ELON, N.C. – Riding a five-game win streak and victors of 14 of its past 16 contests, the Elon University softball team enters its first foray into Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend as the Phoenix travels to College of Charleston for a three-game series beginning on Saturday, March 21 in a doubleheader at 1 p.m. The series concludes on Sunday, March 22, at 1 p.m.
Fans can follow the Phoenix this weekend 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. Saturday’s doubleheader will be streamed through CofC’s athletic website, cofcsports.com.
Although this weekend is the first-ever CAA series between the two schools, the Phoenix and the Cougars have a long-standing history as conference foes when both were members of the Southern Conference from 2004-2013. In a series that dates back to 1999, CofC leads Elon overall in their matchup, 24-15, and has won five out of the past six games versus the maroon and gold. In its most recent matchup however in 2013, the Phoenix earned a 5-4 victory at CofC in the final meeting as SoCon opponents. Then-sophomore Aly Quintana led the Phoenix at the plate with two RBI while Kayla Caruso allowed only one earned run in six innings as a freshman.
Last Time Out
The Phoenix picked up its fifth straight win on Wednesday, March 18, as Elon defeated East Carolina 10-4. The maroon and gold tallied 11 hits against the Pirates and had its first multi-homer contest of the year. With the game tied at 4-4, Carey Million provided the go-ahead run on her first homer of the year in the bottom of the sixth. Emily Roper also added a home run in the frame while Kara Shutt hit her first career round-tripper in the bottom of the first.
Scouting the Phoenix (17-6)
Offensively, Elon is hitting .269 on the season, but has picked it up at the plate the past five games batting .356. The Phoenix has also racked up double-digit hits the past two games after only having two contests with 10 or more hits in the first 21 games.
Since its contest at UNCG, the Phoenix has picked up its power production with six home runs. In the maroon and gold’s 19 games prior to facing the Spartans, Elon had only three home runs on the year.
During the five-game win streak, Elon has three players hitting better than .500 with Million (.571), Alaina Hall (.529) and Hannah Olson (.529) leading the way. Olson is batting a team-best .424 on the year with a team-high 28 hits. Hall (.333) and Shutt (.325) are also hitting better than .300.
In the circle, the Phoenix is tied for second in the CAA in total ERA with 2.35 and leads the league saves with seven. Senior Caitlin O’Shea picked up the win in the Phoenix’s victory over ECU and also had a save versus Rider on March 17. She needs one more save to become the program’s all-time career leader in the category, breaking Jen Lamb’s (2003-04) 11-year record of six.
Scouting College of Charleston (15-13)
The Cougars sit at 15-13 on the year after winning its final three games during its home tournament, the CofC Invitational, this past weekend. Coming off a 40-16 record last year, CofC was tabbed to finish second in the 2015 CAA Preseason poll.
Linda Kalafatis is in her second year at the helm of the Cougars’ softball program. Her unit is batting .290 this season with five players hitting better than .300. Taylor Dupree is third in the CAA in batting average with a .452 clip while Sara Garcia is tied for the conference lead with five home runs.
In the circle, the Cougars have relied on the duo of Hope Klicker and Samantha Martin for the majority of the season. KIicker leads the team in wins (seven), ERA (3.00) and innings (79.1) while Martin is not far behind with a 6-3 record and an ERA of 3.06 in her 71.0 innings.
Elon returns home next Tuesday, March 24, to host Radford in a single-game contest at 2 p.m. The Phoenix swept the Highlanders in a pair of games earlier in the year to open the season on Feb. 7-8.