CAA Softball Report | Mar. 29, 2022
CAA Softball Report | Mar. 29, 2022
Catch up on the CAA Softball weekly news, notes, and awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Hannah Shifflett, James Madison
Redshirt Junior | First Base | North Garden, Va. / Monticello
Shifflett had a phenomenal week at the plate, hitting .692 with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored to lead JMU to a 4-1 week, including a CAA series sweep. The Dukes' first baseman recorded hits in all five games and drew six walks, posting a .789 on-base percentage throughout the week. In Tuesday’s second game against Radford, Shifflett went 3-for-3 with two home runs, three RBIs, three runs scored and a walk. Her second home run of the game was the first of JMU’s NCAA record six-home-run inning in the fifth. She was also a perfect 2-for-2 in Saturday’s second game against Towson, recording four RBIs, three runs scored and three walks. Shifflett has recorded a hit in seven straight games and ranks third in the CAA, hitting .410 this season.
CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Kara Hammock, UNCW
Freshman | Mechanicsville, Va. / Atlee
Hammock posted a 2-0 record in 16.1 innings of work with a 2.14 ERA and eight strikeouts in a 3-1 week for UNCW. Hammock started the second game of UNCW’s conference series against Delaware, throwing a complete-game shutout as the Seahawks clinched the series win with a 4-0 victory. The freshman righty allowed just two hits in the contest and picked up one strikeout. Hammock also tossed 3.0 innings of relief in the series finale and did not allow an earned run while scattering a pair of hits. Additionally, she earned the winning decision in a mid-week contest against East Carolina, collecting seven strikeouts in 6.1 innings of work.
CO-PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Haley Venturini, Hofstra
Freshman | North Scituate, R.I. / Scituate HS
Venturini went 2-0 in the circle for the Pride, posting a 2.69 ERA with 15 strikeouts and just one walk in 13.0 innings of work last week. The freshman right-hander tossed a complete game, scattering five hits, allowing one earned run and striking out eight in a 4-1 win over Howard. Venturini also appeared twice in Hofstra’s CAA series against Elon. She picked up a win in the Pride’s second game of the series, tossing 5.0 innings with seven strikeouts, allowing five hits and three earned runs as Hofstra secured the series victory with an 8-7 win over the Phoenix.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Jasmine Hall, James Madison
Freshman | Infield | Granite Falls, N.C. / South Caldwell
Hall joined in on James Madison’s offensive outburst, hitting .533 with five home runs, nine RBIs and five runs scored in a 4-1 week for the Dukes. Hall recorded hits in all five games, including three multi-hit performances. The freshman infielder entered the week with zero career home runs before hitting five in four games last week. Her first career homer came in JMU’s first game against Radford, and her first career multi-home run game came in the series opener against Towson. In the first game against the Tigers, Hall went 2-for-3 with five RBIs and two runs scored. In the series finale, she also was 2-for-3, recording one home run, two RBIs and one run scored.
Charleston (6-21, 1-2 CAA): The Cougars went 1-2 in their opening CAA series against Drexel. After dropping the first two games, Charleston concluded the weekend with a win in the series finale. Natalie Windham hit .400 (4-10) to pace the Charleston lineup, recording a team-high five RBIs. Windham maintains a seven-game hitting streak entering the week after tallying hits in all three games of the series. Payton Wade and Jenna Helberg each recorded three hits in the series, hitting .375 and .333, respectively. All three of Helberg’s hits went for extra bases, including two doubles and a home run, and she drove in four runs. In the circle, Carli McCants went 1-1 for the Cougars pitching a team-high 12.2 innings and collecting 12 strikeouts. Charleston will travel to Furman for a mid-week doubleheader before visiting Hofstra for a three-game series this weekend.
Delaware (17-10, 1-2 CAA): The Blue Hens dropped two of three in their weekend series against UNCW. After falling in the first two games, Delaware bounced back to take the series finale. Graceyn Frost and Emily Winburn combined for all 19.0 innings in the circle. Frost went 1-1, picking up six strikeouts in 13.0 innings, while Winburn posted a 2.33 ERA in her 6.0 innings of work. Brooke Glanden and Julz Garber hit .333 to lead the Blue Hens’ lineup. Glanden recorded a team-best two RBIs and added one run scored. Hanna Garber hit .300 with a team-high three runs scored, also recording a home run and RBI. Hanna Garber leads the CAA in hits (35) and runs scored (26) this spring. Delaware will return home, hosting Monmouth on Wednesday before welcoming Elon to Newark for three games this weekend.
Drexel (11-7, 2-1 CAA): Drexel earned a mid-week win over Saint Joseph’s before taking two of three from Charleston over the weekend. Four Dragons hit .400 or better for the week, led by Ashley Errico batting .538 (7-13). Errico tallied two home runs, five RBIs, five runs scored and a pair of walks throughout the week. Grace Abbonizio hit .500, matching team-highs in hits (7) and runs scored (5). Kristi DiMeo (.438) and Jackie Masone each contributed a team-best six RBIs. Abbonizio and DiMeo recorded hits in all four games for the Dragons. Meghan Conroy went 2-0 in the circle, posting a 2.03 ERA in 10.1 innings of work. Drexel will play five games at home this week, hosting Hartford for a doubleheader on Wednesday before entertaining Towson for three games over the weekend.
