ELON, N.C. – Going into the weekend with Colonial Athletic Association postseason implications on the line, the Elon University softball team hosts UNCW in its final regular-season series beginning with a doubleheader on Friday, May 1, at 5 p.m.
The series concludes on Saturday, May 2, in a single-game contest with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. The Phoenix will also honor its six-person senior class of Eve Clausen, Grace Eng, Sarah Little, Caitlin O’Shea, Aly Quintana and Chelsea White prior to the game.
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 Matt Krause providing the call.
Going into the weekend, Elon and UNCW have met 11 times on the softball diamond at the fastpitch level with the Phoenix having a slight 6-5 advantage all-time over the Seahawks. The two programs last faced each other to open the 2014 season at the Charleston Southern Tournament where Elon prevailed with an 8-3 victory.
What’s at Stake: CAA Postseason Berth
The Phoenix is one of six teams battling for the final two spots of the CAA Championship Tournament at Harrisonburg, Va., beginning next Wednesday, May 6, with No. 19/20 James Madison and Hofstra clinching the top two spots of the four-team field last weekend.
Towson and Elon are currently in the third and fourth positions, respectively, with 8-10 records in the CAA with the Tigers holding the tiebreaker over the Phoenix due its series win over the maroon and gold. Elon is one game up over College of Charleston and a Phoenix sweep of the Seahawks coupled with the Cougars losing to its series versus the Pride this weekend could go a long way in helping Elon clinch one of the two remaining postseason spots.
Last Time Out
Elon rebounded from a tough CAA series lost at then No. 22/23 JMU with a commanding 11-2 victory versus North Carolina A&T at home on Tuesday, April 28. The Phoenix tallied a season-high 14 hits against the Aggies and improve its record to 9-1 on the year when it records 10 or more base hits.
Clausen picked up her first win of the year after pitching 2.0 innings in relief. Freshmen Hannah Olson and Kara Shutt led the squad with three hits each, their 14th and 12th multi-hit games of the year, respectively. Shutt also had a season-high five RBI in that contest with Emily Roper adding her seventh homer of the year in the contest.
Scouting the Phoenix (27-20, 8-10 CAA)
Shutt’s 36 RBI leads the team and is the most by an Elon freshman since Sadie Ball had 38 in 2005. Shutt is also two RBI away from breaking into the program’s top-10 single-season performance list while Roper needs two more homers to break into the program’s career top-10 home run list as the sophomore has 14 in her career.
Sophomore Alaina Hall continues to pace the Phoenix offensively with her team-high .351 average and 54 hits. During CAA play this year, Hall is hitting a blistering .404 in her 18 league games with a .526 slugging percentage. She is one of three players overall for the Phoenix hitting north of the .300 mark along with Olson (.350) and Shutt (.338).
In the circle, Elon has a cumulative ERA of 3.32, its lowest since the 2011 season and fourth overall in the league. Elon still also leads the CAA in total saves with 10 with White tying the conference lead with four. Classmate O’Shea leads the team with her 2.17 ERA and has three saves on the season, one shy from breaking Jen Lamb’s (2003-04) all-time program career record.
Scouting UNCW (19-24, 5-13 CAA)
Tabbed to finished seventh in the 2015 CAA Preseason poll, the Seahawks still have a chance for the postseason with a sweep of the Phoenix and a Hofstra sweep of College of Charleston. UNCW also would need JMU to win two out of three in its series this weekend versus Drexel.
Fourth-year head coach Kristy Norton and her program last played at CofC on Sunday, April 26, where it suffered a 3-2 setback at the hands of the Cougars in the nightcap of a twin bill. UNCW did win the opening game of the doubleheader, 6-5, to avoid a series sweep to stay in the CAA playoff hunt.
On the year, UNCW is hitting only .227 with one player, Sarah Davis, hitting better than .300. Davis leads the team with her .306 average as well as RBI with 22. Teammate Claudia Spinelli is second in RBI with 21 and has a team-high three homers. A trio of pitchers have seen time toeing the rubber for the Seahawks with Peyton Jordan standing out with her team-best ERA of 2.60 along with eight wins in her 107.2 innings.
With a series win versus the Seahawks coupled with CofC losing its series versus Hofstra, the Phoenix will advance to the CAA Championship tournament next Wednesday, May 6, in Harrisonburg, Va.