ELON, N.C. – Coming off its first Southern Conference series win of the season this past weekend, the Elon University softball team will look to continue its momentum as the Phoenix closes out the 2014 regular-season at local rival UNCG on May 3-4. The series begins on Saturday with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. at UNCG Softball Stadium.
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. Live streaming of the series will be available through UNCG’s athletic website at uncgspartans.com.
In a series dating back to 1990 in the fastpitch era, Elon and UNCG have played each other 61 times on the softball diamond. Both programs are deadlocked in the all-time series with a record of 30-30-1. The Spartans won two out of three in Elon last season, but the Phoenix won the series the last time the two teams met in Greensboro in 2012.
Last Time Out
Elon defeated Samford for its first SoCon series win of the year this past weekend, April 26-27, winning two out of three over the Bulldogs. The Phoenix came out on top in the rubber match on Sunday, 3-2, in nine innings on a walk off fielder’s choice by freshman Alaina Hall. Senior Carleigh Nester became the program’s all-time home run leader in the contest, moving past All-American Tomeka Watson (2010-13) with her 35th career home run. Sunday’s game was also the final home contest for the Phoenix six-person senior class of Nester, Lauren Oldham, Johanna Spencer, Ali Ford, Amanda Allen and Karen Berna.
Scouting the Phoenix (24-24-1, 6-12 SoCon)
The Phoenix will look to improve its position in the SoCon standings for the upcoming league championships beginning on May 7. Elon is currently seventh in the standings, a game behind UNCG and could potentially move up to fourth at the conclusion of the weekend.
Nester’s record home run was also the 14th of the season for the Kernersville native, tying Watson’s single-season program record (2013). During SoCon play, Nester is batting .347 with seven home runs, 19 RBI with a slugging percentage of .878. She also has scored 12 runs while earning 12 walks against league competition.
Hall still paces the team in average (.345), hits (51) and stolen bases (17) and is one of three players for the Phoenix hitting above .300. The maroon and gold as a team is hitting .249, but has a league-best 50 homers on the year.
On Monday, junior hurler Caitlin O’Shea was tabbed the SoCon’s Pitcher of the Week after recording two wins and a save while posting a 0.54 ERA in her 13.0 innings of action last week. For the year, O’Shea’s 2.82 ERA is currently sixth in the conference. Freshman Alli Burdette also had a strong performance last week for the Phoenix with a 2.69 ERA in her 13.0 innings of work.
Scouting UNCG (24-24, 7-11 SoCon)
The Spartans, led by second-year head coach Janelle Breneman, were tabbed to finish second in the 2014 SoCon Preseason poll by the league coaches after coming off a 38-19 record in 2013. UNCG swept Appalachian State in Boone this past weekend and has won seven of its last eight.
The Spartans are the only team in the conference hitting over .300 as a team with their .310 average. UNCG also leads the league in hits, slugging percentage, runs scored, on-base percentage, doubles and RBI. The duo of Katelyn Bedwell and Lindsay Thomas are the top two hitters in the conference with their .429 and .370 averages, respectively. Thomas was recently named the conference’s Player of the Week on Monday.
In the circle, UNCG has a 4.01 ERA as a staff. Raeanne Hanks has seen majority of the time toeing the rubber for the Spartans with a team-high 164.0 innings pitched and a record of 12-15 with a 3.46 ERA. Hanks also has 135 of the team’s 193 strikeouts on the year.
Elon will play in the 2014 Southern Conference Championships next Wednesday, May 7, in Greensboro. The time of the Phoenix’s opening game will be determined after seedings are set after the conclusion of the season on Sunday.