Softball Preview: Delaware
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - The UNCW softball team puts the finishing touches on its 2012 home schedule this weekend as it hosts Delaware in a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series at Boseman Field.
The Seahawks and Blue Hens open their weekend set Saturday with a Noon doubleheader before wrapping up the three-game series Sunday with a single game starting at Noon. Sunday's game will serve as the program's annual senior day, with the team honoring senior student-athletes Amanda Davenport, Kelsey Eddinger, Katie Houmard, Jennifer Ladd, Stacey Pinno, Ashley Shingleton and Laura Sykes prior to the start of the game.
Live stats and free streaming audio will be available for all three games and can be accessed by clicking on the respective links at the top of the page.
UNCW (8-40; 3-12 CAA) continues its five-game home stand Saturday after opening the week with a midweek doubleheader against non-conference foe Coastal Carolina. The Chanticleers took both games of the twin bill, winning the first game, 10-0, before taking the finale by a 1-0 margin in 10 innings.
Freshman Kristen Jernigan paced the Seahawks attack against the Chanticleers with three hits while freshman Jordan Critcher drew four walks to move her team-leading total to 26. Sykes and junior Lauryn Buckworth both tallied two hits on the afternoon as Buckworth kept her team-leading batting average at .287 while Sykes saw her average jump to .271 for the season with the two base knocks.
Freshman pitcher Casey Rowland matched a program record with 12 strikeouts in the nightcap to move into fourth place on the program's single-season chart for strikeouts (121). She enters the weekend needing just 16 more strikeouts to move into a tie with Keri Malcolmson for third place (137).
Delaware (11-37-1; 4-10 CAA) takes to the road for the final time this season after suffering a 3-2 setback at Penn on Wednesday.
Freshman Jessica Grisler leads the Blue Hens attack with a .305 batting average and 46 hits while junior Lara Andrews has driven a team-high 19 runs this season.
Second year head coach Jaime Wohlbach has relied upon a quartet of pitchers this season as juniors Chenxi Jiao and Hannah Rust, sophomore Kathleen Conway and freshman Brianna Jennings have all pitched more than 35 innings in the circle this season. Jiao has served as the ace of the staff, leading the team in innings pitched (131.2), strikeouts (93), complete games (9) and earned run average (3.77).
Delaware holds a 18-9 edge in the all-time series that dates back to the 1992 season as all but two of the 27 previous meetings have taken place since UNCW joined the CAA for softball in 2004. The Blue Hens have won three straight in the series, posting a trio of one-run victories last April in Newark to sweep the Seahawks. UNCW's last win against Delaware came in a 9-5 victory at Boseman Field on April 18, 2010.
UNCW closes out the regular season with a three-game series at league-leading Hofstra May 4-5.