WOODSTOCK, Ga. – The Elon softball team split a pair of games today, March 4, to finish play the Buzz Classic. The Phoenix (11-3) fell to Rhode Island (2-6), 10-2, in its first game of the day, but bounced back to defeat No. 25 Georgia Tech (12-9), 6-3.
Elon 2 – Rhode Island 10
Elon struck first with one run in the bottom of the second off a home run by Danielle Lafferty. With two outs, Lafferty sent her second home run of the season over the fence to put the Phoenix up 1-0.
The Rams answered immediately with four runs in the third. Meg Kelly drew a one-out walk and advanced to second off a single by Brittany Julich. A single by Kelly Coker scored Kelly and left runners on the corners for URI. One out and batter later, Jenna Newborn singled to bring home Julich and Coker for the Rams to take a 3-1 advantage. Newborn scored later off a single by Prendergast that put URI up by three runs. Tomeka Watson relieved Caitlin O’Shea after the fourth run and recorded the final out of the inning.
After a leadoff single by Lauren Oldham to start the bottom of the third, Sam Bedore relieved Erika Szymanski in the circle for the Rams. A ground out by Hill advanced Oldham to second before a double to left field by Watson pushed her across the plate to cut the deficit to two, 4-2.
Rhode Island added another run to the board in the fourth by Kelly. She singled to start the inning, stole second and then advanced to third on an error by Elon catcher Hill. A wild pitch then scored the unearned run to make the score 5-2, in favor of the Rams.
A single and walk started the top of the fifth for URI and then caused Elon head coach Kathy Bocock to make another pitching change for the Phoenix, bringing in Kari Pervell. After a bases-loaded single by Kelly to score Allison Hartzell from third, Coker hit a grand slam to clear the bases and put the Rams up by eight, 10-2.
The Phoenix was not able to respond in the bottom of the fifth and dropped just its third game of the season.
The win went to URI’s Bedore (1-2), who pitched three innings in relief, giving up only one hit and striking out four. Elon’s C. O’Shea (2-1) took her first loss of the season after 2.2 innings of work and four runs.
Four Elon players went 1-for-2 on offense, while it was Watson and Lafferty that drove in the two maroon and gold runs in the game.
Elon 6 – No. 25 Georgia Tech 3
Elon put runs on the board immediately with two in the top of the first. Hill drew a leadoff walk and then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. Watson was walked and stole second to put runners on second and third with no outs. One batter later, a ground out by Erin O’Shea scored Hill and put Watson on third. An error by GT first baseman Karly Fullman allowed Cyra Cottrell to reach safely and scored Watson to put the maroon and gold up 2-0.
Kaitlyn Piazzolla drew Elon’s second leadoff walk of the game in the second and then scored off a double to right field by Johanna Spencer to put the Phoenix up 3-0. Spencer later advanced to third on a passed ball and was brought home off a single to left field by Hill.
With Elon up 4-0, GT responded in the bottom of the second with three runs. Danielle Dike drew a walk and Chelsie Thomas singled to second to put two runners on for the Yellow Jackets. Ashley Thomas took a 1-1 pitch over the right-field fence for a three-run homer to cut the Elon lead to one, 4-3.
After two outs in the top of the third, Cottrell hit her third home run of the season to centerfield to put the maroon and gold up 5-3.
Elon added another run to go up 6-3 in the top of the fourth when Carleigh Nester drew a walk with the bases loaded. Charyssa Parent scored the run, a pinch runner for Sarah Little who was walked and advanced to second on a single by Hill. Watson then drew a two-out walk and left the bases loaded for Nester.
E. O’Shea (6-1) pitched the complete game in the win giving up three runs off four hits and striking out nine. The loss went to Kylie Kleimschmidt who went four innings and gave up six runs, four unearned, off four hits.
All of six of Elon’s runs were scored by different players. Hill went 3-for-2 with one run and one RBI, while Cottrell went 2-for-4.
Elon will open Southern Conference play on Saturday, March 10, with a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Furman at East Field.