GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro faces Mercer (22-24, 7-4) on the road in a Southern Conference weekend series beginning with a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. and concluding Sunday at 1 p.m. Each game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Five Facts to Know
- Only two games separate the first and fourth place teams in the SoCon standings heading into the weekend. Samford leads the race for the regular season title at 10-4. Mercer and UNCG are both a game and a half behind (7-4), and Chattanooga (7-5) is a half-game behind them. The Bulldogs have a bye this weekend while the Mocs face ETSU in Johnson City, Tenn.
- Marisa Sholtes ranks fourth in career home runs (37) in program history after hitting a two-run homer in the sixth inning against Louisiana to move ahead of Penny Thompson (2003-06). Sholtes also tied Danielle Vega (2013-16) for the sixth-most career RBI’s at 118, passing Jennifer Bonilla (2004-07) at 117. Sholtes ranks in the Southern Conference this year second in slugging percentage (.700), third in homers (11), tied for fourth in doubles (nine), fourth in total bases (77) and tied for fifth in RBI’s (31).
- UNCG has been one of the best power-hitting teams in the SoCon, leading the conference in home runs (43), slugging percentage (.437), doubles (63) and total bases (508). In the nation the Spartans are 46th in home runs per game (0.98), 71st in doubles per game (1.43) and 82nd in slugging percentage.
- Stephanie Bryden ranks third all-time in career strikeouts in school history at 497, passing Hannah Angel (2005-09) at 484 two weekends ago. She is also sixth in most career victories at 47, needing one more to tie Amber Watson (2000-03) for fifth.
- Bryden has already recorded the third-most strikeouts in a single season with 190 and is on pace to break the record of 262 by Christine Hornak (1997).
The Spartans This Season
UNCG enters the game with a 25-18 record and seven-game losing streak. The Spartans played their toughest stretch of games in the past week, challenging themselves to four-straight games against teams in the top 30 of the RPI rankings during their bye weekend from SoCon play and the midweek nonconference weekday games: No. 10/11 Louisiana (18th RPI) last Tuesday, a doubleheader last Saturday at No. 15/21 South Carolina (20) and North Carolina (27) at home Wednesday.
Kylie Bouplon and Bryden have been UNCG’s main two pitchers as both have made at least 16 starts and 22 appearances. In the SoCon, Bouplon ranks fifth in ERA (3.04), fourth in strikeouts (73) and sixth in lowest opposing batting average (.269). Bryden leads the league in wins (18), strikeouts, opposing batting average (.214) and is fourth in ERA (2.74) and strikeouts looking (38). In the nation, Bryden ranks 19th in strikeouts, 22nd in wins, 34th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.0) and 44th in strikeouts per seven innings (8.3).
Freshmen Delaney Cumbie has made a big impact for the Spartans. She ranks in the SoCon tied for first in doubles (10), second in on-base percentage (.478) and walks (24), fifth in fielding percentage (.993) and batting average (.343) and sixth in slugging percentage (.571). Makenna Matthijs is third on the team in batting average (.316) and slugging percentage (.526) and tied for first in the conference in doubles with Cumbie and tied for second in runs scored (32).
The two teams have split the 14 games against each other, including a doubleheader last year in Greensboro as rain limited the series to only the two games. Since the Bears entered the SoCon in the 2015 season, they have won seven of 12 games against UNCG.
UNCG starts a four-game homestand next Wednesday against Winthrop at 4 p.m. to conclude the regular season.
-- UNCG –