parker (4-7, 3.53 ERA, 69.1 IP) have seen the most action toeing the rubber.
Elon jumps back into nonconference play next Tuesday, April 1, as the Phoenix hosts North Carolina A&T at 5:30 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.