ELON, N.C. – Heading into the final weekend of the regular season, the Elon University softball team heads to No. 13/14 James Madison for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association set beginning on Friday, May 5, with a doubleheader starting at 2:30 p.m. The series concludes on Saturday, May 6, at 1 p.m.
Going into the series against the ranked and CAA-leader Dukes, Elon is currently fifth in the league standings with its 9-8 ledger. The Phoenix is two and a half games over Delaware for the final spot of the five-team field for the upcoming CAA Tournament on May 10-12 and would need a win or a Blue Hens loss this weekend to clinch a spot for the league postseason for the third year in a row.
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. All three games of the series will be streamed online via jmusports.com.
Inside the Series
The Dukes lead the all-time series versus Elon, 10-6, with JMU taking nine of the last 10 meetings. Since becoming league opponents in 2015, James Madison has won five of six contests against the maroon and gold. The Phoenix however handed the Dukes its lone league loss of the season last year as the maroon and gold prevailed with a thrilling 5-4 victory over sixth-ranked James Madison in 15 innings at Elon. The victory was the highest-ranked win ever for the program and its second overall versus a top-10 ranked team.
Leading Off for Elon
• No. 13/14 James Madison will be the second ranked team that the Phoenix will have face this season. Earlier in February, Elon squared off against No. 3 Florida at the Citrus Classic.
• The Phoenix defeated Delaware in its CAA home series finale last weekend at Hunt Softball Park. Elon clinched the series on Sunday, April 30, in the rubber match, 1-0, thanks to Alaina Hall’s walk-off RBI single.
• During the weekend, Carey Million tied the program’s all-time single-season RBI record with her 47th of the year. The Roebling, N.J., native is currently tied with Emerald Graham (2010-11) for the most single-season RBI in school history.
• The victories last weekend gave Phoenix head coach Kathy Bocock 395 for her career. At Elon, Bocock has posted 158 wins at the helm of the Phoenix softball program.
• Off the field, Elon’s Emily Roper picked up a couple of prestigious academic honors this past week. The senior was the recipient of Elon University’s John W. Barney Memorial Award, which is given to the senior who possesses the highest cumulative GPA.
• On Monday, Roper garnered another academic honor as the Cincinnati, Ohio, native earned the A.L. Hook Award for the second straight year. The Hook Award is given by the Department of Athletics to a junior or senior student-athlete who holds the highest cumulative GPA after a minimum of two years of playing time at Elon.
Scouting the Phoenix
Elon concluded its home schedule last weekend versus Delaware and ended the year with a 22-8 ledger at Hunt Softball Park. The record was the best at the Phoenix’s five-year facility, besting its previous total of 20 wins in 2015. The Phoenix’s current .630 winning percentage is also the program’s highest since 2010 while its 32 wins is the most for the program since that same time. The maroon and gold will also post its third straight winning season for the first time in school history at the Division I level.
Junior Kara Shutt led the Phoenix’s offensive charge last weekend against the Blue Hens with four hits and a .444 (4-for-9) average. She also scored a run during the series, the 100th of her career. Shutt was one of two players to bat over .300 against Delaware and is one of three this season overall to hit north of .300 as Elon is batting .271 as a team.
Kiandra Mitchum pitched all but three innings last weekend in the three game series versus the Blue Hens, raising her total to a CAA-high 199.2 on the season. Only three other pitchers have pitched more frames in a season in school history as the veteran lefty has carried the maroon and gold during league play. Her 18 wins is second in the CAA and is the most for a maroon and gold hurler in a season at the Division I level. The Mechanicsville, Va., native is also second in the league in strikeouts (176) and saves (three).
Scouting the Dukes
No. 13/14 James Madison is 14-2 overall in the CAA having clinched the regular season title and the No. 1 seed for the CAA Tournament next week at its home stadium at Veterans Memorial Park. The Dukes are 44-6 on the season and have won 13 straight heading into the series against the Phoenix after sweeping Drexel last weekend.
Offensively, JMU leads the CAA in virtually every category including average (.352), slugging percentage (.563), on-base percentage (.424), runs scored (343), hits (373), RBI (312), doubles (80), triples (13), home runs (59) and walks (157). Nine players in the regular lineup for the Dukes are hitting above .300, including one hitting over .400 in Megan Good, who carries a CAA-best .407 average. She also paces the league in RBI with 51 and has a team-best 10 home runs.
Good also carries over her dominance at the plate into the circle where she has continued to be one of the more dominate players toeing the rubber in the country. Her 0.51 ERA is second in the nation with her 31-1 record and 190.2 innings pitched. Overall, the Dukes staff has a 1.35 ERA and has struck out 327 batters.
With a victory versus JMU or a Delaware loss against UNCW this weekend, Elon will clinch a berth for the CAA Tournament, slated for May 10-12 in Harrisonburg, Va.