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Courtesy: Charlotte Sports Information
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Niners Softball Open at Panthers in C-USA Play

Charlotte, N.C.- Niners are set to hit the road in the opening series of Conference USA play against the FIU Panthers in Miami, Fla., March 8-9.  Charlotte will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 4 and 6 pm with a single game on Sunday at 12 pm.

"We are excited to enter our first weekend of C-USA play," said Coach Aimee DeVos.  "It's time to put all facets of our game together and play some great 49er softball."

Charlotte heads into the first Conference USA on a two game skid with an 8-8 record.  FIU comes in with a 14-6 record after winning its last two.  This will be the Niners first Conference USA series since the 2005 season.  That season Charlotte opened the Conference USA play on the road at Southern Miss.

FIU much like Charlotte is a new member to the conference and will be playing in its first Conference USA game.  This will be the first meeting between the Panthers and the Niners.

Lexi Betancourt will look to correct things in the circle dropping her last two decisions and falling to 7-4 on the season.  Betancourt sports a 1.89 ERA with 82 striekouts in 70.1 innings pitched.

Mackenzie Hauser is starting to find her groove in the circle as well picking up her first collegiate win against Georgetown during the 49er Invitational. 

Jackie Kleinsmith, Samantha Slade, Natalie Capone and Jessica Plemmons lead the way for the Niners at the top of the lineup hitting a combined .390 at the plate.  Kleinsmith leads the team in batting average (.429) and hits (24).  Slade is second on the team in batting average (.404), and leads the team in home runs (7) and RBI (20).  Capone is hitting .371 from the left side of the plate and will look to continue her consecutive game reaching base streak.  Capone has reached base in 10 straight games.  Plemmons, named Conference USA Player of the Week, is hitting .358 with four home runs and 19 RBI.

Both teams hit the ball well with Charlotte leading the batting average at .321 as a team.  FIU is hitting .308 as a team.  FIU has the slight edge in team ERA with a 2.60 ERA as opposed to Charlotte's 2.87 team ERA.

Corinne Jenkins for FIU will likely get the start in the series opener sporting an 8-1 record and a team leading 1.72 ERA.  Shelby Graves probable game two starter has a 2.45 ERA and a 5-3 record.

Charlotte will take the field at 4 pm in game one of the doubleheader on Saturday followed by the night cap around 6 pm.

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