2023 Towson vs Delaware - Doubleheader

CAA Softball Matchups Of The Week: Race For Tourney Seeds, Bids Heats Up

CAA Softball Matchups Of The Week: Race For Tourney Seeds, Bids Heats Up

Time keeps ticking, and depending which CAA softball program you’re talking about, there’s a chance time can’t tick fast or slowly enough.

Apr 21, 2023 by Briar Napier
CAA Softball Matchups Of The Week: Race For Tourney Seeds, Bids Heats Up

Time keeps ticking, and depending which Colonial Athletic Association softball program you’re talking about, there’s a chance time can’t tick fast or slowly enough.

Three weekend series remain before the league’s postseason gets underway and a bid to the NCAA Tournament will be up for grabs. Some teams are sitting pretty and have trips to the conference tournament all but locked down. Others are sweating out the days to come.

There’s ground to make up all around, and there’s only a few CAA games left to go to pick up the slack. 

With tension throughout the standings – from the regular-season championship race to the fight to be one of the last seeds that make it to the postseason – the matchups mean that much more.

The objective is simple as the games dwindle: make moves or get left behind in a cloud of dirt.

Here’s a look at the games to watch across the CAA schedule this week, with matchups throughout the conference schedule being streamed live on FloSoftball.

Towson Vs. Delaware

With five CAA wins in a row (and eight wins in its past 10 league games) entering the weekend, Towson, in a couple of weeks, has gone from middling in the heart of the league standings to announcing that it’s here to contend toward the top of the pecking order. 

And, this week, the Tigers are going right at the top dog. 

Towson swept North Carolina A&T over the weekend in its last conference series to jump up to third in the league.

An upcoming series against league-leading Delaware gives Towson a massive chance to keep that positive mojo going and throw a wrench into the Blue Hens’ plans to be the CAA’s top seed for postseason play. 

If hot streaks on the Tigers’ roster continue, such as the one junior Cori Jones (the recently named CAA Player of the Week after batting 6-for-10 with eight RBIs) is on, it could make Towson a dangerous player, spoiler and maybe even contender, as the regular season reaches its climax. 

Still, until further notice, UD reigns supreme. 

The Blue Hens won their series against Drexel over the weekend, and though they missed out on a sweep that would’ve improved their standing atop the CAA, title rivals Elon and UNC Wilmington beating up on each other helped secure a little more breathing room. 

Also, news flash: Emily Winburn is playing out of her mind at the moment. 

The senior right-hander from Florida took home her fifth (solo or shared) CAA Pitcher of the Week award Monday after another torrid stretch of games. She threw 12 innings across two outings against the Dragons, allowing no runs on five hits. 

Seemingly locked into being one of (if not the) favorite to win the CAA Pitcher of the Year award, Winburn has delivered essentially every time Delaware has needed her. With the white-hot Tigers coming to town, she’ll be needed again.

Elon Vs. Hofstra

As noted in last week’s Matchups of the Week piece, the Elon-UNCW series between the two closest challengers at that time to Delaware was going to be a series in which it was unlikely either team was going to come out of it completely unscathed. 

Sure enough, the series wasn’t a sweep, but the Phoenix did critically take 2-of-3 to stay within a game of the Blue Hens and keep within striking distance. A poor weekend from UD could come to Elon’s major benefit. 

Such a weekend very well could arrive in the next few days, as Delaware tries to shoo away Towson. If the Blue Hens slip up, Elon is next in line to take advantage. 

Such a move up won’t be easy when Hofstra is next on the docket, however. 

Though under .500 overall for the year, the Pride have been more than solid in CAA play at 10-5 as of Wednesday evening, though there is the arguable caveat that four of their five league series to this point have come against programs ranked in the bottom five spots in the CAA standings. 

Elon (in second place in the CAA) undoubtedly is a step up, and if Hofstra shows some additional competitive fire and proves it’s more than just taking advantage of weaker opponents, it could make the pride notable as a team to watch as the regular season winds down. 

Coming off of a 4-0 week in which it swept Hampton and took down two-time defending BIG EAST tournament champion Villanova, who knows how high Hofstra can really go. 

One more thing to note: Elon and Hofstra have the year’s CAA’s RBI leaders in the Pride’s Meghan Giordano (37) and Phoenix’s Claudia Penny, who have specialized in ripping rotations to shreds and breaking open games for their teams. 

So, if you’re scrolling through the FloSoftball slate this weekend and want to watch a series in which trips around the basepaths happen often, check out this series.

Drexel Vs. Monmouth

Why does this series between two CAA softball programs anchored closer to the bottom of the league standings matter so much, exactly? 

For starters, with only eight of the conference’s 11 teams guaranteed a spot in the 2023 CAA Softball Championship – which will be streamed in its entirety on FloSoftball from May 9-13 – every victory by those on, or around, the cutoff line could prove vital to postseason qualification. 

The final two spots, currently held by Monmouth and A&T in seventh and eighth place, respectively, likely are to have the most heated battles throughout the regular season’s final few weeks, as sixth-place Charleston (with a 9-6 CAA record as of Wednesday evening) is much closer to the side of safety than the drop zone. 

Enter this weekend’s series between the Hawks and the Dragons in New Jersey, where Monmouth will play the role of the hunted, and Drexel will be the hunter. 

Playing in its first CAA season after moving in the offseason from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, credit is due to Monmouth for recovering well after a horrid 0-12 start to the year. 

Monmouth has collected seven wins, but six have come in conference play. The Hawks have set themselves up to have a fighting chance at competing for a bid to the NCAA Tournament. 

Sophomore pitcher Billie Kerwood is one of the most overlooked players in the conference and a threat to whatever lineup she’s up against, evidenced by the fact that she leads the CAA in strikeouts with 126 in just 107 2/3 innings pitched, but she holds just a 4-13 record on the year, despite a 2.99 ERA. The main culprit is that the Hawks have heavy offensive struggles. 

For Drexel, the Monmouth series gives the Dragons an opportunity to get back on the right side of the conference tournament bubble. Since winning their opening series of the year against A&T, the Dragons have gone 2-9 in league games. 

Keep an eye on sophomore Lily Meunick and her outings this weekend, particularly after a three-hit, two-RBI performance in a nonconference loss Wednesday to Penn.