SCOUTING THE COUGARS
CofC comes into the game having alternated wins and losses in their last four contests. The Cougars implanted a doubleheader with Charleston Southern into their midweek to break up a two-week hiatus leading up to the Elon series.
The Cougars faltered and lost 0-3 to the Bucs in the opener but retaliated with a 7-3 recovery in game two. Mackenzie Maples (Corona, Calif.) led the way offensively for the Cougars in going 4-for-6 with three RBIs between the two games. Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) and Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.) also had four hits on the day.
Jarrett, now on a four-game hit streak, has reseized the Cougars' team-high batting average and is now hitting .339 on the year. She has had multiple hits in three of the four games of her current streak.
Hodgson had two hits in each game of the CSU doubleheader and is now on a five-game hitting streak and hitting .318 on the season.
Carly Corthell (Reno, Nev.) is batting .321 this season after going .442 for the Cougars over the month of April.
Maples is lurking just outside the .300 club with a .297 batting average.
The Cougars have depended on good pitching this season and boast some impressive pitching statistics under the direction of pitching coach Mendy McKenzie.
The Cougar pitching staff ranked 26th in the country in team ERA at 1.94 at the last NCAA statistical release on April 29. The Cougars have lowered their ERA to 1.92 since and the ERA of the Cougars' regular pitchers is roughly 1.66.
Stephanie Saylors (Easley, S.C.) with her 1.50 ERA continues to lead the SoCon and ranks 34th in the entire country. Her 10 shutouts on the year also lead the league and rank 10th in the NCAA.
Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) has shown an impeccable ability to hit her spots in the circle this season and ranks eighth in the country in walks allowed per seven innings at 0.96. She also has allowed less than one walk or hit per inning pitched.
The Cougars will likely face left-handed Elon ace Erin O'Shea this weekend and have been opportunistic against left-handed pitching with a .360 team batting average this season.
SCOUTING THE PHOENIX
Elon is returning home for the first time in 11 games on Saturday and will be relieved to do so after going just 2-9 on the road haul perpetuated by an eight-game losing skid.
They finally ended the losing streak with a 7-1 victory in the second game of their Wednesday-afternoon doubleheader at North Carolina A&T. Elon plated seven runs on eight hits and got a pair of RBIs out of both Sarah Little and Kaitlyn Piazzolla.
The Phoenix sport a team .265 batting average led by junior speedster Tomeka Watson who is hitting an impressive .382 on the year. Watson combines both speed and power and leads the team in stolen bases with 25 and shares the team lead in home runs with five.
Carleigh Nester is batting .343 and leads the team with 30 RBIs on the season.
Danielle Lafferty is batting .298 on the season and is the other player with five long balls on the year.
Elon's lefty pitcher O'Shea has shouldered the bulk of the responsibilities in the pitching circle this season and posts a 13-12record and 3.22 ERA in the circle through 150 innings pitched. Her control could be viewed as an issue as she has walked 86 batters, hit 18 and thrown eight wild pitches. She has held her opponents to a .231 averaged and struck out 129.
The Cougars control a 16-13 advantage in the all-time series between these two programs but the Phoenix claimed three out of four meetings between the squads last season.
The Cougars opened the SoCon slate against Elon in 2011 and were blanked in games one and three of the series. The Cougars eked out a 1-0 victory in game two of the series to avoid what would have been a sweep on the legs of Corthell's first inning run. Saylors pitched a complete game two-hitter and only needed the one run out of her offense to earn the win.
The teams met again in the opening round of the SoCon Championships and Elon came away with a 7-5 win before the Cougars strung together four wins in the face of elimination to reach the finals.
MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE FOR THE SERIES
ElonPhoenix.com will provide live statistics and play-by-play for all three games of the series.
Additionally, live video will be provided at no charge for Sunday's game only.
FOLLOW THE COUGARS
Another great way of keeping up with the CofC softball team is through the team's own Twitter account (@CofCSoftball). The account provides pictures, team activities, statuses when the team is on the road and in-game thoughts and updates.
The Cougars are staying in North Carolina to prepare for the Southern Conference Championships which open on Wednesday, May 9 in Boone, N.C., on the campus of Appalachian State.
Seeding and scheduling for the tournament will be released on Sunday, May 6 after the completion of all league games.