UNCG (13-17, 3-2 SoCon) vs. Elon (22-7, 7-2 SoCon), April 2-3, Greensboro, N.C.
Video: Spartan All Access (Saturday only)
- UNC Greensboro wraps up its nine-game homestand this weekend when it hosts Southern Conference rival Elon for a three-game set. Saturday's doubleheader will feature UNCG's inaugural Strike Out Cancer campaign for softball.
- UNCG and Elon will play a single game Friday at 5 p.m. followed by a Saturday doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.
- Throughout Saturday first game, every strikeout will be dedicated to cancer survivors and victims and those currently battling the disease. Fans who wish to make a dedication in honor of someone who has battled or is battling cancer are invited to visit the American Cancer Society and Relay for Life table that will be located on the concourse at the UNCG Softball Stadium. Donations can be made at the table.
- The Spartans had won five of six prior to being swept by East Carolina in a doubleheader Tuesday. The Pirates won game one 4-1 before taking a 6-3 victory in game two. UNCG redshirt junior Kaitlin Merkt hit solo home runs in both games, going a combined 3-for-6 on the day. Cory Mattson took the tough loss in game one, three-hitting ECU but allowing all four runs.
- After getting off to a slow start on the season, Merkt has hit all four of her homers this year in the last seven games. That moves her career total to 16, the seventh-best mark in school history. An All-SoCon Second Team selection last season, Merkt was hitting just .105 through her first 21 games but is hitting a scorching .462 since then to more than double her average. She is now at .217 on the season, bringing her average up .112 points in the last eight games.
- Senior Amber Harrell went 2-0 last week with a 0.50 ERA against Marshall and NC State, earning Southern Conference Pitcher of the Week honors. She nabbed two of UNCG's three wins on the week, striking out 12 in two games. The award is the third of Harrell's career, as she also took the honor twice last season. The award is UNCG's second this season, as Mattson was the league's pitcher of the week on March 8.
- Harrell has 525 career strikeouts, and needs just 41 more to pass school record holder and current UNCG pitching coach Vanessa (Oakes) Williams, who had 565 from 2004-07. Earlier this season, Harrell became just the second pitcher in school history to reach the 500-strikeout plateau.
- Alex Emeterio leads UNCG with a .341 average so far this season. The Murrieta, Calif., sophomore has four home runs and 21 RBI, both team highs. She is slugging .549 and has an on-base percentage of .423 on the season. Junior Katie Stripling and Merkt share team-high honors with Emeterio with four homers each. Laura Olenderski is second on the team with a .267 batting average, while freshman Eileen Horsmon is third with a .263 mark.
- Mattson is 7-8 with a team-best 2.75 ERA, and won a career-best four straight decisions from March 5-13. Mattson has struck out 71 batters on the season and walked only 40 and has UNCG's only two shutouts on the season. Harrell is 4-8 with a 3.74 ERA, while freshman Raeanne Hanks is 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA.
- Senior catcher Whitney Sirois has thrown out a SoCon-best 12 runners trying to steal this season, a new career high. She has thrown out 36 would-be base-stealers in her career, the second-best mark in school history since 1995.
- UNCG leads the all-time series against Elon, 28-22-2. The Spartans have taken two out of three in each of the last two seasons against the Phoenix. Last season, UNCG swept a doubleheader in Elon, N.C., on May 2 (7-1 and 4-3) before the Phoenix rebounded with a 3-0 win the following day to avoid the sweep. Jordan Jewett had a combined five hits in the doubleheader, while Harrell matched her career high with 12 strikeouts in game two.
- The Phoenix is off to a 22-7 start on the season, with a win over a ranked North Carolina squad and three SoCon series wins. Elon took two of three from College of Charleston last weekend before sweeping a doubleheader from North Carolina A&T on Wednesday.
- Against the Aggies on Wednesday, Erin O'Shea went 3-for-4 at the plate and picked up the win in the circle in a 6-3 game-one win. Game two saw the Phoenix post a 10-0 win in 5 innings, with Tomeka Watson and Emerald Graham hitting back-to-back homers in a five-run fourth. O'Shea finished 3-for-4 at the plate in game two, as well, while Lauren Taylor pitched a one-hitter for the win.
- The top-hitting team in the SoCon, Elon boasts a team batting average of .317 and has six regulars hitting better than .300, including three of the top five hitters in the conference. Graham leads the team with a .388 average, the third-best mark in the league, while Jacqueline Gonzalez is fourth in the SoCon at .382. Watson, who at .378 has the third-best average on the team, is fifth in the conference.
- Elon is no slouch in the circle, either, with a team ERA of 2.21 and a league-best seven shutouts on the season. O'Shea is 11-2 with a 1.19 ERA, while Taylor is 9-3 with a 2.69 mark.
UNCG vs. Elon, 5 p.m.
UNCG vs. Elon, 1 p.m. (Spartan All Access)
UNCG vs. Elon, 3 p.m. (Spartan All Access)
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