Charlotte/WKU SB preview

Charlotte's Cori Henderson goes back to the dugout.

The Charlotte softball opens up Conference USA (C-USA) play in a three-game series against Western Kentucky on Friday, March 11 through Sunday, March 13 at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium. The 49ers are looking to get back on track after an eight-run loss to No. 13 Duke on Wednesday, March 9. 

The 49ers are ranked for the first time in program history at No. 25, boasting a record of 18-4. The team is coming off a loss to Duke that snapped a five-game winning streak. Western Kentucky comes into this series with a 16-3 record and is coming off a win over Saint Louis.

This will be a must-see matchup as both teams have players that earned C-USA Preseason accolades. Charlotte's Bailey Vannoy was selected as C-USA Preseason Player of the Year, and Western Kentucky's Shelby Nunn was named C-USA Preseason Pitcher of the Year.

The last time the 49ers played the Hilltoppers was in April 2021 in a four-game series, with the teams splitting the series at two games apiece. The 49ers will be looking for a different outcome this time out.

Players to Watch:

Vannoy is a staple piece to this team. She has a .444 batting average with seven home runs and 18 RBIs. In the outfield, she is dominant with a .968 fielding average. The 49ers will need Vannoy to produce if they hope to come out on top in the series. 

Freshmen Ella Chancey was a hitting machine for the 49ers in the Queen City Classic. She went 6-12 on the weekend with two home runs. Look for Chancey to be another driving force for the 49ers.

Western Kentucky's Taylor Sanders has a batting average of .444 with 18 RBIs, matching Vannoy's totals. Along with that, she has three home runs with an on-base percentage of .522. The 49ers will need to keep Sanders in check to score the series win this weekend.

Nunn is a standout pitcher who bolsters an earned run average of 1.51, so she knows what it takes to keep high-powered offenses in check. She won't shy away from any challenge as she boasts a record of 9-2 on the mound. The 49ers will have to attack Nunn early if they hope to win this weekend. 

Looking to Gameday:

The series will be played at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium, with the first game on Friday, March 11 at 5 p.m. The second game is on Saturday, March 12 at 1 p.m, and the finale will be at noon on Sunday, March 13. The first two games will be available to stream on ESPN+ while the series finale will be on CUSAtv. 

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