ELON, N.C. – Coming off its first-ever Colonial Athletic Association series win, the Elon University softball team takes a step outside of league play as the Phoenix travels to Virginia Tech for a single-game contest on Wednesday, April 1. Opening pitch is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start at the Tech Softball Park.
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 video and/or audio will also be provided through the Hokies’ athletic website, hokiesports.com.
Wednesday’s game marks only the fifth all-time meeting between the two schools on the softball diamond, but the first in Blacksburg, Va. Virginia Tech has won the previous four games with both teams last facing each other in 2013 as the Phoenix dropped a hard-fought 2-1 decision to the then 23rd-ranked Hokies.
Last Time Out
Elon is coming off its first-ever CAA series win as the Phoenix swept Drexel last weekend, March 28-29, in Philadelphia. The maroon and gold won the series finale, 7-3, in extra innings on Sunday, March 29, thanks to a four-run top of the ninth inning. Senior Aly Quintana led the Phoenix at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance and an RBI while Madison Kadlic (2-for-3), Alaina Hall (2-for-4, RBI), Kara Shutt (2-for-5, two RBI) and Emily Roper (2-for-5, homerun, two RBI) also had multi hits on the afternoon for the Phoenix.
Shutt Garners CAA Player of the Week Accolade
On Monday, March 30, Shutt was tabbed the CAA Player of the Week. It was the first career CAA weekly accolade for Shutt after the Greensboro, N.C., native helped the maroon and gold to a 4-1 record last week. She batted .500 (7-for-14) in those contests while scoring a team-high eight runs with seven RBI, a double and a home run. She also drew a team-best seven walks and was 2-for-2 in stolen bases. She becomes the fourth Phoenix player overall to earn CAA weekly honors this year along with Carey Million, Hannah Olson and Kiandra Mitchum.
Scouting the Phoenix (22-9, 4-2 CAA)
Elon is currently third in the league standings with its 4-2 mark behind both James Madison and Hofstra, who both have a flawless 6-0 record in CAA play. The Phoenix is also the third-highest ranked team in the league in terms of RPI as Elon is 73rd in the country overall while Hofstra (25th) and JMU (28th) are in the top-30.
The Phoenix is only two wins from matching last year’s total which is also the single-season high mark for head coach Kathy Bocock during her tenure as the Phoenix head coach. Bocock earned her 91st career victory at Elon on Sunday and is nine wins shy of becoming the third coach in program history at in the fastpitch era with 100 or more career victories.
Phoenix batters have been hit-by-pitches 37 times this season, its highest total at the Division I level. Two players, Roper (12) and Quintana (11), have combined for 23 hit-by-pitches and are first and second overall in the CAA, respectively.
As a pitching staff, Elon’s 2.41 ERA is 34th in the nation overall and third in the CAA. The team’s pitcher-by-committee approach has shown the overall depth of the unit with all six hurlers having ERA of less than 3.11. Senior Caitlin O’Shea is 15th in the nation in saves (three) and needs just one more to break Jen Lamb’s (2003-04) program career record of six.
Scouting Virginia Tech (24-9, 3-8 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Tabbed to finished fourth in the 2015 ACC Preseason poll, Virginia Tech is 24-9 on the year, but was swept last weekend at Notre Dame to fall to 3-8 in league play. Prior to its series versus the Irish, the Hokies were ranked No. 25 in the country in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 Poll.
At the plate, Virginia Tech is hitting .283 as a team with four of its regulars hitting north of .300. Kylie McGoldrick paces the squad offensively with a .371 average and her 33 RBI while Kelsey Mericka has a team-best 12 home runs on the year.
The Hokies’ pitching staff has a cumulative ERA of 2.59 with three players taking turns toeing the rubber. Maggie Tyler has seen the most time in the circle with an 11-6 record and an ERA of 3.05 in her 98.1 innings. She also has a save and 140 strikeouts on the year.
Elon hosts its first-ever CAA series at home as the Phoenix welcomes Towson to Hunt Softball Park the weekend of April 4-5. Both teams begin its series with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 4, at 1 p.m.