CAA Softball Report | Apr. 19, 2022
CAA Softball Report | Apr. 19, 2022
Catch up on the CAA Softball weekly news, notes, and awards.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Hanna Garber, Delaware
Senior | Third Base | Lancaster, Pa. / Lampeter-Strasburg
Garber led Delaware to its third straight CAA series victory, posting a .500 batting average with five runs scored and one run batted in. Garber recorded multiple hits in all three games against Towson, hitting 6-for-12 in the series with three extra-base knocks. The senior third baseman has reached base safely in 12 straight games following her effort over the weekend. Garber went 2-for-5 with a triple and two runs scored, helping the Blue Hens take game two of the series. She followed the performance, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double, walk, and two runs scored to secure the series win in the weekend finale.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Nikki Mullin, Hofstra
Junior | San Diego, Calif. / Cathedral Catholic
Mullin went 2-0 in the circle, picking up both winning decisions in a conference series victory over UNCW. The junior right-hander totaled 12.0 innings and posted a 1.75 ERA with six strikeouts in her two starts. In the series opener, Mullin tossed a complete game, scattering four hits, allowing two earned runs and collecting six strikeouts. Additionally, she started the series finale, giving Hofstra 5.0 solid innings of work as the Pride clinched its fourth straight CAA series victory.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
Chloe Hatzopoulos, Elon
Freshman | Outfield | Huntersville, N.C. / Mountain Island Charter School
Hatzopoulos hit .444 (4-9) with two home runs, four RBIs and three runs scored as Elon earned a CAA series sweep over Drexel. The freshman outfielder recorded at least one hit in all three games and added a 1.111 slugging percentage throughout the weekend. In the series opener, Hatzopoulos went 1-for-2, recording a two-run home run that proved to be the difference in a 4-2 win. Hatzopoulos closed out the series with a 1-for-3 performance, hitting a go-ahead two-run homer to help the Phoenix clinch the series sweep.
Charleston (9-30, 3-8 CAA): The Cougars went 2-3 as Charleston split a mid-week doubleheader with Winthrop before winning the opening game of its series against JMU. Mia Dittoe paced the Cougars’ lineup, hitting .333 and recording one hit in all five games. She extended her hitting streak to seven games and added a pair of runs. Shealyn Starks matched a team-high with five hits, posting a .313 batting average for the week. Additionally, she recorded a team-best four RBIs and scored two runs. In the circle, Payton Lemire picked up both winning decisions, posting a 2-1 record. Lemire threw a team-high 17.2 innings and accumulated a 3.96 ERA. She allowed just one earned run combined in her two wins. Charleston will host Charleston Southern for a doubleheader on Wednesday before heading to UNCW for three games this weekend.
Delaware (26-12, 9-3 CAA): The Blue Hens took two of three from Towson to win their third straight CAA series. The Garber sisters led Delaware at the plate, recording six hits apiece. Hanna hit .500 and scored a team-best five runs, while Julz hit .600, posting multi-hit games in all three games of the series. Brittney Mendoza (.300) and Kailey Christian (.400) recorded five RBIs apiece to pace the Blue Hens, with Mendoza adding four runs scored. In the circle, Emily Winburn appeared in all three games, going 2-0 with a 3.28 ERA. Winburn totaled a team-high 10.2 innings of work, collecting 10 strikeouts in her appearances. Delaware visits Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday before hosting Hofstra for a three-game conference series over the weekend.
Drexel (20-15, 4-8 CAA): Drexel took both games of a mid-week doubleheader against UMES before dropping three straight to Elon. Jackie Masone hit a team-best .375, posting a .474 on-base percentage with a team-high six hits. Masone hit a pair of home runs, recording three RBIs and four runs scored throughout the week. Ashley Errico (.300) led the team with five RBIs, while Sarah Clinton (.267) had a team-best five runs scored and two stolen bases. Kristi DiMeo recorded hits in four of the five games. She leads the CAA hitting .414, and has at least one hit in 30 of 35 games this season. Meghan Conroy and Jessica Schable picked up wins in the circle for the Dragons. Schable posted a 1.40 ERA in 5.0 innings of work, and Conroy tossed 7.2 innings with a 3.65 ERA. Drexel plays Villanova on Tuesday and Penn on Wednesday before hosting JMU this weekend.
