GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Elon softball team dropped the first game of the doubleheader at UNCG, 5-0, but came back from behind to take a 7-5 win in the second game today, March 17. The Phoenix is now 15-5 on the season and 4-1 in SoCon play, while the Spartans are 9-17 (3-2 SoCon).
The Spartans were the first to put a run on the scoreboard with one run in the bottom of the second. With one out, Dominique Madruga doubled to the left field fence to put a runner in scoring position. After Elon pitcher Erin O’Shea got Aubrey Baldwin to strike out, Toni MacReynolds singled to shallow left field to send home Madruga for a 1-0 UNCG lead.
In the bottom of the fourth, UNCG found themselves in good position to score again after singles by Tatiana Alcala and Eileen Horsmon. With one out, E. O’Shea got Katelyn Bedwell to send the ball to right field where Lauren Oldham came in to make a low catch to save a run and record the second out of the inning. Heather Robb then managed to draw a walk to load the bases for Madruga. With a 2-2 count, Madruga bit on E. O’Shea’s next pitch and struck out swinging to keep the deficit at only one run.
The Phoenix had a chance to put some runs on the board in the top of the fifth to take the lead. McKenzie Carter, a pinch hitter for Oldham, reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second after Tomka Watson drew a walk. A two-out single to first by Camille Hill loaded the bases for Elon but Mattson got Carleigh Nester to ground out to end the inning without a run scoring.
UNCG added two more runs later that inning after a two-run home run by Bedwell. Horsmon was hit by a pitch earlier to put one on for Bedwell, who took the first pitch from E. O’Shea over the fence at centerfield to put the Spartans up 3-0.
After a lead-off single by MacReynolds to start the bottom of the sixth, Caitlin O’Shea relieved E. O’Shea for the Phoenix. With two runners on and two outs, Horsman sent a hit up the middle that was stopped by a dive from shortstop Danielle Lafferty. However, the Spartans were able to score two runs to give UNCG the 5-0 edge.
The win went to UNCG’s Cory Mattson (6-8) who pitched the complete-game shutout, giving up three hits and striking out six. E. O’Shea (8-3) took the loss after giving up three runs off six hits. The senior also fanned six batters in her five innings of work.
After a scoreless one and a half innings, UNCG scored three runs in the bottom of the second. With one out and the bases loaded, MacReynolds singled to third to score Bedwell, who was walked to start the inning, and give the Spartans their first run of the game. Ashley Reetz then singled to left center two push two more runs across the plate for a 3-0 UNCG lead. C. O’Shea then relieved Elon starter Watson in the circle and recorded the next two outs to end the inning.
Elon got things going in the top of the fourth off several UNCG miscues to tie the game. With one out, Cyra Cottrell reached base on a fielding error by Spartans’ second baseman Madruga. Johanna Spencer then singled and then moved to second after a throwing error by Madruga, while Cottrell made it to third on the play. With runners on second and third and only one out, Lafferty singled down the left field line to score both Cottrell and Spencer. After Lafferty stole second, Morgan Wright singled to left field and advanced to second on the throw with Lafferty moving to third. Lauren Oldham grounded out to the shortstop for the second out of the inning but scored Lafferty on the play to even the score at three-all.
In the top of the sixth, Cottrell started the inning off with a leadoff single up the middle. Spencer then reached on a fielder’s choice that also left Cottrell safe at second. UNCG head coach Jennifer Herzig then made a pitching change, putting in Mattson for Erica Navarette. After Wright advanced the runners to second and third, Oldham tripled to left field to score two runs and give the Phoenix its first lead of the day, 5-3.
After walking the first two batters in the bottom of the sixth, Karen Berna replaced C. O’Shea in the circle for the Phoenix. A wild pitch put the runners on second on third before a single to right field by Alex Emeterio to right field scored two runs to tie the game.
Elon answered in the top of the seventh with two runs to take the lead once again. Mattson hit Berna with one out to put the winning run on base for the maroon and gold. E. O’Shea then doubled to right center and advanced Berna to third. With one out, Spencer reached on a fielding error by Madruga that scored both Berna and E. O’Shea and put the Phoenix back on top, 7-5.
With one out and runners and second and third, E. O’Shea took over work in the pitcher’s circle. After walking her first batter, E. O’Shea struck out one and got the last player to ground out to preserve the win for the Phoenix.
The win went to Berna (2-0) who didn’t allow any runs off three hits in 1.1 innings of work. E. O’Shea recorded her second save of the season to help Elon to the 7-5 victory. Mattson (6-9) took the loss after two runs off two hits in two innings pitched.
Eight different players combined for Elon’s eight hits of the game, Oldham recorded three RBI and Lafferty finished with two.
The Phoenix and the Spartans will vie for the series win tomorrow, March 18, at 1 p.m. at UNCG Softball Field.