Spartans set to take on Georgia Southern for three-game set
UNCG (19-24, 7-8 SoCon) at Georgia Southern (25-24, 13-5 SoCon), April 22-23, Eagle Field, Statesboro, Ga.
LiveStats: UNCGSpartans.com (via GeorgiaSouthernEagles.com)
Video: Eagle Vision (free)
• UNCG returns to action this weekend at the site of this season's Southern Conference Championship as the Spartans will take on Georgia Southern for a three-game set in Statesboro, Ga. The teams will play a doubleheader Friday starting at 3 p.m. then close the series with a single game Saturday at 1 p.m.
• At 25-24 overall and 13-5 in the Southern Conference, Georgia Southern enters play this weekend second in the league standings. UNCG is tied for fifth in the league at 19-24 overall and 7-8 in league play.
• UNCG has been idle since last weekend, when it dropped a series to Appalachian State, 2-1. The Mountaineers took game one 6-2 and won a 1-0 pitchers' duel in game two. The Spartans avoided the sweep with a 4-0 win in game three.
• Cory Mattson was masterful in the series, as the junior pitcher threw 18 of a possible 21 innings, surrendering just two earned runs. She was on the wrong end of the pitchers' duel in game two despite allowing just one run on six hits. Mattson took a one-hitter into the seventh inning in game three, settling for the two-hit shutout. Kaitlin Merkt's two-run homer in the second inning of game three proved all the offense Mattson would need.
• After hitting an even .500 in the series against the Apps, junior Alex Emeterio has reclaimed the team batting lead. She is hitting .344 on the season, while Merkt is right behind her at .339 with nine homers and 31 RBI, both team bests. Her nine home runs tie for third in the SoCon. Jordan Jewett his hitting .333 and has a team-best .425 on-base percentage, while freshman catcher Katelyn Bedwell is hitting .316. Freshman Aisha Figueroa is fourth in the SoCon with 19 stolen bases in 21 attempts.
• In the circle, Cory Mattson is 10-11 with a 3.78 ERA and a career-best three saves and has won six of her last nine decisions. Mattson, who leads the SoCon with 151 2/3 innings pitched, needs just one more win to supplant the career high she set last season. Freshman Josie Felix is 5-11 with a 4.88 ERA, while sophomore Raeanne Hanks is 4-2 with a 7.07 ERA. Emeterio has made six appearances but has yet to register a decision. She has a 9.33 ERA but is allowing opposing batters to hit just .263, the best mark on the staff.
• UNCG trails the all-time series to GSU, 39-21, but the teams split four games last season. The Eagles took two of three in the regular-season series in Greensboro, N.C., but the Spartans got revenge in a must-win game at the Southern Conference Championship, downing the Eagles 2-1 to eliminate GSU and advance to the title game against Elon.
• GSU took a 4-1 win in 8 innings in the first meeting last season, scoring three unearned runs in the eighth for the win. Amber Harrell struck out her 500th career batter in the contest. Jewett hit her first career homer in game two, a two-run shot off the scoreboard in right center to rally UNCG to the 3-2 win and doubleheader split. GSU won the rubber match the following day, getting a pair of Megen Smith solo homers in a 2-1 victory. UNCG scored a run in the bottom of the seventh and stranded a runner in scoring position as the Eagles claimed the series. The Spartans won by an identical score at the SoCon tournament, with Kristen Gabel hitting an RBI single in the top of the seventh that proved to be the difference. Gabel also made an outstanding leaping catch in the contest to rob Sam Russo of extra bases.
• Georgia Southern features two-time SoCon Pitcher of the Year Brianna Streetmon, who was also this season's Preseason Pitcher of the Year, while Smith was the league's Preseason Player of the Year. The Eagles also have the reigning SoCon Player and Pitcher of the Week, as Mackenzie Williams and Allie Miles swept the awards after GSU's sweep of Furman.
• GSU fell to No. 3 Georgia on Wednesday, 4-1. The Eagles held a 1-0 lead after 2 ½ innings and outhit the Bulldogs 6-3 on the day.
• Saturday will be GSU's Senior Day. Kelly Burnett, Bethany Crenshaw, Smith and Streetmon will be honored before the contest.
• GSU is 15-7 in its last 22 contests and has lost just one SoCon series this season, dropping two of three to Elon on April 9 and 10. The Eagles have won league series over Appalachian State, Western Carolina, College of Charleston, Samford and Furman.
• Marie Fogle leads Georgia Southern with a .359 average and leads the league with 13 homers. She also leads the SoCon with 56 hits in 49 games and leads GSU with 32 RBI. Hanna Ennis is second on the team with a .316 average, while Smith and Williams have eight homers each.
• Miles, a freshman, leads GSU with a 12-7 mark and a 2.62 ERA. She has 130 strikeouts, second-most in the league, in just 114 2/3 innings pitched. Streetmon is 10-10 on the year with a 3.37 ERA and 99 strikeouts, while Smith is 2-5 with a 5.19 ERA.
Friday, April 22
UNCG at Georgia Southern, 3 p.m.
UNCG at Georgia Southern, 5 p.m.
Saturday, April 23
UNCG at Georgia Southern, 1 p.m.
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