ELON, N.C. – After entering its first foray into Colonial Athletic Association play on the road the past two weekends, the Elon University softball team hosts its first CAA series versus Towson in a three-game slate this weekend, April 4-5, starting with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.
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. The entire series will be steamed online for free on the Phoenix All-Access channel with Bryan Anderson providing the call.
The Phoenix and the Tigers have squared off versus each other four times in the all-time meetings between the two programs. Elon and Towson are tied at 2-2 in a series that dates back to 2006 and split both contests last year in Elon.
Last Time Out
Elon saw its three-game win streak snapped at the hands of Virginia Tech, 6-2, on Wednesday, April 1, in a non-conference tilt in Blacksburg, Va. The Phoenix recorded only two hits in the contest and had a couple of fielding miscues while suffering its first loss of the year to an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent in three games.
Shutt Garners CAA Player of the Week Accolade
On Monday, March 30, Elon freshman Kara 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 (22-10, 4-2 CAA)
The Phoenix is sitting third overall in the CAA standings after earning a sweep at Drexel last weekend. Only James Madison and Hofstra better Elon in the league standings as both programs have unblemished marks of 6-0 in league play. Both the Dukes and the Pride face each other in a showdown this weekend at Hofstra.
Fourth-year head coach Kathy Bocock won her 91st game at Elon on Sunday at Drexel and needs nine more victories to become the third coach in program history to earn 100 wins at the school in the fastpitch era. Bocock is also two wins shy of tying her single-season high mark of 24 as the head coach of the Phoenix.
Elon is slightly outhitting its opponents this year with a .264 average compared to .259 for the opposition. Two members of the team are hitting better than .300 in Olson (.382) and Shutt (.333) with Alaina Hall (.299) and Million (.290) not too far away.
The Phoenix also has a run differential of plus-35 (148-113) over its foes this year. Elon plates most of its runs in the first and fourth frames, scoring 30 and 28 runs, respectively. The maroon and gold has a 14-2 mark when it scores first and a 15-1 record when it outhits the opponent.
In the circle, the Elon pitching staff continues to impress as the unit sits second in the CAA in total ERA at 2.41 and was 34th overall in the nation in total ERA in the most recent NCAA statistical report on Monday. Junior Kayla Caruso has rebounded nicely from an injury-laden sophomore campaign to tie the team-lead in wins (seven) while ranking fourth in the league in ERA (2.10). Senior Caitlin O’Shea still needs one more save to break Jen Lamb’s (2003-04) all-time program-record of six in a career.
Scouting Towson (13-15, 0-6 CAA)
Towson was tabbed to finish fourth in the league’s 2015 preseason poll after the Tigers advanced all the way to the CAA Championship final last season where it would fall to JMU. Currently, Towson is looking for its first league victory of the year after opening CAA play versus the Dukes and at Hofstra the previous two weekends. The Tigers swept Norfolk State in a doubleheader in their most recent contests on Wednesday, April 1.
Brook Miko is one of three players in Towson’s everyday lineup hitting .300 or better with her team-best average of .360. She also paces the squad in hits (27), triples (two), RBI (16) and stolen bases (seven). Holiday Cahill has a team-high five home runs on the season followed by Missy McCormick’s three. McCormick is also second on the team in RBI with 15. Collectively, the Tigers are hitting .251 as a team with 180 hits while scoring 103 runs with 87 RBI.
Towson’s pitchers are posting a cumulative ERA of 3.66 while opponents are batting .280 against them. Four different players have seen time toeing the rubber for the Tigers including McCormick with her 3.22 ERA in her 67.1 innings of work along with a team-best six wins (6-5) and 54 fanned batters.
Elon faces a familiar in-state foe in its next opponent as the Phoenix travels to former conference rival Appalachian State for a doubleheader next Wednesday, April 8, beginning at 4 p.m.