WILMINGTON, North Carolina – The UNCW softball team returns to conference play this weekend as it hosts James Madison in a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Boseman Field.

The Seahawks and Dukes will open their weekend set with a doubleheader on Saturday before wrapping up the series with a single game on Sunday. Start time for both days is set for Noon.

Staying Connected
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.

Seahawk Storylines

  • UNCW (12-19; 1-4 CAA) returns home after completing a five-game road swing Wednesday with a split of its non-conference doubleheader at East Carolina.
  • The Seahawks rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the nightcap to force extra innings before plating two runs in the top of the eighth to pick up their first road win against the Pirates since the 2003 season. Game one saw ECU score twice in the bottom of the seventh to record a 3-2 victory.
  • Senior Lauryn Buckworth has reached base safely in 29 of 31 games played this season, including each of the past seven contests. She is tied for the team lead with a .318 batting average and 27 hits.
  • Junior KC Shue tallied a two RBI in the doubleheader with the Pirates to raise her team-leading RBI total to 19. Shue, who is tied with Buckworth for the team lead with a .318 batting average and 27 hits, is one of four players to have recorded double-digit RBI this season.
  • Sophomore Casey Rowland picked up her team-leading eighth victory of the season with a complete-game effort in the Seahawks’ 5-3 victory over the Pirates. Rowland leads a balanced pitching staff that has seen all four pitchers spend 10.0 or more innings in the circle this season with 19 appearances, 14 starts and nine complete games.
  • UNCW has struggled in one-run contests of late as they have lost their last six contests decided by a single run. The Seahawks, who have fallen by one-run margins in each of their last three setbacks, are 3-6 in one-run games this season.  
  • The Seahawks have done a majority of their damage at the plate in the fifth inning as they have plated 38 of their 130 runs scored this season in that frame. The Seahawks hold a 38-13 advantage over its opponents in runs scored in that inning. 
  • UNCW is 10-3 this season when it records as many or more hits and its opponent. The Seahawks suffered their first setback of the season when out-hitting their opponent, posting a 10-7 advantage in hits during their 6-5 loss at George Mason on March 30.
  • Junior Camry Wagner is the only player that has started all 31 games for the Seahawks this season. Five other players have been in the starting lineup for 25 or more contests thus far.

Scouting James Madison

  • James Madison (24-9; 6-0 CAA) completes a five-game road swing this weekend that began with a pair of losses at No. 25 UNC Chapel Hill on Wednesday. The losses were the first on the road for JMU this season and snapped the Dukes’ eight-game winning streak.
  • Sophomore Sarah Mooney has powered a potent JMU lineup this season as she leads the team with a .409 batting average and 36 RBI. Mooney has served as the top long-ball threat on the circuit, belting a league-high 10 home runs in 93 plate appearances.
  • Senior Jasmine Butler is second on the team with a .365 batting average and 38 hits. The speedy outfielder has been a force to reckon with on the base paths, successfully swiping 27 bases in only 29 stolen base attempts.
  • Sophomore Heather Kiefer and freshman Jailyn Ford have combined to pitch a majority of the Dukes’ innings in the circle this season as the duo has started 27 of the team’s 33 games in 2013. Kiefer boasts an 8-2 record and a team-low 1.20 earned run average while Ford has fashioned a 12-2 mark with a team-high 127 strikeouts in 91.0 innings pitched.
  • Ford was named CAA Rookie-of-the-Week on Monday, marking the third time this season that she has been recognized.

Series Notes Versus James Madison

  • UNCW trails James Madison in the all-time series by a 6-25 margin. The Dukes have dominated play of late, winning 19 of the last 20 meetings between the two programs.
  • All but four of the previous 31 meetings between the two programs have taken place since UNCW joined in the Colonial Athletic Association for softball in 2004.
  • The Seahawks hold a 2-10 record against the Dukes at Boseman Field. UNCW took one of three games from JMU the last time the two programs met in the Port City during the 2011 season.

UNCW-JMU Connections

Both Head Coach Kristy Norton and Assistant Coach Meredith Felts have connections to the softball program at James Madison

  • Norton spent seven seasons as member of the coaching staff at JMU before taking over the Seahawks program last June. Norton helped the Dukes capture its first CAA tournament crown and NCAA Tournament berth in 2009. She also had 24 players receive a total of 42 All-CAA and CAA All-Rookie Team accolades during her time with the program, while two players, Ashley Burnham and Jenn Chavez, earned CAA Player-of-the-Year honors under her tutelage.
  • Felts, meanwhile, was a four-year letterwinner at JMU (2006-09), finishing her career as the school's all-time leader in wins (61), ERA (1.62), games started (85), complete games (52), strikeouts (581) and shutouts (20). A three-time All-CAA selection, Felts was named to the CAA's 25th Anniversary Team in honor of the league's Silver Anniversary in 2010 

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 March 12.

  • 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 219 career strikeouts and needs just more K’s to match Jamie Gostyla (2002-05) for seventh place on the all-time list (227).

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 61-17-1 since the start of the 2008 season when they score five or more runs in a game.
  • UNCW is 8-2 this season when plating five or more runs in a game. The Seahawks suffered their second loss under such circumstances with a 6-5 extra innings setback to George Mason in their series finale on Sunday.
  • The Seahawks are 11-158 since the start of the 2008 season when they are held to two or fewer runs in a game.
  • UNCW is 1-13 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.

Let’s Keep Playing

UNCW recently played the longest game in program history with a 12-inning contest at George Mason on March 30.

  • The contest broke the previous program record for the longest game of 11 innings, set on five prior occasions, including a 5-4 victory versus the Patriots last March at Boseman Field.
  • UNCW unfortunately found itself on the losing end of things this time around as it suffered a 6-5 setback to the Patriots.

Up Next

UNCW will travel to Georgia State April 12-13 for a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Bob Heck Field. The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday. Action on both day will begin at Noon.