The Charlotte softball will face its biggest test as they host the 15th ranked Clemson Tigers at Sue M. Daughtridge Stadium on Wednesday, Feb. 23 at 4 p.m. Charlotte enters this game with a 10-1 record, including a win against 22nd ranked James Madison this past weekend. The 49ers have become one of the hottest teams in the country and hope to continue burning Wednesday afternoon.
The leaders of the 49ers' success this year:
Bailey Vannoy and Cori Henderson have been the leaders for the 49ers so far this season. This duo has been the driving force of the 49ers' high-powered offense, averaging seven runs a game. Vannoy is batting an outstanding .541 with three home runs and 14 runs, while Henderson is right behind Vannoy, contributing three home runs, nine runs, and an efficient batting average of .441.
When the 49er offense has struggled, the Charlotte defense has clamped down on the opponent. This season, Charlotte has gotten fantastic pitching from their bull-pin, who has recorded three shutouts.
Amelia Wiercioch and Lindsey Walljasper have served as the backbone of the pitching staff. Wiercioch has a staggering 0.78 ERA, along with a 2-0 record. Walljasper follows closely behind with a 1.69 ERA and a 5-0 record. Wiercioch appears to be getting the start Wednesday afternoon and will be a vital part of the 49ers defending their home field.
Clemson enters Wednesday's game with a 6-3 record. The Tigers have already had matchups against four nationally squads, with the most notable matchup being against fifth-ranked Washington. Clemson is 2-2 against the country's best, with wins against No. 6 Washington and 18th ranked Tennessee while falling to 11th ranked Texas and Northwestern.
Clemson's two best hitters are Sam Russ and Valerie Cagle. Both players are hitting at .345 a clip and have five runs each to start the season. Cagle is more of a power hitter as three of her runs are homers.
Millie Thompson has been the most consistent pitcher for the Tigers this season. In 11 innings, Thompson has allowed zero runs and only four hits. It'll be interesting to see if Thompson gets the start on Wednesday.
Keys to success:
Charlotte will need Vannoy and Henderson to have big games to upset Clemson. They've been practically unstoppable this season but will be facing the best pitcher they've gone against all year.
Wiercioch needs to continue her impressive start to the season on the defensive end while limiting scoring opportunities for Clemson's Russ and Cagle. If the 49ers stars show up, they will have a chance to upset the No. 15 team in the country.
Looking to Gameday:
The 49ers will face the Tigers on Wednesday, Feb. 23, with the first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. The game will be available to stream on ESPN+.