CAA Softball Report | Apr. 5, 2022
CAA Softball Report | Apr. 5, 2022
Catch up on the CAA Softball weekly news, notes, and awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Kristi DiMeo, Drexel
Graduate | First Base | Turnersville, N.J. / Bishop Eustace
At the plate, DiMeo hit .500 (9-18) with 10 RBIs and nine runs scored, leading Drexel to a 4-1 week, including a CAA series win. In the weekend series against Towson, the first baseman recorded at least two hits, one run and one RBI in all three games. Overall, she posted a .667 on-base percentage, hitting .600 (6-10) with five RBIs and five runs scored throughout the conference series. Earlier in the week, DiMeo led the Dragons to an extra-inning win over Hartford with a 3-for-4 performance, recording two home runs, five RBIs and four runs scored in game one of a doubleheader. DiMeo has recorded at least one hit in 20 of 23 games this season and leads the CAA with a .466 batting average.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Emily Winstead, UNCW
Freshman | Bunn, N.C. / Rocky Mount Academy
Winstead had a phenomenal week in the circle, going 2-1 with a 1.44 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 19.1 innings pitched. She started the series opener against JMU, throwing a complete game with nine strikeouts, scattering two hits without allowing an earned run in a 2-1 victory. In the series finale against the Dukes, the freshman righty tallied 12 strikeouts, surrendering just three hits and one earned run in 6.0 innings of work, as UNCW clinched the series victory. Additionally, Winstead had a solid effort, despite a 3-2 loss to NC State on Tuesday. Against the Wolf Pack, she tossed 6.1 innings and struck out seven while allowing three hits. Winstead leads the CAA with a 1.77 ERA while ranking second in the conference with 97 strikeouts this spring.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Jackie Masone, Drexel
Freshman | Shortstop | East Windsor, N.J. / Hightstown
Masone helped Drexel to a 4-1 week, posting a .667 on-base percentage and .625 batting average (10-16), recording seven runs scored and three runs batted in. The freshman shortstop tallied at least one hit in all five games, including a pair of multi-hit performances. In a mid-week doubleheader, Masone racked up seven hits, going 3-for-4 and 4-for-4 in consecutive games. She recorded four runs scored and two runs batted in, leading the Dragons to the doubleheader sweep. Over the weekend, Masone posted a .545 on-base percentage, recording at least one hit and one run scored in all three games against Towson.
Charleston (6-25, 1-4 CAA): The Cougars dropped four games last week, falling to Furman in a mid-week doubleheader before a pair of setbacks to Hofstra. Jenna Helberg continued to stay hot at the plate, hitting .583 for the week. She tallied team-highs with seven hits, including three multi-hit performances, and five RBIs. Helberg recorded at least one hit in all four games to extend her hitting streak to six games. Jenna Carter posted a .500 (5-10) batting average and a team-best .615 OBP. Additionally, Carter had a team-high five runs scored, appearing in three games throughout the week. Charleston has had a tough go with the weather as its last scheduled games have been canceled. The Cougars will turn their attention to a weekend series on the road against Elon.
Delaware (20-11, 4-2 CAA): The Blue Hens earned a CAA series sweep over Elon after dropping a mid-week contest to Monmouth. Hanna Garber, Brooke Glanden and Halle Kisamore topped the Blue Hens with five hits apiece. Kisamore recorded at least one hit in all four games and totaled three RBIs with three runs scored. Garber had a pair of multi-hit performances and added four runs scored, while Glanden recorded three RBIs and two runs scored. In the circle, Emily Winburn went 1-0, pitching a team-high 11.0 innings. She posted a 3.18 ERA while limiting the opposition to a .190 batting average and collected 13 strikeouts in her work. Delaware will travel to Lehigh on Wednesday before hosting Drexel for three games over the weekend.
Drexel (15-8, 4-2 CAA): Drexel went 4-1, earning a doubleheader sweep over Hartford on Wednesday before taking two of three from Towson over the weekend. Jackie Masone topped a red hot Drexel lineup, hitting .625 with a team-high 10 hits. Masone posted a .667 on-base percentage and tallied seven runs scored with three RBIs. Kristi DiMeo hit .500 (9-18) throughout the week, recording team-highs with three home runs, 10 RBIs and nine runs scored. Sarah Clinton followed DiMeo, putting up big numbers with eight RBIs and six runs scored while hitting .368 (7-19). In the circle, Brooklyn Daly went 2-0, recording a team-high 12.0 innings of work. Daly posted a 2.33 ERA with 10 strikeouts in her two appearances. The Dragons have a busy week ahead with seven games on the docket. A pair of doubleheaders on Tuesday and Wednesday before a three-game series at Delaware this weekend.
