ELON, N.C. – Coming off its first road game of the season on Wednesday, the Elon University softball team returns to the home confines of Hunt Softball Park for a doubleheader matchup versus Howard on Saturday, Feb. 24. Opening pitch for the first game is scheduled for 1 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 at the program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball. For more on Elon softball, follow the Phoenix on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Inside the Series: Howard
The Phoenix and the Bison have faced each other only once on the softball diamond prior to Saturday’s matchup. Both teams last squared off in 2005 at the Triangle Classic in Raleigh where the Phoenix came away with an 8-4 victory.
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, Feb. 20. It’s the first weekly honors of the season for the duo as they helped the Phoenix to a 5-1 ledger last week.
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
Elon traveled the NC State on Wednesday, Feb. 21, for its first road contest of the season after opening its first 10 games of 2018 at home. Despite keeping the game close during the first four and a half innings, a four-run bottom of the fifth by the Wolfpack doomed the Phoenix as Elon fell by a score of 7-0. The maroon and gold also left 10 runners on base in the game including back-to-back innings with the bases loaded. The setback was the second straight that Elon handed by NC State in the series after winning two straight itself versus the Wolfpack the previous two seasons.
Around the Horn
• Elon enters the weekend hitting .280 as a team and has scored 44 runs with 18 doubles, four triples and 37 RBI. Four players in the Phoenix’s regular lineup are currently hitting better than .300.
• Shutt’s .462 average paces the Phoenix and she ranks eighth in the country in total doubles (five) and 10th in the nation in hits (18). She is one double shy of tying Dani Concepcion (2002-05) for second all-time in school history in career doubles as she sits on 47.
• Shutt is also three hits shy of becoming the seventh player in school history with 200 or more career hits. She is currently eighth on the program’s all-time list for base hits in a career with 197.
• Erica Serafini is second on the team in average at .364 and is tied with Shutt for the team-lead in RBI with seven. The Tampa, Fla., native is currently third in the country in triples with three and 11th overall in triples per game (0.27).
• The Phoenix pitching staff has posted a 2.57 ERA in 79.0 total innings of action this season. Elon has struck out 46 total batters while walking 26.
• Mitchum (3-1) and Barker (3-1) have handed the majority of the innings so far in the circle for the maroon and gold. Mitchum leads the Phoenix with 31.1 innings pitched and has a 2.46 ERA and 26 strikeouts. She is also one save away of setting a new school-record as she sits on six for her career.
• Barker is second on the team in innings pitched at 27.0 and has a 2.07 ERA and 14 strikeouts. Elise Walton has the only victory on record for the Phoenix (1-0) and has a 1.40 ERA in 10.0 innings.
Scouting the Bison
Howard is 2-6 so far in 2018 after last playing at the Aggie Invitational hosted by North Carolina A&T during the weekend of Feb. 16-18. The Bison are scheduled to face North Carolina Central in a doubleheader on Friday, Feb. 23, in Cary, N.C., before facing the Phoenix. Howard was tabbed to finish tied for sixth in the Northern Division of the 2018 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Preseason Poll.
Offensively, Howard is hitting .291 on the season and have seven players hitting north of .300. Sophomore Kamryn Tillman has a team-best 10 hits and a .455 average. As a team, the Bison have scored 40 total runs and have accounted for 16 doubles. Freshman Alyssa Lavine has driven in a team-high 10 RBI this season.
In the circle, Howard has posted a team cumulative ERA of 7.30 with four pitchers seeing at least one inning of action in 2018. Through 39.1 innings, the Bison have a struck out 18 batters and walked 18 with Mackenzi Steele (1-0) and Desiree Renteria (1-3) accounting for Howard’s wins this season so far.
The Phoenix takes part in its second tournament of the season, traveling to the Carolina Classic next weekend, March 2-4 in Chapel Hill, N.C. Elon opens the tournament versus Kansas next Friday, March 2, at noon before facing Harvard later that day at 2:30 p.m.