Elon Softball Treks to NC State for Midweek Contest

ELON, N.C. – Winners of seven of its last eight, the Elon University softball team travels on the road for the first time this season as the Phoenix faces NC State on Wednesday, Feb. 21, in a single-game midweek contest. Opening pitch is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start at Dail Softball Stadium

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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. The game will also be streamed online on the ACC Network Extra via WatchESPN.

Inside the Series: NC State
Elon and NC State will meet for the 19th time on the softball diamond on Wednesday in a series dating back to 2004. The Wolfpack holds a 11-7 all-time advantage over the Phoenix and won last year’s meeting 9-0 in Hunt Softball Park. The last time the programs met in Raleigh in 2016, Elon came away with a 4-2 victory in extra innings.

Versus the ACC
NC State will be the second opponent that the Phoenix will face on its schedule from the Atlantic Coast Conference this season. Along with the Wolfpack, Elon has already faced North Carolina this season and will face the Tar Heels in a rematch on March 3 at the Carolina Classic. The Phoenix is also slated to face ACC members Syracuse (March 14) and Duke (April 11) in 2018 with the Orange coming to Hunt Softball Park. Elon defeated North Carolina on Feb. 14, at Hunt Softball Park, 2-1, its first victory against the Tar Heels since 2010.

Duo Takes CAA Weekly Awards
Seniors Kiandra Mitchum and Kara Shutt were selected as the Colonial Athletic Association’s Pitcher and Player of the Week, respectively, as announced by the league office on Tuesday. It’s the first weekly honors of the season for the duo as they helped the Phoenix to a 5-1 ledger last week and has helped the maroon and gold win seven of its last eight games.

Mitchum took her third career CAA Pitcher of the Week honor after going 3-0 last week with a 1.24 ERA in 17.0 innings. The Mechanicsville, Va., native helped the Phoenix to a 2-1 win over North Carolina last Wednesday, Feb. 14, for its first win over the Tar Heels since 2010. She later helped Elon to a 4-3 victory over Bowling Green on Friday, Feb. 17, striking out a season-best 10 batters in a complete game performance. Mitchum concluded her week as she tossed the second perfect game in school history versus Mount Saint Mary’s on Sunday, Feb. 18, in Elon’s 8-0 win. The lefty tossed 6.0 innings and struck out five batters against the Mountaineers and joined Abby Barker as the only Elon pitchers to have a perfect game on their record.

Shutt took home her fifth career CAA weekly accolade as the Greensboro, N.C., native batted .579 (11-for-19), scored seven runs, had three doubles and drove in five RBI. She also had a hit in each of the Phoenix’s six games last week including four multi-hit performances. Shutt went 1-for-3 with a RBI, a double and a run scored in Elon’s 2-1 win over North Carolina last Wednesday and drove in a couple of runs while going 2-for-3 against Rhode Island in Elon’s 6-2 win on Friday, Feb. 17.

Last Time Out
The Phoenix closed out its week with a couple of victories on the final day at its annual tournament, the Elon Softball Tournament, on Sunday, Feb. 18. Elon defeated North Texas, 6-1, in its first contest of the day before concluding the day with an 8-0 victory over Mount Saint Mary’s in the nightcap.

Against North Texas, both the Phoenix and the Mean Green battled through a pitcher’s duel through the first five innings as Barker and North Texas’ Hope Trautwein held both offenses in check until the fifth inning. The Phoenix opened the scoring in the bottom of the fifth with a five-run frame including RBI’s from Shutt, Olson and Ally Repko. Barker held the Mean Green without a hit until the top of the sixth when North Texas’ Katie Clark connected on a one-out home run. That would the lone run of the game for the Mean Green with Elon getting a run back in the home half of the sixth to earn the 6-1 victory.

In the second game versus Mount Saint Mary’s, Elon scored at least one run in every inning while assisting Mitchum in her historic effort. The Phoenix had a two-run effort in the bottom of the second behind a Repko two-RBI single. The run support during the game was more than enough for Mitchum as the lefty breezed through the Mountaineer’s lineup for the final time in the sixth inning. The Phoenix secured the victory via run-rule in the bottom of the sixth, giving Mitchum the perfect game victory.

Around the Horn
• Elon is hitting .283 overall as a team with 44 runs scored, 18 doubles and 37 RBI. Nationally, the Phoenix ranks 21st in doubles per game (1.80) and 22nd in triples per game (0.40), leading the Colonial Athletic Association in both categories.
• Shutt leads the team with a .486 average this season and is currently eighth in the country in doubles (five) and 11th in the nation in total hits (17). The senior reached 47 career doubles on Sunday against North Texas, taking sole possession of third all-time in school history and is one shy of tying for second with Dani Concepcion (2002-05).
• Shutt also became the ninth player in school history with 100 or more career RBI (101) over the weekend. She leads the Phoenix in multi-hit games (seven), multi-RBI games (two) and holds the longest current hitting and reached based streak at eight games.
• Erica Serafini is second behind Shutt with a .379 average among the Phoenix regulars and is tied with her for the team-lead in RBI with seven. The Tampa, Fla., native also has three triples so far this season, which is third in the nation, and is eighth in the country in triples per game (0.30).
• In the circle, the Phoenix has posted a 2.21 team ERA through its 73.0 innings of action with 44 strikeouts compared to 24 walks.
• Barker and Mitchum have been a dynamic duo in the circle to start season and is responsible for six of the Phoenix’s seven wins. Mitchum leads the team in innings pitched at 27.0 and has a 1.81 ERA with a 3-0 record. She also has 24 strikeouts on the season and became the sixth player in school history with 300 or more fanned batters versus Mount Saint Mary’s.
• Barker is second behind Mitchum with 25.1 innings pitched and has a 1.66 ERA with a 3-1 record. She has struck out 14 batters on the season and received the save versus North Carolina last Wednesday.

Scouting the Wolfpack
NC State is 5-4 on the season after coming off hosting the ACC/Big 10 Challenge over the weekend. The Wolfpack split its games at the tournament, going 2-2 with victories versus #22/21 Ohio State and against Northwestern. Coming off an 18-38 ledger in 2017, the Wolfpack was tabbed to finish 10th in the 2018 ACC Preseason Poll.

The Wolfpack is hitting .258 as a team through its nine games with Sam Russ leading the NC State regulars with a .550 (11-for-20) average. NC State has scored 42 runs on the season and has driven in 35 with Timberlyn Shurbutt being the top run producer with eight RBI. She also has one of the two home runs this season for NC State.

As a pitching staff, NC State has a 3.36 ERA with 45 strikeouts, 26 walks and two saves in 58.1 innings. Devin Wallace has a team-high 30.1 innings with a 2.54 ERA and a 2-2 record with 24 strikeouts. Kama Woodall has seen equal time in the circle for the Wolfpack with a 3.80 ERA in 27.2 innings with 21 strikeouts.

On Deck
Elon returns home to host Howard in a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Hunt Softball Park. The opening game is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.