CAA

CAA Softball Report | Mar. 22, 2022

CAA Softball Report | Mar. 22, 2022

Catch up on the CAA Softball weekly news, notes, and awards.

Mar 22, 2022 by FloSoftball Staff
CAA Softball Report | Mar. 22, 2022

WEEKLY HONORS:

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Chloe Poulich, Towson

Senior | Infield | Greensburg, Pa. / Mount Pleasant HS

Poulich hit .400 (6-15) at the plate with four RBIs and three runs scored, helping Towson to a 3-1 week. In the Tigers’ second game of their doubleheader against Villanova, Poulich was 3-for-4 at the plate, recording an RBI and run despite a one-run setback to the Wildcats. On Saturday, the senior third baseman helped Towson to a 6-3 win over Lafayette, hitting a two-run home run for her second homer of the season. Poulich capped off the weekend, going 2-for-4 with an RBI, run and stolen base against Quinnipiac. Poulich’s RBI single in the sixth tied the game at seven, and Sydni Byers scored on her steal, giving the Tigers the lead as Towson scored six unanswered runs to come back and defeat the Bobcats.

PITCHER OF THE WEEK

Graceyn Frost, Delaware

Freshman | Newark, Delaware / Delaware Military Academy

Frost went 2-0 in the circle, picking up 14 strikeouts without allowing an earned run in 13.0 innings of work for the Blue Hens throughout the week. In the weekend finale, Frost pitched all 8.0 innings in a 3-1 extra-inning win for Delaware over Villanova. She collected a career-high nine strikeouts while allowing just five hits and no earned runs in the performance. On Wednesday, the Newark, Del. native threw 5.0 innings of relief in Delaware’s second game of its doubleheader against Mount St. Mary’s, keeping the Mountaineers off the scoreboard to allow the Blue Hens to earn a comeback victory. Frost limited Mount St. Mary’s to two hits and struck out five in the effort. The freshman righty improved to 7-2 in the circle this season, tying the league-lead for wins.  

ROOKIE OF THE WEEK

Haley Venturini, Hofstra

Freshman | Pitcher | North Scituate, R.I. / Scituate HS

Venturini had a stellar outing in the circle, throwing a complete game with a career-high 12 strikeouts in Hofstra’s weekend finale against Iona. The freshman right-hander scattered five hits without surrendering an earned run as she picked up her second win this season in a 6-1 victory for the Pride. The effort marks her first double-digit strikeout performance of her young career and the second consecutive win for the North Scituate, R.I. native. 

NOTES:

Charleston (5-19, 0-0 CAA): The Cougars fell in a mid-week contest to South Carolina before dropping three to East Carolina over the weekend. Jenna Carter posted a .600 on-base percentage in her three appearances to lead Charleston. Carter went 3-for-7 at the plate and drew three walks, adding three runs scored throughout the week. Mia Dittoe recorded a team-best four hits, including a pair of multi-hit games. Carsten Puckett knocked in four of Charleston’s seven runs throughout the week to lead the Cougars in runs batted in. Charleston will visit Coastal Carolina for a mid-week doubleheader before hosting Drexel to open conference play this weekend. 

Delaware (16-8, 0-0 CAA): The Blue Hens swept Mount St. Mary’s in a mid-week doubleheader before splitting a doubleheader with Villanova on Sunday. Delaware’s pitching staff allowed just six runs throughout the week, holding their opponents to two or fewer in all four games. Graceyn Frost led the way, posting a 2-0 record whilst toeing the rubber. Frost collected 14 strikeouts without allowing an earned run in her 13.0 innings of work. Emily Winburn was the other arm that picked up a win for the Blue Hens, going 1-1 in the circle. Winburn threw 13.0 innings, posting a 2.15 ERA with 12 strikeouts. Frost (7-2) and Winburn (7-5) are tied for the league-lead with seven wins. At the plate, Halle Kisamore went 5-for-11 with three runs scored, while Morgan Olynyk was 4-for-9, recording two RBIs. Delaware will open CAA play this weekend, heading south to face UNCW for a three-game set. 

Drexel (8-6, 0-0 CAA): Drexel split a pair of one-run games over the weekend. The Dragons erased a two-run deficit in the seventh to defeat Stony Brook 5-4 before falling 4-3 on a walk-off in the ninth inning against Rutgers. Megan Trivelpiece was the lone Dragon to pick up a hit in both contests, extending her hitting streak to eight games. Kristi DiMeo recorded two hits against Stony Brook before seeing her 10-game hitting streak come to an end against Rutgers. DiMeo leads the CAA in batting average (.462) and on-base percentage (.574) this season. In the circle, Brooklyn Daly (5-2)recorded the win for the Dragons. Daly threw a complete game, scattering five hits, and picked up a pair of strikeouts to collect her fourth win in a row. Drexel will face Saint Joseph’s in a mid-week clash before heading to Charleston to begin conference play over the weekend. 

