Elon Softball Phoenix, Spartans Clash in Midweek Matchup

ELON, N.C. – Concluding a five-game homestand, the Elon University softball team welcomes Triad and former conference rival UNCG to Hunt Softball Park on Wednesday, April 19, for a nonconference matchup. Opening pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.

Follow the Phoenix
Fans can keep up with the action of the Phoenix all season via live stats from the program’s schedule page at elonphoenix.com. Updates will also be provided on Twitter on @elonscores or the program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball.

Inside the Series
Elon and UNCG are set to meet for the 77th time in the series between the two I-40 rivals. Wednesday’s contest will also be the fourth time this season that the Phoenix and the Spartans have met on the softball diamond. UNCG carries a slight 39-36-1 advantage all-time over the maroon and gold in Elon’s fastpitch history, but the Phoenix took two out of three earlier this season in a series at the Spartans on March 17-18.

Leading Off for Elon
• Wednesday’s contest will be the second-to-last nonconference game of the season for the Phoenix. Elon will host North Carolina A&T in another non-league matchup next week on April 25.
• With two games remaining in nonconference action, the Phoenix has posted a 21-10 record outside of league play. Elon has won five out of the past six and 11 of its previous 13 nonconference games including a sweep at Atlantic Coast Conference opponent Virginia Tech.
• Elon is coming off its second Colonial Athletic Association series win of the season with its victory over Towson last weekend. The Phoenix won the final two games of the series and earned its first-ever series win over the Tigers since the two became league opponents in 2015.
• With the win, Elon improved to 7-5 overall in the CAA and is fourth overall in the league standings, trailing James Madison (10-2), UNCW (8-4) and Hofstra (7-4) with three weeks to go in the season.
• Senior Carey Million batted .417 in the series versus the Tigers (5-for-12) while adding a double and a triple to her stat line. She also had the RBI on the walk-off run in the second game of the series on Saturday in Elon’s 4-3 win in nine innings.
• Million’s RBI was the 44th of the season, which is tied for second all-time in school history for a single season. The Roebling, N.J., native is just three RBI shy of tying the all-time program mark of 47 set by Emerald Graham (2010-11) in 2011.
• Junior Kiandra Mitchum became just the second Elon pitcher to reach 150 strikeouts or more in a single season last weekend. The Mechanicsville, Va., native has 151 fanned batters this season and joins Donna Leigh (1990-93) as the only Elon pitchers with over 150 strikeouts in a single season. Leigh did the feat twice in 1990 and 1992.
• Nationally, Million ranks 18th in the nation in total RBI while Mitchum is 30th overall in strikeouts. Mitchum is also 23rd in the country with three saves and is tied for the all-time school-record in that category.
• During CAA play, the Elon pitching staff has been lights out as the maroon and gold has posted a league-best 1.92 ERA in 12 games.

Scouting the Phoenix
Wednesday’s game will be one of five remaining home contests left on the Phoenix’s 2017 schedule. Elon has posted an 18-7 ledger at the home confines of Hunt Softball Park this season and will look to have its best win total at its five-year facility. The maroon and gold won 20 games during the 2015 season.

Mitchum continues to have one of the finer seasons ever for an Elon pitcher at the Division I level. Her 151 strikeouts this season is the most for a Phoenix pitcher at the Division I level and is the third-best mark in a single season in program history overall. Her 2.15 ERA is fourth overall in the CAA and her 15 wins this season is the most for an Elon pitcher since 2012. As a team, Elon has a 2.63 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 297.2 innings.

In the batter’s box, Elon is hitting .279 with 200 runs scored, the second-best in the CAA. The Phoenix is also in the top-five of the league in on-base percentage (.354), hits (316), RBI (172), doubles (53), triples (11) and walks (117). Three players are hitting better than .300 in Alaina Hall (.386), Million (.352) and Kara Shutt (.338). Hall’s average has dropped a bit over the past few weeks, but the Suwanee, Ga., native still leads the CAA in total hits with 54.

Scouting the Spartans
UNCG comes into the midweek contest with a 23-18 record this season. The Spartans took two out of three last weekend in its Southern Conference series versus Samford at home to improve to 6-3 in the SoCon.

The Spartans are hitting .246 this season with two players hitting better than .300. Marisa Sholtes has a team-high .321 average in 20 starts while Sidney Grkman is next with her .316 average in 18 starts. UNCG has 51 home runs this season along with 183 RBI with Gabrielle Cubbage being one of the main run producers with six homers and a team-best 29 RBI.

UNCG’s pitching staff has registered a 4.26 ERA in 258.0 innings of work with 153 strikeouts and 102 walks. Alicia Bazonski has been the Spartans’ main workhorse in the circle this season with a team-high 24 starts and a 3.52 ERA in 151.0 innings. She is also 15-10 on the season and has struck out 90 batters.

On Deck
Elon returns to CAA play as the Phoenix heads north to Hofstra for a three-game series on April 22-23. The Phoenix and the Pride open the series with a twin bill on Saturday at 2 p.m.