CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte softball team will open the Atlantic 10 season as it hosts Fordham in a doubleheader on Friday, March 22 beginning at 3 p.m. at D.L. Phillips Complex.
The Niners (12-10 overall) will also host George Washington (11-11) for a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at noon.
Fordham and George Washington finished in the top tier of the conference in 2012. The Colonials advanced to last year’s A-10 championship game and the Rams finished third in the tournament after being eliminated by George Washington in the semifinal.
However, Charlotte’s offense, which is ranked 17th in the nation by the NCAA and leads the conference (.329) has been one of its most effective attributes this season. The 49ers top the league in almost every offensive category and have been performing consistently at the plate.
The Niners have five players with at least 20 hits (Briana Gwaltney 28, Natalie Capone 27, Jessica Plemmons 26, Chelsea Ingersoll 23, and Samantha Slade 20) and six with double-digit RBIs (Gwaltney 22, Kalie Lang 16, Plemmons 14, Slade 13, Chelsea Stamey 12, and Ingersoll 11).
Plemmons who is putting together a successful rookie season on both sides of the ball for Charlotte is batting .388 and is ranked fifth in the nation in doubles per game (0.48).
Last season Charlotte fell to Fordham twice in the regular season in the Bronx. The Niners swept George Washington in the regular season but suffered a 9-2 loss to the Colonials in the first round of the A-10 tournament.
The Rams are currently on a ten-game win streak. Fordham is ranked second in the league in hits (189) and its balanced offense includes eight players with at least 17 hits. As a team, the Rams hit .294 but have hit 32 homers led by the efforts of Gabby Luety and Elise Fortier who have eight each. Fortier was named the Atlantic 10 Player of the Week on Monday following a performance that included her hitting .556 (5-9) with five home runs and eight RBIs including a walk-off three-run home run against Binghamton.
Jamie LaBovick (8-6) and Michelle Daubman (7-3) have been the Rams’ top pitchers. LaBovick has held her opponents to a .264 batting average and has recorded a 2.79 ERA. Daubman leads the team in strikeouts (53) and is averaging 3.27 earned runs per game.
Offensively, George Washington is led by a trio of power hitters (Carlee Gray .381, Victoria Valos .353, and Autumn Taylor .339) who combine for ten homers on the season.
Courtney Martin (5-6) and Megan Rico (6-5) have seen equal time in the circle for the Colonials. Martin has recorded a team-high 71 strikeouts and Rico has tossed three shutouts. Martin averages 2.02 earned runs a game while Rico yields a 2.73 ERA.
Following Sunday’s doubleheader against George Washington, Charlotte will continue its conference schedule against Temple on Mar. 28-29 and St. Joseph’s on Mar.30.