HARRISONBURG, Va. – The Elon softball team was not able to get much going offensively as the maroon and gold fell to James Madison in both games of its doubleheader, 10-1 and 7-0, today at Veterans Memorial Park. The Phoenix falls to 17-13 on the season, while the Dukes improve to 22-20.
The Dukes took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first off a two-out home run to left field by Rachel Burnham. JMU added seven runs the next inning off five hits for an 8-0 advantage. Two runs scored when a sacrifice bunt by Caitlen Manning left her safe at safe after a throwing error by the Elon second baseman. Manning advanced to third after the error and then scored the fourth run of the game on a single down the left field line by Anna Klumpp. After Kari Pervell replaced Karen Berna in the circle, Haley Johnson scored two runs with a single to right center. The Dukes scored another run before the inning ended with JMU up by eight.
The Phoenix got on the board in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to seven. With one out, Carleigh Nester singled down the right field line and then advanced to second off a ground out by Erin O’Shea. A single up the middle by Grace Eng moved Nester to third as a fielding error by JMU’s centerfielder allowed her to score from third to make it an 8-1 game.
With one out and one on in the bottom of the inning, Burnham hit another long ball to left field for a two-run homer and a 10-1 Dukes’ lead. Chelsea White then replaced Pervell in the circle and recorded the final two outs of the inning.
JMU’s Heather Kiefer (9-3) earned the win in four innings of work with one run off two hits. The loss sent to Berna (2-2) who pitched 1.1 innings and gave up five earned runs.
Nester started the game with a leadoff triple down the right field line, putting the Phoenix in good position early. However, the maroon and gold were not able to push Nester across the plate and moved into the bottom of the inning.
The first run of the game came off a double to center field by Burnham that scored Jasmine Butler from third. Burnham scored two batters later on a single through the left side by Sarah Mooney. With two outs, Manning singled to right field to score two more runs and put JMU up 4-0.
After three scoreless innings, James Madison added another run in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Butler singled to the shortstop to score Manning from third for a 5-0 advantage. Manning led the bottom of the inning off with a double to right field and moved to third on a ground out by Cassidy Clayton. White took over pitching duties for Caitlin O’Shea and recorded the necessary two outs to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Mooney and Catherine Clavin each hit solo home runs to add two runs for the Dukes and extended its lead to 7-0.
Sarah Mooney (7-8) picked up the win for the Dukes after pitching four shutout innings and giving up four hits. Cara Stecher claimed her second save of the year after relieving Mooney in the fifth inning and preserving the shutout. C. O’Shea (2-3) took the loss, giving up five runs off seven hits in 3.1 innings in the circle.
Nester went 2-for-3 at the plate, while Tomeka Watson also recorded two hits in her four at-bats. However, none of Elon’s seven hits in the game were able to push any runners past home plate as the Phoenix left nine runners on base.
Elon returns home to the friendly confines of East Field on Saturday, April 14, for a SoCon series against Appalachian State. The doubleheader is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.