|Softball Preview: George Mason|
WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW softball team hits the road for its first conference road trip of the season as it travels to George Mason this weekend for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at the George Mason Softball Complex.
The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday starting at Noon before wrapping up their series Sunday with a single game at Noon.
Live stats will be available for all three games of the series can be accessed by clicking here ... Fans can also keep up with the UNCW softball program by checking out the program's Facebook (UNCW Softball) and Twitter (@UNCWsoftball) accounts or the department's Facebook (UNCWsports) and Twitter (@UNCWAthletics) pages.
· UNCW (10-16; 0-2 CAA) opened CAA play last weekend at home with a pair of losses to defending league champion Hofstra.
· The Pride won the series opener, 11-0, before taking the nightcap by an 8-4 margin. The final game of the series was washed out due to heavy rains.
· Senior Lauryn Buckworth remains the team’s top threat at the plate, hitting .353 with a team-high 24 hits and 14 RBI. Buckworth has reached base safely in 24 of 26 games played this season.
· Buckworth is one of three players hitting above .300 for the season for the Seahawks as junior transfers Morgan McCann and KC Shue are batting .317 and .303, respectively.
· Sophomore Casey Rowland anchors a balanced rotation that has seen all four pitchers spend 10 or more innings in the circle this season. Rowland has made a team-high 16 appearances and 12 starts. She has fashioned a 6-7 record and has recorded a team-high 67 strikeouts in 76.0 innings pitched.
· UNCW has fared well in one-run contests this season as they are 3-3 in games decided by a single run. The Seahawks have dropped each of their last three one-run affairs, however, including a one-run decision to USC Upstate two weekends ago at Boseman Field.
· The Seahawks have done a majority of their damage at the plate in the fifth inning as UNCW has plated 35 of its 109 runs scored this season in that frame and holds a 35-12 advantage in runs scored in that inning.
· UNCW is 10-2 this season when it records as many or more hits and its opponent. Both of the Seahawks losses under such circumstances have come when the squad has matched its opponent in the hit department.
· Junior Camry Wagner is the only player that has started all 26 games this season for the Seahawks. Five other players have been in the starting lineup for 20 or more contests.
Scouting George Mason
· George Mason (7-20; 0-3 CAA) enters the weekend looking to halt a losing skid that reached four games with a 5-2 setback to Georgetown on Wednesday at the George Mason Softball Complex.
· Brooke Blankenship paces the Patriots lineup with a .316 batting average and 25 hits. Blankenship has driven in 21 runs; accounting for exactly one-third of the team’s runs batted in this season (63).
· Mason has relied upon deep rotation of pitchers as five hurlers have spent more than 24 innings in the circle this season. Casey Herring has made a team-high 12 appearances and eight starts in the circle for the Patriots, recording a team-best 30 strikeouts in 43.1 innings pitched.
· Joe Verbanic is in his eighth season as head coach of the Patriots. Verbanic took over the program after five seasons as assistant coach at San Diego State University.
Series Notes Versus George Mason
· UNCW trails in the all-time series with George Mason by a 21-28 margin.
· The Patriots have controlled the series of late, winning five of the last six meetings between the two programs. Mason took two of three from UNCW in their three-game series last season at Boseman Field, winning the first two games of the series before the Seahawks rallied to take the finale in extra innings.
· UNCW was swept in its last visit to the George Mason Softball Complex, closing out the 2011 season with three straight losses to the Patriots.
Rowland Named CAA Pitcher-of-the-Week
UNCW sophomore hurler Casey Rowland was named CAA Pitcher-of-the-Week on Feb. 11.
· A native of Albany, N.Y., Rowland went 2-0 in three appearances in the season-opening UNCW Beach Blast Feb. 8-10. She struck out 12 in 13.1 innings while limiting opponents to a .114 batting average as she helped the Seahawks post a 3-2 record in the event.
· Rowland opened the tournament with a one-hit shutout of Detroit and followed that performance with a complete-game effort against Iona that saw her scatter three hits and two walks in a 2-1 victory.
· She closed the weekend with a relief appearance against Detroit that saw her strike out three in 1.1 innings of work.
Matkins Nabs CAA Rookie Honor
· Freshman outfielder Taylor Matkins was named CAA Co-Rookie-of-the-Week, league officials announced on Tuesday.
· Matkins fashioned a .500 (6-of-12) batting average with four RBI and four runs scored in helping UNCW to a 4-1 record during the week of March 4-10.
· The Greenville, N.C., product opened the week with a 3-for-6 effort that included three RBI and three runs scored in a doubleheader sweep of North Carolina A&T. Matkins followed that performance with three hits in three trips to the plate in the Seahawks' 7-3 victory over Presbyterian in the opening game of the NCCU Eagle Challenge on March 9.
Rowland Enters Career Strikeout Chart
Sophomore hurler Casey Rowland recently moved into the program's top 10 list for strikeouts in a career.
· With her 12 strikeouts during the Seahawk Clash in late February, Rowland moved into 10th place on the program's career strikeouts chart as she surpassed Heather Petroff (162).
· Rowland begins the weekend with 206 career strikeouts and is just nine K's away from matching Amanda Wilson (2002-05) for ninth place on the all-time list (215).
The Norton Era Begins With A Win
The Seahawks gave first-year head coach Kristy Norton a victory in her UNCW debut, an 8-0 triumph over Detroit on Feb. 8 in the Seahawk Clash.
· Norton became the first UNCW head coach to win her inaugural game since Melissa Jarrell posted a 6-5 victory over Drexel to begin the 2002 season.
The Run Game
· The Seahawks are 59-16-1 since the start of the 2008 season when they score five or more runs in a game.
· UNCW is 6-1 this season when plating five or more runs in a game. The only loss under such circumstances came in a 13-10 setback to Savannah State during the Florida Lipton Invitational on Feb. 16.
· The Seahawks are 11-156 since the start of the 2008 season when they are held to two or fewer runs in a game.
· UNCW is 1-11 in 2013 when plating two runs or less in a game. The Seahawks lone win when scoring two run or less came in a 2-1 victory over Iona in the UNCW Beach Blast on Feb. 8.
UNCW remains on the road as it travels to East Carolina for a non-conference doubleheader on April 3. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.