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Opponent Preview: Elon

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Meet the Phoenix... A team on a bit of a roll

Indiana State v Elon Photo by Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Elon

Mascot: Ashy Birds | School Location: Elon, NC | Conference: Colonial

2022 Record: 9-6 (0-0, T-1st) | 2022 RPI Rank: 129

2021 Record: 22-22 (10-8, 2nd South) | 2021 RPI Rank: 125

2020 Record: 7-10 (0-0, T-1st) | 2020 RPI Rank: 248


When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Latham Park (Elon, NC)

Game Time(s): Tues, Mar 15 @ 4:00pm

TV: Flo Baseball (Tuesday)

Radio: GoPack.com (Tuesday)

Live Stats: Stat Broadcast


Tell me about this team

Elon has generally struggled at scoring runs this year, eight times being held to four or fewer runs, although they have managed to win three of those eight, so they have that going for them. The offense came alive in their last two games, 13-6 and 10-4 wins over UNC-Greensboro.

On the season, the Phoenix have just a .235 team batting average with a .388 slugging percentage. They do have a .364 on-base percentage, though, bolstered by an impressive 81 walks (NC State has 65 in the same number of games). Elon isn’t afraid to run on the bases (they have five players with multiple stolen bases on the year), but they’re also adept at playing small ball (19 total sacrifices this year).

The weekend rotation has been strong thus far for Elon, with RHPs Brian Edgington and Joe Savino providing a solid 1-2 punch. If LHP Cole Reynolds can be as effective come conference play as he has been in his two starts thus far this year, the Phoenix are going to be a surprise group in the Colonial and could well end up as a top three team in a conference that also features Northeastern and UNCW.

If that comes to be will depend heavily on three items:

  1. Can the offense continue to get on base at an impressive rate?
  2. Can the bullpen find a second arm to support RHP Kyle Greenler?
  3. Can the defense (25 errors) improve and stop being a liability?

Elon has won five of their last six games, with the lone loss being a midweek setback at home to Notre Dame last Tuesday. This is a team that appears to be hitting its stride.


Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: TBD


Key Players:

Offense

CF/RF Alex Iadisernia (rSO) - .288/.357/.525, 6 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 R, 18 RBI, 8 BB, 9 K, 0 HBP, 2-2 SB. Lefty three-hole hitter and the best bat in the lineup for the Phoenix. Was a Freshman All-American last year when he slashed .368/.448/.626 with 13 2B, 10 HR, and a 24:20 BB:K ratio. Kid is legit.

LF Charlie Granatell (FR) - .297/.447/.486, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 7 R, 2 RBI, 10 BB, 8 K, 0 HBP, 3-4 SB. Stocky freshman has been impressive so far and has a seven game hitting streak going. He’s one of those weird throws left, bats right guys.

3B Samuel Frontino (SR) - .297/.518/.405, 1 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 14 R, 7 RBI, 12 BB, 7 K, 6 HBP, 5-6 SB. Graduate transfer from Pittsburgh. Was an impressive JUCO player in his time before Pitt, including popping 9 HR in 2019, but that power hasn’t translated to the D1 level yet. Struggling in the field so far, having committed six errors.

C/DH Luke Stephenson (rJR) - .277/.370/.553, 2 2B, 1 3B, 3 HR, 8 R, 5 RBI, 6 BB, 12 K, 1 HBP, 0-0 SB. Transfer from Xavier where he hit .231/.358/.495 with 6 2B and 6 HR last year. Has five hits over the last two games, including a home run in each contest.

Pitching

RHP Kyle Greenler (rJR) - 3-0, 1 SV, 0.00 ERA, 14.0 IP, 4 H, 3 BB, 14 K. Is their best reliever, and thus their most often used one, too. Showing out to a level he hadn’t prior to this year.

RHP Trevor Kirk (rSO) - 0-2, 0 SV, 7.71 ERA, 16.1 IP, 25 H, 3 BB, 22 K. Wake Forest native started the season as the Phoenix’s Sunday starter, but relinquished that role this past weekend. Could be a candidate to start this game.

RHP Ben Simon (SO) - 1-0, 0 SV, 4.76 ERA, 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 BB, 8 K. Walks have been an issue for him, but he has great swing-and-miss stuff. Played last summer for Holly Springs of the Coastal Plains League.


Quick! Fun Facts!

This will be the fourth straight ACC midweek opponent for Elon. So far they’ve played UNC (L, 1-5), Wake Forest (L, 2-10), and Notre Dame (L, 3-11).

Impressively, State and Elon have already played three common opponents this year, with 11 of their combined 30 games coming against Longwood, UNCG, and Notre Dame. Elon swept weekend series against Longwood and UNCG while State topped both those squads in midweek affairs. Both the Wolfpack and Phoenix dropped games to Notre Dame, NC State a two-game weekend series and Elon a midweek contest.

NC State catcher Matt Oldham is a graduate transfer from Elon. There he was a .238/.329/.339 hitter, making 118 starts over four seasons.

States have have more players represented on Elon’s roster than the school’s home state: New Jersey (11), Pennsylvania (7), Massachusetts (4). Heck, they have as many players from Connecticut (3) as from North Carolina!


Prediction

State has the advantage in pitching and hitting, and both teams are equally bad defensively. Elon does have momentum, though.

Outcome: State wins.