Elon (17-17, 1-5 CAA): The Phoenix dropped three games against Delaware in a CAA series over the weekend. Rebecca Murray paced Elon at the plate, hitting .600 (6-10) in the series. Murray picked up hits in all three games, leading the Phoenix with six total. Additionally, she recorded a team-best four runs scored and collected a pair of RBIs. Bella Devesa had a solid series in the batter’s box, posting a .444 average (4-9). Carley Davis tallied a team-best three runs batted in for the Phoenix, picking up RBIs in two of the three games. Elon will look to get back on track, hosting four games this week. The Phoenix entertain NC A&T on Wednesday before welcoming Charleston for three games this weekend.
Hofstra (11-18, 4-1 CAA): The Pride went 3-1, splitting a mid-week doubleheader with Army before sweeping a Saturday doubleheader against Charleston. Chelsea Manto led Hofstra at the plate, hitting .500, with a team-high eight hits. Manto recorded at least one hit in all four games, including three multi-hit performances, as she extended her hitting streak to 11 games. Additionally, she paced the team with six runs scored. Kasey Collins, Meghan Giordano and Amanda Maffucci hit .462 for the week, recording six hits apiece. Giordano matched a team-high with four RBIs, while Collins scored four runs and added two RBIs. In the circle, Julia Apsel, Nikki Mullin and Hayley Venturini picked up wins. Venturini posted a 2.33 ERA with seven strikeouts, while Apsel registered a team-high 12.2 innings pitched and 10 strikeouts. Hofstra is back in action this weekend as the Pride travel to James Madison for a three-game series.
James Madison (15-15, 4-2 CAA): JMU swept George Mason in a mid-week doubleheader before, dropping two of three to UNCW in conference play. Alissa Humphrey was impressive in the circle, posting a 0.79 ERA in 17.2 innings of work. Humphrey went 1-1 and picked up a save in four appearances while collecting 22 strikeouts. Meredith Wells and Alexis Bermudez also picked up wins. Wells threw 5.0 innings without allowing an earned run while holding the opposition to a .125 batting average. Bermudez posted a 2.25 ERA in 9.1 innings and recorded seven strikeouts. At the plate, Hannah Shifflett led the way, hitting .400 (6-15) with four home runs, seven RBIs and seven runs scored. The Dukes will visit Virginia on Wednesday before hosting Hofstra for a three-game series this weekend.
UNCW (22-7, 4-2 CAA): The Seahawks dropped a 3-2 heartbreaker to NC State on Tuesday before taking two of three from JMU over the weekend. It marks the first series win for UNCW over the Dukes since 2006. The Seahawk pitching staff was terrific, led by Emily Winstead, who posted a 2-1 record with a 1.45 ERA in 19.1 innings of work. Winstead held the opposition to a .123 batting average allowing no more than three hits in any of her three starts. She also recorded 28 strikeouts and has seven or more in nine of her last 10 appearances. Additionally, Kara Hammock threw 6.2 with a 1.05 ERA, allowing just four hits while striking out five. She was on the wrong end of a one-run loss but picked up a save in her work. Mary Sobataka and Janel Gamache each hit .400, going 4-for-10 from the plate. Gamache had a matched a team-high two runs scored, joining Morgan Britt and Anna Knox. Britt also led the Seahawks with two RBIs. Next, UNCW will gear up for a three-game series at Towson over the weekend.
Towson (11-19, 1-5 CAA): The Tigers went 2-3, splitting a mid-week doubleheader with Morgan State before collecting their first CAA win of the year against Drexel. Briana Ramirez hit a team-best .429 throughout the week, with team-highs in hits (6) and runs scored (5). She recorded at least one hit in all five games last week. Mackenzie Lake and Sydni Byers recorded four RBIs apiece to lead the Tigers. Lake hit .357 (5-14) and added a pair of runs scored. Julia Jackson continued to be the Tigers’ workhorse in the circle. Jackson went 2-1, racking up 19.2 innings last week. She posted a 3.56 ERA with nine strikeouts over her three starts. Towson is set to host Georgetown for a doubleheader on Wednesday before welcoming UNCW for three this weekend.
COMPETITIVE RACE SHAPING UP
• Through two weekends of conference play, five teams have collected at least four wins in CAA action. Hofstra sits atop the list at 4-1 (.800), while UNCW and Drexel have also won their first two conference series, posting 4-2 (.667) records. Delaware and JMU are the only teams to earn a conference sweep through the first two weeks as both teams maintain a 4-2 (.667) conference mark.
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 .414 career batting average with 218 RBIs, ranking behind Drexel alum Linda Rush in both categories (.426/245). DiMeo is also third all-time in the CAA in career home runs with 51.
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 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 ranks first in the CAA in team ERA (1.87) and is the only team below 3.00 while ranking second in batting average (.283) and third in field percentage (.965).
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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