Elon (15-12, 0-0 CAA): The Phoenix went 2-3, dropping a pair of games to East Carolina in a mid-week doubleheader before taking two of three against UNCG over the weekend. Gabi Schaal paced the Phoenix lineup, recording team-highs in hits (6), home runs (3), RBIs (5) and runs scored (4). Keagan Goldwait recorded five hits with three RBIs and two runs scored, while Raelyn McGarry tallied four hits with one RBI and one run scored. McKenzie Weber went 1-1 in the circle, picking up the win in Elon’s extra-inning battle with UNCG. She pitched all 10.0 innings, allowing just one earned run in the effort. Weber ranks second in the CAA with a 1.35 ERA this spring. Elon will host NC Central on Tuesday before entertaining Hofstra for a three-game conference series this weekend.   

Hofstra (5-15, 0-0 CAA): The Pride went 2-2 at the Hofstra Invitational, defeating Iona twice and falling to Syracuse twice. Hofstra pitchers turned in a solid weekend led by Annabella Pisapia. Pisapia went 1-1, tossing 10.2 innings without allowing an earned run and striking out 13. She ended up on the wrong end of a losing decision against Syracuse, despite not allowing an earned run in her 3.2 innings of work. Haley Venturini picked up a win against Iona, throwing a complete game against the Gaels. The freshman tallied a career-best 12 strikeouts and did not allow an earned run in the victory. At the plate, Devyn Losco recorded hits in three of the four games, and Chelsea Manto had a pair of multi-hit games. Hofstra will play five games in six days over the next week. The Pride faces Stony Brook on Tuesday and Howard on Thursday before a three-game series with Elon Saturday and Sunday. 

James Madison (8-12, 0-0 CAA):  JMU went 2-2 at the Memphis Tournament, falling to Northwestern State and Memphis on day one and defeating ETSU and Memphis to conclude the weekend. Hannah Shifflett paced the Dukes’ lineup, hitting .353 with four runs scored and three RBIs. Halle Hall also recorded hits in three of the four games while picking up two RBIs and two runs scored. In the circle, Meredith Wells tossed a team-high 12.2 innings and appeared in three of the four contests. Wells went 1-0 on the weekend, posting a 1.65 ERA in her work. James Madison will visit Radford on Tuesday before hosting Towson to open CAA play this weekend. 

UNCW (17-4, 0-0 CAA): The Seahawks played only one game last week, falling to North Carolina 2-0 on Tuesday. Emily Winstead chipped in a solid outing in the circle, allowing just four hits and two earned runs while striking out seven. Despite the effort from Winstead, the Seahawks were no-hit by North Carolina’s Hannah George. Three Seahawks rank top 5 in the CAA in ERA, including Winstead in fourth (1.71). Janel Gamache leads the CAA in the category (0.82), and Amberlyn Pearce is third (1.67). Gamache also ranks fifth in batting average (.367), while Tayler Vitola sits second (.406). UNCW will visit East Carolina on Wednesday before gearing up for its first conference series against Delaware over the weekend.  

Towson (9-13, 0-0 CAA): The Tigers went 3-1, splitting a mid-week doubleheader with Villanova before picking up wins over Lafayette and Quinnipiac at the UMBC Spring Classic. Chloe Poulich paced Towson in the batter’s box, hitting .400 for the week. She recorded one home run, four RBIs and three runs scored. Sydni Byers tallied at least one hit in all four games, hitting .313. Byers picked up three RBIs and three runs scored throughout the week. Julia Jackson was a workhorse in the circle four the Tigers, racking up 19.2 innings of work and appearing in all four contests. Jackson picked up all three wins, going 3-0 on the week. She has won her previous five decisions. Towson will hit the road for four games this week, visiting Mount St. Mary’s on Wednesday before traveling to James Madison for three games over the weekend. 

CAA PLAY GETS UNDERWAY

• All eight teams will open their conference slates this week with four three-game series over the weekend. 

• Three of the four series feature matchups we haven’t seen since 2019 due to the conference’s divisional format last spring. (Drexel at Charleston, Towson at JMU, Delaware at UNCW).

• The top two teams in the conference standings through the early portion of the spring will face off opening weekend as UNCW will host Delaware. The weekend series marks the first time the teams will meet since April of 2019 when UNCW took two of three from the Blue Hens in Newark.   

