GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro softball faces ETSU (19-23-2, 5-9) on Senior Day weekend with the Southern Conference Regular Season Championship on the line. The series begins with a doubleheader Friday at 1 p.m. and concludes with the series finale Saturday at 2 p.m. The Spartans’ two seniors, Stephanie Bryden and Marisa Sholtes, will be honored before Saturday’s game.
SoCon Regular Season Championship Scenarios
- Looking for its third-straight SoCon Regular Season Championship, UNCG is tied with Samford for first-place at 10-4, a game and a half ahead of Chattanooga (9-6). The Bulldogs will travel to the Mocs for their series, which starts Saturday at 7 p.m. Samford has the tiebreaker over UNCG due to winning the series in Greensboro, and the Spartans own the tiebreaker against Chattanooga with the road sweep of the Mocs. The three teams will not finish in a three-way tie for first-place. Assuming all three teams play all three games this weekend, UNCG can win the SoCon Regular Season Championship and the No. 1 seed for the conference tournament two ways:
- Sweep ETSU, and Samford loses at one game.
- Win two of three against ETSU and Samford losses twice.
Five Facts to Know
- Marisa Sholtes ranks fourth in career home runs (39) in program history and needs just one more homer to tie Katelyn Bedwell (2011-14) for third place after hitting a pair of homers in a doubleheader last Saturday. She ranks second in career slugging percentage (.667) and sixth in career RBIs with 127. She is also tied for the sixth-most homers (13) by a Spartan in a single-season with Penny Thompson (2002), Lindsay Thomas (2014), Nicole Thomas (2014) and teammate Jordan Gontram (2018).
- Sholtes ranks in the SoCon tied for first in doubles (10), second in slugging percentage (.696) and homers, tied for third in total bases (87) and fourth in RBI’s (36). In the nation she is 31st in homers per game (0.32).
- UNCG has been one of the best power-hitting teams in the league, leading it in homers (51), slugging percentage (.442), doubles (67), RBI’s (207) and total bases (560) in addition to walks (156). In the nation the Spartans are 42nd in home runs per game (1.06), 74th in slugging percentage and 82nd in doubles per game (1.40).
- Stephanie Bryden ranks third all-time in career strikeouts in school history at 513, becoming the third Spartan to reach the 500-strikeout plateau. She moved ahead of Amber Watson (2000-03) for the fifth-most career wins in program history at 49 last Sunday.
- Bryden has already recorded the third-most strikeouts in a single season with 206 and has a chance to break the record of 262 by Christine Hornak (1997). She is tied with volunteer coach Alicia Bazonski (2018) for the eighth-most wins in a single-season with 20.
The Spartans This Season
UNCG enters the game with a 28-19 overall record. Last weekend the Spartans swept Mercer on the road. UNCG wrapped up road SoCon play with a perfect 9-0 record with three series sweeps, becoming the second team in program history to be undefeated in road league play (8-0 in the Big South in 1995).
Kylie Bouplon and Bryden have been UNCG’s main two pitchers as both have made at least 18 starts and 24 appearances and have combined to place the Spartans 21st in the country in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.33). In the SoCon, Bouplon ranks fourth in strikeouts (79), fifth in ERA (3.27) and sixth in lowest opposing batting average (.277). Bryden leads the league in wins, strikeouts, opposing batting average (.212) and is second in strikeouts looking (42) and fourth in ERA (2.70). In the nation, Bryden ranks 20th in strikeouts, 23rd in wins, 29th in strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.28), 43rd in strikeouts per seven innings (8.2), 84th in walks allowed per seven innings (1.55) and 99th in hits allowed per seven innings (5.65).
Freshmen Delaney Cumbie and Gabi Howard have made big impacts for the Spartans. Cumbie ranks in the SoCon tied for first in doubles (10), second in walks (28) and on-base percentage (.483), fifth in fielding percentage (.990), sixth in slugging percentage (.570) and tied for seventh in batting average (.333). Howard leads the league in walks (29), is tied for sixth in homers (eight) and eighth in on-base percentage (.429).
UNCG has had the clear edge in the all-time series with a 25-7 record against ETSU. Under head coach Janelle Breneman, the Spartans have won 14 of the 15 meetings against the Buccaneers. Last year, UNCG swept the series in Johnson City, Tenn. with a pair of shutouts (2-0 and 1-0) and defeated ETSU twice in the SoCon Tournament, including the championship game to send the Spartans to the NCAA Regionals.
UNCG will head to Chattanooga for this year’s edition of the SoCon Tournament, which kicks off with the first round Wednesday at 10 a.m.
-- UNCG –