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Softball Hosts UNCG In Battle Of SoCon Leaders This Weekend

Taylor Vahle
Taylor Vahle

Greenville, S.C. -- The first-place Furman Paladins look to maintain control of the Southern Conference lead this weekend when they host second-place UNCG in a three-game series at Pepsi Stadium. Saturday's doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. with Sunday's series finale also slated for 1 p.m.

Fans can watch all three of this weekend's games on YouTube and follow live statistics via StatBroadcast by logging onto FurmanPaladins.com. Saturday's doubleheader is part of Furman's "Spring Athletics Festival" that includes the Paladins in action in tennis, lacrosse and baseball in addition to the softball action at Pepsi Stadium.

The Paladins enter the weekend at 25-17 overall and 7-2 in the SoCon after recording a pair of shutouts versus South Carolina State on Wednesday, including a perfect game by Emily Demonte. Furman has won nine of its last 10 games and took 2-of-3 from Mercer in a SoCon series last weekend in Greenville, S.C.

Behind the work of Demonte, Lindsey Bert and Elise Smith, Furman enters the weekend with a SoCon-leading 2.53 earned run average and has tossed 11 shutouts this season. Paladin pitchers have struck out a league-best 244 batters this season, while issuing a league-low 56 walks.

Bert, a junior left-hander and the reigning SoCon Player of the Week, has led the way with a 14-9 record in the circle and league-leading 1.96 ERA. She tossed a two-hit shutout versus South Carolina State on Wednesday after recording complete-game shutouts in victories over Winthrop and Mercer last week.

Demonte, a sophomore from Sumter, S.C., continued her strong work by retiring all 15 batters on Wednesday in game two to become the first Paladin to hurl a perfect game since March 9, 2003. The right-hander is 8-8 on the season with a 3.28 ERA.

Furman has batted just .266 as a team this year, but has upped its production at the plate in league play. Outfielders Taylor Vahle and Caroline Cash have led the surging Furman offense by batting .368 and .357, respectively, against league opposition.

UNCG comes to Greenville with a 23-19 overall record and 6-3 league mark. The Spartans dropped a 7-2 decision at Elon in the midweek after winning a series versus Samford last weekend.



Jordan Caskey, Furman Sports Information