Elon (17-14, 1-2 CAA): The Phoenix topped NC Central in a mid-week contest before falling in two of three against Hofstra. Gabi Schaal stayed hot at the plate, hitting .500 with team-highs in hits (7), RBIs (7) and runs scored (5). Schaal has recorded at least one hit in six of her last seven, including four multi-hit games during that stretch. Rebecca Murray hit .429 over the week, with four of her six hits going for extra bases. Murray recorded three doubles and one home run, tallying four runs scored and three RBIs. Carley Davis had at least one hit in all four games, hitting .385 (5-13) with a team-best 5 RBIs. Elon goes on the road this week, heading north to face Delaware for a three-game series this weekend.
Hofstra (8-17, 2-1 CAA): The Pride went 3-2, taking two of three from Elon after a setback to Stony Brook to begin the week and a win over Howard on Thursday. In the circle, Haley Venturini went 2-0, throwing a team-high 13.0 innings. She posted a 2.69 ERA, collecting 15 strikeouts while only allowing one walk. At the plate, Amanda Maffucci and Chelsea Manto recorded at least one hit in all five games. Marrucci had seven hits, posting a team-high .467 batting average. Manto extended her hitting streak to seven games while recording a team-best four runs. Angelina Ioppolo hit .333, matching team-highs with five RBIs and four runs scored. Hofstra will visit Army for a doubleheader on Wednesday before returning home to host Charleston for three games over the weekend.
James Madison (12-13, 3-0 CAA): JMU had an offensive explosion, scoring 53 runs over five games to go 4-1 last week. Hannah Shifflett led three Dukes hitting north of .500 with a .692 batting average (9-13) while tallying 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. Shifflett recorded at least one hit in all five games, extending her hitting streak to seven games. In five of the seven games during that stretch, she has recorded multiple hits. Hallie Hall hit .533 with a team-high 10 hits, recording three home runs, 10 RBIs and eight runs scored. Jasmine Hall rounded out JMU’s top three hitters, posting a .533 batting average (8-15) while slugging 1.533. She recorded five home runs, nine RBIs and five runs scored. In the circle, Alissa Humphrey went 4-0, racking up 22.0 innings pitched. Humphrey recorded 25 strikeouts and posted a 3.82 ERA. JMU will host George Mason for two games on Wednesday before visiting UCNCW for three this weekend.
UNCW (17-4, 0-0 CAA): The Seahawks went 3-1, as they defeated East Carolina in a mid-week contest and took two of three from Delaware. On Wednesday, Mary Sobataka lifted UNCW over East Carolina, going 3-for-4 with a home run, five RBIs and one run scored. Mackenzie Amodeo recorded five hits over three games, hitting a team-best .625 for the week. Tayler Vitola matched a team-high with five hits, recording at least one in all four games while scoring three runs. Morgan Britt had team-highs with five stolen bases and four runs scored while hitting .400 for the week. Kara Hammock made three appearances in the circle, racking up 16.1 innings. Hammock went 2-0 with a 2.14 ERA and eight strikeouts in her work. UNCW will visit NC State on Tuesday before returning home to host James Madison for three games over the weekend.
Towson (9-16, 0-3 CAA): The Tigers dropped all three games of their opening conference series against James Madison. Gracyn Houmis posted a team-best .500 (4-8) batting average, adding two RBIs and one run scored. Mackenzie Lake and Nicole Kidwiler hit .333 for the series. Lake contributed two RBIs, while Kidwiler recorded a hit in all three games, scoring three runs with one RBI. Additionally, Kidwiler has reached base safely in eight straight games following her performance last week. Towson will return home for a mid-week doubleheader against Morgan State before heading back on the road for a three-game series at Drexel this weekend.
JMU JUMPS ON TOP OF CAA STANDINGS
• James Madison earned the lone CAA series sweep during the opening weekend of conference play, defeating Towson in three straight. UNCW continued its impressive start to the season by taking two of three from Delaware. First-year head coaches Katie Jansson of Drexel and Adrienne Clark of Hofstra picked up their first career CAA series wins as the Dragons won two of three at Charleston, and the Pride went 2-1 against Elon.
RISING IN THE RANKS
• Drexel’s Kristi DiMeo continues to climb the CAA career ranks in several categories. The graduate student ranks second in league history in batting average and runs batted in. DiMeo maintains a .411 career batting average with 208 RBIs, ranking behind Drexel alum Linda Rush in both categories (.426/245). DiMeo has also moved into sole possession of third place all-time in career home runs with 48.
HOME RUN DERBY
• James Madison hit 19 home runs over five games last week and broke the NCAA single-inning record for home runs with six in the fifth of game two against Radford on Wednesday. The Dukes lead the CAA with 43 homers this spring and rank 15th in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.52).
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 posted a 20-5 record through its first 25 games this spring. The 2022 team is the fastest UNCW team to reach 20 wins as the Seahawks are off to their best start in program history. UNCW, which has not lost back-to-back games at any point this season, ranks first in the CAA in team ERA (1.95), second in batting average (.287).
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 University.
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