GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG softball goes on the road for a Southern Conference weekend series against ETSU, beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. The series finale will be on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Live stats will be available at UNCGSpartans.com, but there won’t be a live stream for any of the games.
The Spartans enter the weekday matchup with a 32-8 record. After UNCG split a home doubleheader against Mercer on Sunday, the Spartans easily took a home doubleheader on Tuesday against Presbyterian, winning 11-1 and 8-0 in five innings both games. UNCG earned the season sweep of the Blue Hose after winning its season-opener against them 14-0 in five innings as well.
At the plate UNCG had eight doubles and three homers in the two games. In the circle Alicia Bazonski threw her ninth complete game of the season and allowed no earned runs, one hit and two walks with four strikeouts. Hannah Stiltner threw a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts and two walks in her third complete game.
UNCG and Mercer remained tied atop the SoCon standings with 7-1 conference records heading into the fourth week of league play. Both teams are 2.5 games ahead of third-place Chattanooga (5-4), and ETSU (1-7) sits in sixth-place six games behind.
The Spartans will head out of the state of North Carolina for the first time since March 4, a span of 21 games. UNCG has played 14 home games during that stretch and faced four in-state opponents on the road. This season UNCG owns an 9-1 record against teams in North Carolina by a combined score of 63-23.
UNCG has had the clear advantage in the all-time series against ETSU with a 21-7 record. Under head coach Janelle Breneman, the Spartans have won 10 of the 11 meetings against the Buccaneers.
This season the Spartans have had one of the top offenses in the SoCon. They lead the league in slugging percentage (.473), on-base percentage (.386), runs scored (227), RBIs (213), home runs (40), doubles (62), walks (120), hit by pitches (48) and sacrifice flies (13). They also rank second in sacrifice bunts (32), batting average (.292) and hits (303). In the nation UNCG places 26th in doubles per game (1.55), 28th in home runs per game (1.0), 33rd in slugging percentage, 35th in scoring, 48th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.48) and 63rd in batting average.
Marisa Sholtes ranks among the top batters in the conference, leading in slugging percentage (.718), runs (34), home runs (11) and RBIs (35). She is second in on-base percentage (.469) and hits (42), third in batting average (.359) and walks (20) and fifth in doubles (nine). Jasmine Palmer also ranks among the top hitters in the league: first in hit by pitches (13), tied for second in runs scored (32), third in hits (41), tied for third in doubles (11), sixth in batting average (.328) and eighth in on-base percentage (.415).
The three-time player of the week Makenna Matthijs also places among the top hitters in the league so far this season. She ranks first in doubles (13) and also 24th in the nation, tied for first in sac bunts (eight), tied for third in RBIs (30) and hits (38), fourth in batting average (.345) and runs (30), tied for fifth in walks (17), seventh in on-base percentage (.420) and ninth in slugging percentage (.529).
Just like their offense, the Spartans’ pitching ranks among the best in the conference in several categories: first in ERA (1.84), opposing batting average (.203) and least amount of sacrifice bunts (16) and home runs (15) allowed, second in strikeouts (247) and saves (four) and third in strikeouts looking (50). Overall in the nation UNCG ranks 21st in ERA. UNCG also has the top fielding percentage (.969) in the league that’s 45th in Division I.
Bazonski and Stephanie Bryden have been one of the best one-two combos in the league. In the nation Bazonski enters the weekend 50th in ERA (1.53) while Bryden is 28th (1.26). On a team-high 20 starts and 109.2 innings pitched, Bazonski ranks second in ERA and wins (14), tied for third in saves (two), fourth in strikeouts (79), fifth in lowest opposing batting average (.214) and tied for eighth in strikeouts looking (17).
In 21 appearances, 10 starts and 94.1 innings pitched, Bryden leads the league in ERA, opposing batting average (.149), least amount of home runs given up (two), games in relief (13) and games finished (11) and is second in strikeouts (124), third in wins (13) and fourth in strikeouts looking (23). Per seven innings, she ranks 15th in hits (3.56) and 21st in the nation in strikeouts (9.2).
ETSU brings a 13-20 overall record into the weekend. The Bucs were swept last weekend by Furman and Mercer the series before. ETSU split a pair of home games against Samford to start SoCon play. All but one loss has been by three runs or less.
The Bucs rank in the bottom half of almost every hitting, pitching and fielding category. ETSU is fifth in batting average (.262) and slugging percentage (.380) and sixth in on-base percentage (.327) and runs (127). In the circle the Bucs rank third in walks (82), fourth in strikeouts (151) and fifth in ERA (4.12) and opposing batting average (.277).
Freshman outfielder/infielder Lauren Lee leads the team in batting average (.316) and has stolen seven bases in nine attempts. Junior outfielder/right-handed pitcher Tiffany Laughren leads the team in slugging percentage (.533), homers (six) and doubles (six) and is second in walks (12). Freshman outfielder Kelly Warren has the second-highest batting average (.309) and is a team-high 16-17 in stolen base attempts.
Senior right-hander Madison Ogle has started multiple games in the last two SoCon series and leads the team in appearances (21), starts (19), complete games (11), innings pitched (111.0) and ERA (2.52). Ogle owns a 9-10 record with 96 strikeouts, 47 walks and a .236 opposing batting average. Sophomore right-hander Kelly Schmidt has been the other primary starter with eight starts in 16 appearances and 45.2 innings pitched. Schmidt sports a 5.52 ERA, 2-5 record, 32 strikeouts to 15 walks and .303 opposing batting average.
-- UNCG –