Florida-Bound Elon Softball Phoenix Ready for USF Series

ELON, N.C. – Heading to the state of Florida for its final tournament of the regular-season, the Elon University softball team is set to compete at the USF Series – Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament this weekend, March 16-18, at the University of South Florida. The Phoenix is set to face the field of Lehigh, LIU Brooklyn, Chattanooga, Princeton and host USF at the tournament.

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Elon opens the tournament on Friday, March 16, versus Lehigh at 11:30 a.m., before facing the Bulls of USF later that day at 4:15 p.m. The following day, March 17, the Phoenix faces LIU Brooklyn at 9:45 a.m. before seeing Chattanooga for its nightcap at 2:30 p.m. The tournament concludes for the maroon and gold with its matchup versus Princeton on Sunday, March 17, at 9 a.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. Elon’s contest versus USF will be streamed via Facebook live on USF’s Facebook page, USFSoftball. For more on Elon softball, follow the program on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Inside the Series
Versus Lehigh (First meeting): The Phoenix and the Mountain Hawks will meet for the first time on the softball diamond this Friday. It will be the second straight season that Elon will face a team from the Patriot League in Florida since squaring off against Fordham last year at the Citrus Classic in Orlando.

Versus USF (Elon trails 0-4): Elon and USF will meet for the fifth time all-time and the first since 2004. The four previous contests also came in Tampa, Fla., with Elon being outscored 31-1 in the series so far against the Bulls.

Versus LIU Brooklyn (First meeting): Another first-time meeting for the Phoenix as it meets the Blackbirds on Saturday. It will be the second contest for Elon versus a team from the Northeast Conference since hosting Mount Saint Mary’s at its home tournament on Feb. 18.

Versus Chattanooga (Elon trails 12-24): Former longtime conference rivals, the Phoenix and the Mocs will rekindle a series that hasn’t been touched since 2014.

Versus Princeton (Elon trails 1-2): Princeton and Elon will meet for the first time since 2009 in the Phoenix’s tournament finale on Sunday. Both teams opened its series in 2005 with a split at the ECU Pirate Clash, but the Tigers took the most recent contest in Chapel Hill in 2009.

Around the Horn
• The Phoenix is hitting .260 this season with 87 runs, 29 doubles, 72 RBI and four triples. Three players in the Phoenix’s regular lineup are hitting .300 or better with two, Hannah Olson (.408) and Kara Shutt (.400), hovering at or over .400.
• Olson is having a career year so far and leads the team with her 16 RBI – two shy of tying her single-season career best. The Yorktown, Va., native also leads the team with 10 multi-hit games and four multi-RBI contests.
• Shutt leads the team in total hits with 30, but saw her hitting streak end at 19 on Tuesday, March 13, versus Syracuse. The Greensboro, N.C., native still has reached base in 20 consecutive games heading into the weekend and sits one double shy of tying Carleigh Nester for the most in school history at 51.
• This weekend will be a return home for Florida natives Kristin Hoover, Morgan Reich and Erica Serafini. Hoover and Serafini hail from the Tampa area with Hoover playing high school ball at Berkeley Preparatory School and Serafini at Steinbrenner High School.
• The Phoenix pitching staff has posted a team ERA of 2.57 in 155.1 innings and has 95 strikeouts with 54 walks.
• Four pitchers have seen time in at least 16.0 or more innings this season for the Phoenix with senior Kiandra Mitchum leading the way with her 55.1 innings tossed. The lefty has a 4-3 record so far in 2018 with a 2.28 ERA and also paces the team with 48 fanned batters.

Scouting Lehigh (3-12, 0-0 Patriot League)
The Mountain Hawks were chosen as the league favorites in the 2018 Patriot League Preseason Poll and comes into the tournament with a 3-12 record after coming off play at the Under Armour Showcase, also in Tampa, Fla., this past weekend, March 10-11. Last season, Lehigh went 36-20 overall and reached the NCAA Tournament under head coach Fran Troyan, who is in his 23rd season at the helm of the Mountain Hawks program.

Offensively, Lehigh is hitting .236 as a team and has two players above .300 in its regular lineup. Nicole Yozzo paces the team with her team-high .341 average and while Mary-Hannah Smith has driven in a team-best 10 runs. In the circle, Lehigh has relied primarily on the two-person tandem of Emily Sorem and Parker Boyd. Sorem has a 3.41 ERA in a team-high 49.1 innings while Boyd has two of the team’s three victories this season.

Scouting USF (17-12, 0-0 American)
The Bulls are currently on a 10-game win streak and are 17-12 overall in 2018. USF has hosted the Under Armour Showcase and the Under Armour Invitational the past two weekend, sweeping the field in each outing. The Bulls were picked to finish third in the American Athletic Conference in the league’s 2018 preseason poll as head coach Ken Eriksen enters his 22nd season leading the program.

USF is hitting .286 with four players hitting north of .300. Cassidy Boyle is just shy of hitting .400 with her team-high .397 average. She is also tied for the team-lead in home runs with three along with Lindsey Devitt, who is second behind Boyle with a .375 average. The Bulls’ pitching staff has accounted for a 3.72 ERA in 150.2 innings. Corrick Georgina has team-bests for the Bulls in ERA (2.01), wins (four), innings (55.2) and strikeouts (66).

Scouting LIU Brooklyn (7-16, 0-0 Northeast)
Members of the Northeast Conference, LIU Brooklyn was chosen to finish third in the 2018 NEC Preseason Poll after finishing 20-32 last season under head coach Roy Kortmann. The Blackbirds last played at the FAU Parent’s Weekend Tournament where they posted a 1-3 ledger.

Six bats for LIU Brooklyn are hitting better than .300 as the Blackbirds as a team has a .273 average with 81 runs scored. Patricia Griffin has a team-best 24 hits while Ryleigh Bermea has been the main run producer for the Blackbirds with team-highs in home runs (three) and RBI (14). Three players have seen time toeing the rubber and making up for most of the team’s 134.0 innings. Erynn Sobieski leads the team with her four wins and 48.0 innings.

Scouting Chattanooga (11-14, 0-0 SoCon)
Elon’s former league for from the Southern Conference, the Mocs come into the tournament with a 11-14 ledger and won three out of five in its most recent tournament, the Under Armour Invitational. Chattanooga was predicted to finish sixth in the 2018 SoCon Preseason Poll after its 15-38 record last season.

The Mocs are hitting .285 as a team with Brook Womack leading the squad with her .386 average. She is also one of five players with 10 or more RBI for Chattanooga with her team-high 14. Celie Hudson has been the primary workhorse in the circle for the Mocs so far this season with a 4.42 ERA in 69.2 innings and a 4-8 record.

Scouting Princeton (0-10, 0-0 Ivy League)
Princeton last played at the George Washington Tournament last weekend and is looking for its first win of the season. Last season, the Tigers went 25-20 and reached the NCAA Tournament and was predicted to win their third straight Ivy League title in the league’s 2018 preseason poll.

The Tigers are hitting .276 and has seven players with a .300 or better averaged headed by Megan Donahey’s .364 mark. Donahey’s 12 hits edges teammate Keeley Walsh’s 11 while Walsh is also second on the team with her .355 average. Allie Reynolds has seen the most time in the circle for Princeton with her team-high 34.0 innings and seven appearances.

On Deck
Elon opens Colonial Athletic Association play next weekend, March 24-25, at Hunt Softball Park as the Phoenix hosts College of Charleston. The three-game set begins with a twin bill next Saturday, March 24, starting at 1 p.m. followed by the series finale the following day, March 25, also with a 1 p.m. first pitch.