UNCW Softball Preview: NCCU Eagle Challenge
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW softball team wraps up its tournament schedule this weekend as it takes part in the NCCU Eagle Challenge at Parkwood Athletic Field.
The Seahawks are slated to play four games during the three-day event. UNCW will open the weekend Friday with a doubleheader versus Presbyterian (1 & 3:15 p.m.) and conclude play Saturday with contests against Liberty (4:15 p.m.) and host North Carolina Central (6:30 p.m.).
Live stats will be available for UNCW’s contest against Liberty can be accessed by clicking here … The other three contests of the NCCU Eagle Challenge will not feature live stats …Fans can also keep up with the UNCW softball program by checking out the program’s Facebook (UNCW Softball) and Twitter (@UNCWsoftball) accounts or the department’s Facebook (UNCWsports) and Twitter (@UNCWAthletics) pages.
- UNCW improved to 8-11 overall with a doubleheader sweep of state foe North Carolina A&T, 12-0 and 14-3, on Wednesday in Greensboro.
- The Seahawks exploded for 26 runs in the twinbill as they improved to 5-1 this season when scoring six or more runs in a contest.
- Senior Olivia Poplin went 3-for-5 with five RBI and junior KC Shue was 2-for-4 with five runs driven in to power a UNCW lineup that finished with 22 hits and 11 walks during the doubleheader. Junior Camry Wagner went 2-for-4 with three RBI while junior Morgan McCann was 2-for-6 with two RBI and three runs scored.
- Sophomore Casey Rowland recorded the win in the circle for the Seahawks in the opener to improve her record to 4-3. Rowland allowed just one hit and one walk in four innings of work as she struck out five.
- Sophomore Jordyn Schmidt was credited with the win for the Seahawks in game two to move her record to 4-3 on the season. Schmidt allowed two hits and two walks while striking out four in three innings of work.
- UNCW has thrived in one-run contests this season as they are 3-1 in games decided by a single run. The Seahawks suffered their first one-run loss of the season with its 5-4 setback to Charleston Southern last weekend.
- UNCW is 8-1 this season when it records as many or more hits and its opponent. The only loss under such circumstances came in a 6-2 loss to Nebraska-Omaha that saw both teams finished with seven base knocks in the contest.
- Senior Lauryn Buckworth continues to pace the UNCW lineup as she leads the team with a .388 batting average and 11 RBI. Buckworth has reached base safely in all but one of the team’s 19 contests this season.
- Junior Camry Wagner and freshman Erin Brown are the only two players that have started all 19 games this season for the Seahawks. Wagner has seen time at both shortstop and the designated player positions while Brown has split time between five positions (C, 2B, 3B, LF & CF).
- Liberty brings a 5-7 overall record into the NCCU Eagle Challenge and has won three of its last four contests. The Lady Flames have averaged over eight runs per game over their last three contests and have not allowed an earned run in the team’s last 12.2 innings pitched.
- Juniors Sammi Shivock and Katie Zavodny currently pace the Lady Flames lineup as both players are hitting .395 for the season. Zavodny has been a dangerous threat on the base paths in the early going as she leads the Big South with 13 stolen bases.
- Freshman Annah Jo Brittingham has served as the anchor of the Liberty rotation, pitching 45.1 of the team’s 79.1 innings in the field this season. Brittingham has fashioned a 3.99 ERA to go along with three complete games and one shutout.
- Head Coach Paul Wetmore is in his 20th season as head coach of the Lady Flames program. He has led the school to two Big South Tournament championships and three regular season crowns.
Series Notes Versus Liberty
- UNCW trails in the all-time series with Liberty by a 6-14 margin. The Lady Flames have won four straight in the series that dates back to the 1985 season.
- The two teams last met on Feb. 28, 2009 in the Seahawk Classic at Boseman Field, a contest that saw Liberty prevail by a 4-1 margin.
- The Seahawks hold a 3-4 mark against the Lady Flames in neutral-site matchups. Their last neutral-site meeting came during the 2002 season, a contest that saw UNCW blank Liberty in a 4-0 triumph.
- Presbyterian begins the NCCU Eagle Challenge with an 8-9 record after dropping an 8-0 decision at Florida State on Tuesday.
