ELON, N.C. – Riding the momentum of a series sweep last weekend, the Elon University softball team will be in the hunt for a Colonial Athletic Association postseason berth as the Phoenix heads to Delaware to wrap up its regular season this weekend, May 4-5. The three-game set begins with a twin bill on Friday at 3 p.m. followed with the series and season finale on Saturday at noon at the Delaware Softball Diamond.
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 at the program’s handle, @ElonUSoftball. The start of Friday’s doubleheader will be streamed via Delaware’s athletic website, bluehens.com. For more on Elon softball, follow the program on Twitter (@ElonUSoftball), Facebook and Instagram (@elonsoftball).
Inside the Series: Delaware (Series tied at 6-6)
Both teams are deadlocked in the all-time series at 6-6 since the two programs started facing each other on the softball diamond in 2001. Since becoming league opponents in 2015, the Phoenix holds the slight advantage over the Blue Hens with a 5-3 ledger and victors of last year’s series in Elon. This weekend will be the Phoenix’s first game played at Delaware since joining the CAA since the 2016 series at the Blue Hens was cancelled due to rain and unplayable field conditions.
CAA Tournament Prognosis
Heading into the weekend, Elon is one of four teams vying for the final two spots for the five-team CAA Tournament next week at James Madison. The Phoenix is currently fifth in the league standings with its 7-11 league record and is a game behind College of Charleston, who is fourth at 8-10, and a game up over UNCW at 6-12. Delaware is also in the hunt with its 5-13 CAA record.
Elon controls its own destiny as a win in any of the three games this weekend will clinch a spot for the tournament for the Phoenix for the third time in the last four seasons. The Phoenix also holds the tiebreaker over both College of Charleston and UNCW due to its head-to-head series victories over both teams as the Cougars and the Seahawks square off versus each other this weekend. Delaware can make the tournament if it sweeps the Phoenix in all three games this weekend.
Around the Horn
• Elon is coming off a sweep versus Drexel last weekend, April 28-29, in its final home series of the regular season. The three wins improved the Phoenix to 12-0 all-time versus the Dragons.
• During the series, senior Kara Shutt became the CAA’s all-time career leader in doubles, moving past James Madison’s Erica Field, who had 60 career doubles between 2013-16. Shutt ended the weekend sitting with 62 career doubles.
• Shutt is also one double shy of tying her own single-season school-record as she sits with 20 this season, which is third in the league. The Greensboro, N.C., native recorded 21 doubles as a sophomore in 2016.
• Shutt leads the team with her .417 average, which is fourth overall in the CAA and would be the fourth-best single-season average in school history. She sits second all-time in school history with 247 career hits and is fourth in CAA history.
• Hannah Olson is second to Shutt with her .383 average and leads the squad with her 33 RBI. She has 14 doubles this season and became the seventh player in school history with 40 or more career doubles.
• Both Shutt and Olson also currently rank in the top-five in school history in runs scored. Shutt has plated 141 runs in her career – two shy for second all-time in school history – while Olson is fourth all-time with 129.
• Elon earned a 17-10 victory over Drexel in its series finale over the Dragons on Sunday, April 29. The 17 runs are a single-game high this season and the most for the Phoenix since plating 15 versus Princeton on March 18.
• After going into the series finale versus the Dragons with just 16 homeruns on the season and none in its previous six games, Elon belted four versus Drexel this past Sunday. Ashtyn Foddrell connected on her fifth of the season while Katrina Martin added her third. Walker Barbee and Elise Walton rounded out the long ball parade with their first career round trippers.
• Elon has now won four straight dating back to its win over longtime Triad rival North Carolina A&T last Wednesday, April 25.
Scouting the Blue Hens (15-31, 5-13 CAA)
Delaware has won five of its previous six games after a midweek doubleheader sweep versus Mount Saint Mary’s. The Blue Hens, who were selected to finish seventh in the 2018 CAA Preseason Poll, won its first league series of the year last weekend versus UNCW and can clinch a postseason berth this weekend with a sweep over the Phoenix.
The Blue Hens ranked seventh in the league with a .246 average, but has a record setting bat in its lineup as well. Senior Leanna Gearhart is first all-time in CAA history in stolen bases (105) and triples (21). This season, Gearhart leads the team and the league with 20 stolen bases and is batting .280 overall. Mariah Kondravy and Anna Steinmetz are the main run producers for the Blue Hents with Kondravy leading the Blue Hens with her .352 average among regulars while Steinmetz is close with .339. The duo has combined for 18 homers and 66 RBI.
In the circle, Delaware has a team ERA of 5.18 in 290.2 innings with three arms primarily seeing time this season. Reigning CAA Pitcher of the Week Jordan Cargile leads the Blue Hens with a 4.18 ERA in 112.2 innings and has a 7-9 ledger so far in 2018. Cargile earned the league’s weekly award after going 2-0 in the circle in the Blue Hens’ 2-1 series victory at UNCW over the weekend. The senior righty tossed a pair of complete games against the Seahawks, recording a 1.50 ERA and giving up just three earned runs over 14.0 frames of work.
Should the Phoenix win a game this weekend at Delaware, Elon will prepare for the CAA Tournament beginning next Wednesday, May 9. Seeding and opponents for the tournament will be determined after conclusion of the regular season this weekend.