A CLASS OF HER OWN

• Drexel’s Kristi DiMeo was among the top 30 softball student-athlete candidates selected for the 2022 Senior CLASS award. The honor highlights seniors that show exemplary excellence in four categories: community, classroom, character and competition. As a top candidate, DiMeo will be eligible for the finalist ballot that narrows the pool to 10 candidates for the award’s final vote.

BIG WINS FOR THE BIRDS 

• Delaware has earned three wins over Power Five opponents while Elon has picked up two. 

• The Blue Hens have defeated two Big Ten adversaries, topping Purdue 6-5 in extra innings on Feb. 19 and Penn State 6-4 on Mar. 11. They also earned a convincing 12-4 win over NC State on Feb. 26.  

• On Feb. 16, the Phoenix earned a walk-off win over in-state, ACC foe North Carolina, defeating the Tar Heels 4-3. Last week, Elon earned a 2-0 win over Michigan State out of the Big Ten. 

HOT START DOWN SOUTH

• UNCW has jumped out to an impressive 17-4 start to sit atop the CAA standings. It marks the best start in program history for the Seahawks, who have not lost back-to-back games at any point this season. UNCW has been dominant at the plate and in the circle, ranking first in the CAA in ERA (1.67), batting average (.286) and runs per game (5.9). 

NEW FACES AROUND THE LEAGUE 

• Three CAA teams enter 2022 under new leadership in their head coach position.

• Tracey Lynch takes over at Charleston, where she was an assistant coach during the 2013 season. For the past six years, Lynch served as an Assistant Coach at UNCG.

• The Katie Jansson era of Drexel softball starts in 2022. Jansson arrives at Drexel after three seasons of head coaching duties at her alma matter Iona.

• Adrienne Clark returns to Hofstra after an illustrious career as a student-athlete and assistant coach. During her time as a player and Assistant Coach, Clark won five CAA Championships and 14 NCAA Tournament games.

NEW MEMBERS COMING 2023

• The Colonial Athletic Association announced Hampton, Monmouth, and Stony Brook will join the conference as full members in 2023. Subsequently, CAA Softball will grow from eight teams to ten.  

• Half the league will get a 2023 preview facing the newest members of the CAA this spring. Drexel will face Hampton twice at Hampton’s Pirate Invitational, and see Stony Brook at the Rutgers tournament. Towson will host Monmouth for a pair of games at Towson’s TU Tiger Clash. Hofstra will face Long Island rival Stony Brook in a home-and-home, while Delaware will host Monmouth in a mid-week non-conference matchup.  

2021 SEASON IN REVIEW 

• 2021 was a historic year in CAA Softball as James Madison become the first team in conference history to win an NCAA Super Regional, advance to the WCWS and win a game at the WCWS. 

• JMU won its second consecutive CAA Tournament title following a 17-1 CAA regular season. 

• James Madison’s Odicci Alexander was named the Softball America Player of the Year, in addition to the D1 Softball Women of the Year and was a second-team All-American.

• The JMU coaching staff earned NFCA and D1 Softball Coaching Staff of the Year accolades, while Associate Head Coach Jennifer Herzig was named NFCA Assistant Coach of the Year. 

YEAR FOR THE RECORDS 

• Two of the most storied athletes in CAA Softball history battled each other in the CAA record books throughout the 2021 season.

• Drexel’s Linda Rush finished her career ranked first in the CAA record books in batting average (.426), runs scored (210) and RBIs (245), while she was second in home runs (68) and hits (269). 

• JMU’s Kate Gordan, a three-time conference champion, ended her career as the conference’s all-time leader in home runs (71). Additionally, Gordon ranks second in CAA history in batting average (.407), runs scored (201) and RBIs (200).  

• Rush and Gordon are the only two players in CAA history that have recorded over 200 runs scored, 200 RBIs and 65 home runs. 

2022 PRESEASON RUNDOWN

• We return to a traditional 21-game round-robin format in conference play, with each team playing one three-game series against all conferences teams throughout the season.  

• James Madison was picked atop the CAA preseason poll with six first-place votes and 48 total points. Delaware received one first-place vote and 42 points, while Elon collected the final first-place vote and 35 points to finish second and third, respectively. Fourth through sixth were separated by just six points, as Hofstra tallied 28, Drexel totaled 24, and UNCW accumulated 22. Charleston and Towson rounded out the field with 14 and 11 points, respectively.

• The 2022 CAA Softball Championship is set to take place May 12-14 at Hunt Softball Park on the campus of Elon.