- Freshman Erin Ruff leads the Blue Hose offensive with a .400 batting average and 20 hits while fellow newcomer Kirby Legacki paces the team in RBI with 17. Sophomore Shelby Petik has served as the team’s top long ball threat with four home runs already this season.
- Sophomore Kensley Loudermelk leads the Presbyterian pitching staff, having compiled a 3.95 ERA in 51.1 innings of work. She is 6-4 in 12 appearances has struck out 36 while walking 27.
- Kama Tucker is in her second season with the Blue Hose program. A former assistant at James Madison, Tucker led Presbyterian to a 20-33 record in their first season in Clinton.
Series Notes Versus Presbyterian
- The Seahawks trail in the all-time series with Presbyterian by a 2-4 margin. All six previous meetings have taken place since the start of the 2010 season.
- The two teams split a doubleheader last March in Clinton, with the Seahawks taking the first game, 6-0, only to see the Blue Hose prevail in the nightcap, 3-2.
- The programs have met once before in a neutral setting, a contest during the 2010 season in Charleston, S.C. that saw Presbyterian record a 4-2 victory.
Scouting North Carolina Central
- North Carolina Central enters the weekend with a 1-12 record after taking a two-week break from competition after posting a 0-5 record in the Chattanooga Frost Classic Feb. 22-24.
- Freshman Joy Simpson leads the NC Central lineup with a .462 batting average while junior Camille Hampton has served as the top run producer with six RBIs.
- Freshman London Booker was been the workhorse of the Eagles pitching staff, working 50.1 of the team’s 70.0 innings pitched in 2013. She has four complete games to her credit this season.
- Theresa Stephens is in her second season as head coach of the Eagles program. She led NCCU to a 4-45 record during her first season in Durham.
Series Notes Versus North Carolina Central
- UNCW holds a 10-1 lead in the all-time series with North Carolina Central. The two programs have met on the diamond in each of the past five seasons.
- The two teams split a doubleheader last February at Boseman Field that saw the Seahawks take game one, 14-4, only to have the Eagles bounce back and take game two, 6-4.
- UNCW is 3-0 versus NCCU in true road contests. The Seahawks were victorious in their most recent road matchup versus the Eagles, posting a 5-0 victory on March 1, 2011.
Rowland Named CAA Pitcher-of-the-Week
UNCW sophomore hurler Casey Rowland was named CAA Pitcher-of-the-Week on Feb. 11.
- A native of Albany, N.Y., Rowland went 2-0 in three appearances in the season-opening UNCW Beach Blast Feb. 8-10. She struck out 12 in 13.1 innings while limiting opponents to a .114 batting average as she helped the Seahawks post a 3-2 record in the event.
- Rowland opened the tournament with a one-hit shutout of Detroit and followed that performance with a complete-game effort against Iona that saw her scatter three hits and two walks in a 2-1 victory.
- She closed the weekend with a relief appearance against Detroit that saw her strike out three in 1.1 innings of work.
Rowland Enters Career Strikeout Chart
Sophomore hurler Casey Rowland recently moved into the program’s top 10 list for strikeouts in a career.
- With her 12 strikeouts during the Seahawk Clash in late February, Rowland moved into 10th place on the program’s career strikeouts chart as she surpassed Heather Petroff (162).
- Rowland begins the weekend with 186 career strikeouts and is just 29 k’s away from matching Amanda Wilson (2002-05) for ninth place on the all-time list (215).
The Norton Era Begins With A Win
The Seahawks gave first-year head coach Kristy Norton a victory in her UNCW debut, an 8-0 triumph over Detroit on Feb. 8 in the Seahawk Clash.
- Norton became the first UNCW head coach to win her inaugural game since Melissa Jarrell posted a 6-5 victory over Drexel to begin the 2002 season.
The Run Game
- The Seahawks are 58-16-1 since the start of the 2008 season when they score five or more runs in a game.
- UNCW is 5-1 this season when plating five or more runs in a game. The only loss under such circumstances came in a 13-10 setback to Savannah State during the Florida Lipton Invitational on Feb. 16.
- The Seahawks are 11-153 since the start of the 2008 season when they are held to two or fewer runs in a game.
- UNCW is 1-8 in 2013 when plating two runs or less in a game. The Seahawks lone win when scoring two run or less came in a 2-1 victory over Iona in the UNCW Beach Blast on Feb. 8.
UNCW returns home March 16 to host USC Upstate in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Boseman Field.