Elon (23-18, 6-6 CAA): The Phoenix earned a CAA series sweep, taking all three games from Drexel last weekend. The Elon pitching staff allowed just two earned runs throughout the series. McKenna McCard tossed a team-high 7.2 innings, posting a 1-0 record and 0.91 ERA with 10 strikeouts, holding the opposition to a .120 batting average. Alexa Nemeth appeared in all three games, going 2-0 with a 1.24 ERA and three strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Additionally, McKenzie Webber tossed 4.0 innings without allowing an earned run. At the plate, Drew Menscer paced Elon with a .500 (4-8) batting average and .636 on-base percentage. Chloe Hatzopoulos hit .444 (4-9) throughout the series, recording two home runs and team-highs with four RBIs and three runs scored. The Phoenix returns to action this weekend as Elon visits Towson for a three-game series.
Hofstra (15-21, 8-3 CAA): The Pride won their fourth straight CAA series, taking two of three from UNCW after dropping a mid-week contest to Fordham. In the circle, Nikki Mullin posted a 2-0 record, picking up both winning decisions for the Pride. She pitched 12.0 innings, recording a 1.75 ERA with six strikeouts in her two appearances. At the plate, Meghan Giordano stayed hot, hitting a team-best .455 (5-11) and producing a .571 on-base percentage. Giordano led the team with five RBIs and tallied three runs scored. Chelsea Manto recorded a hit in all four games last week, posting a .333 batting average. She scored four runs, stole two bases and knocked in a pair of runs. Amanda Maffucci also recorded four hits (.308) and matched a team-high with four runs scored. Up next, Hofstra will head on the road for a three-game series against Delaware over the weekend.
James Madison (18-21, 7-5 CAA): JMU dropped a pair of games to Duke before taking two of three from Charleston in a CAA series. Lauren Bernett led the Dukes, hitting .583 with two home runs, 10 RBIs and four runs scored. Six of her seven hits came in JMU’s two wins in addition to all 10 RBIs and four runs scored. Hannah Shifflett recorded at least one hit in all five games, matching a team-high with seven hits. Additionally, Shifflett had a team-high seven runs scored and hit .467 for the week. Jasmine Hall posted a team-high .647 on-base percentage while hitting .455. Hall drew five walks and scored five runs through the week. JMU returns to action this weekend, visiting Drexel for three games.
UNCW (25-10, 7-5 CAA): The Seahawks dropped their first conference series this spring, falling to Hofstra two games to one. Skylar Stockton went 4-for-8 (.500) at the plate, recording a pair of multi-hit performances. Mackenzie Amodeo matched a team-high with four hits, hitting .444 for the series with two RBIs and two runs scored. Morgan Britt hit .333 (2-6) and posted a .556 on-base percentage. Britt drew three walks, stole a pair of bases and scored two runs. In the circle, Kara Hammock led the way, going 1-1 with a 2.62 ERA and seven strikeouts in 8.0 innings pitched. Emily Winstead added nine strikeouts in her 6.0 innings of work. UNCW will look to get back on track this weekend as the Seahawks welcome Charleston to Wilmington for a three-game set.
Towson (13-25, 3-9 CAA): The Tigers went 1-3, falling to George Mason in non-conference competition before dropping two of three to Delaware. Chloe Poulich hit a team-best .636, recording seven hits in 11 at-bats, in addition to a .714 on-base percentage. Poulich also had a team-high four RBIs, recorded at least one hit in all four games, and had three multi-hit performances. Briana Ramirez also recorded three multi-hit games, posting a .462 batting average (6-13) last week. Sydni Byers tallied hits in all three games of the conference series, hitting .500 (4-8) overall and adding three RBIs. In the circle, Julia Jackson tossed a team-high 13.0 innings, picking up the lone winning decision for the Tigers. Towson will host four home games this week, entertaining UMBC on Wednesday before welcoming in Elon for a three-game series over the weekend.
CLOSE AT THE TOP
• Delaware maintained a one-game lead over Hofstra in the win column after both teams earned series wins last weekend. Delaware has won three straight CAA series, while the Pride is the only team to win their first four conference series. One of those streaks will come to an end this weekend as the Blue Hens host Hofstra for a three-game series over the weekend. UNCW and JMU are tied at 7-5 following the top two teams, while Elon has improved to 6-6 after two straight series wins. All eight CAA teams have won at least three conference games through their first four conference series.
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 .408 career batting average with 222 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 broke the NCAA single-inning record for home runs with six in the fifth of game two against Radford on March 22. The Dukes lead the CAA with 58 homers this spring and rank 14th in the NCAA in home runs per game (1.49).
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 (1.92) and is the only team below 2.00 while ranking second in batting average (.286) and third in field percentage (.963).
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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