March 12, 2010
CULLOWHEE, N.C. - Western Carolina softball (3-12) opens Southern Conference play, and will host its first home games of the season, when the Catamounts welcome the Elon Phoenix (11-4) to the Catamount Softball Complex Saturday and Sunday. The doubleheader begins at 1 p.m. Saturday and the single game is at 1 p.m. Sunday.
The Catamounts have played their first 15 games on the road, and will enjoy a three-game home stint, before playing at Georgia Southern on March 20-21. Western Carolina is coming off a pair of losses to USC Upstate on March 9. The club is currently on a seven-game losing streak after winning three straight at the North Carolina Central Tournament on March 27-28.
Western Carolina is led by freshman Jordan Fulton who has a .326 batting average. She also paces the club with 14 hits. She is followed by sophomore shortstop Chelsea Schaffer who has a .325 batting average and has 14 hits, scored 10 runs, leads the team with two homeruns and also has six RBI.
On the mound, Western Carolina is led by freshman hurler Amber Steinhardt, who has two of the Catamounts' wins this season. She is currently 2-3 with a 5.48 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 38.1 innings pitched. Junior Chere Monday has the third Catamount win of the season and has a 1-3 record in 15.1 innings of work.
The Catamounts are facing an Elon squad coming off a split with Eastern Kentucky. The Phoenix are led by Emerald Graham with a .426 batting average and also tops the club with three homeruns. Pitcher Erin O'Shea leads the team with a 5-1 record and a 2.22 ERA, and 24 strikeouts in 41.0 innings.
Western Carolina and Elon did not meet in the regular season in 2009, as the games were cancelled due to inclement weather. In the first round of the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament, the Catamounts defeated the Phoenix, 4-1, to advance to the second round. This is the 11th meeting between the two schools, with Elon leading 6-4.