ELON, N.C. – Tomeka Watson tied the all-time career home run program record as the Elon softball team won all three of its games on the opening day of the Phoenix Softball Clash on Saturday, Feb. 23. Elon (4-4) defeated Temple (0-2), 8-3, in its opening game then swept Saint Peter’s (1-6) in its remaining games of the evening, 10-0 and 13-3.
Watson hit her 26th career home run against in the second game against the Peacocks to tie Brandi Jones (2006-09) for the most homers in Elon softball history.
Elon 8, Temple 3
The Phoenix started strong against the Owls, plating two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Watson hit a two-run home run to put Elon on the board first, 2-0, scoring herself and Carleigh Nester.
Temple would respond in the top of the second inning with Leah Lucas answering with a one-out solo shot over Watson in left field to pull the Owls within one, 2-1. After allowing another base hit, Phoenix starter Kayla Caruso got the next two batters to fly out to end the top half of the inning.
The Owls held Elon scoreless in the bottom of the second and added two more runs in the top of the third to move ahead 3-2.
The Phoenix countered with three runs in the bottom half to push back ahead, 5-2, on a Johanna Spencer three-run home run into right center. Elon would get two more on base, but struck out to end the inning with a three-run advantage.
That would be more than enough run support for Caruso as the freshman allowed only two hits for the remainder of the game, both coming in the top of the fourth.
Elon added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning when Aly Quintana hit a one-out double into center field, scoring Caitlin O’Shea. Grace Eng followed with a two-run homer over the left field fence to drive in Quintana.
Temple went down in order in the sixth and seventh inning as the Caruso (1-2) earned her first collegiate win. The freshman from Kennesaw, Ga., pitched a complete game in 7.0 innings of work and struck out five batters.
Temple’s Jessica Mahoney (0-1) took the loss after pitching 4.1 innings with six strikeouts. Kelsey Dominik pitched 1.2 in relief.
Elon 10, Saint Peter’s 0
Eve Clausen toed the rubber for the second game of the day for the Phoenix versus the Peacocks. The sophomore transfer from the University of Hartford was making her Elon debut in the circle.
Clausen benefited from great run support to start the game. Elon plated five runs in the bottom of the first to jump ahead 5-0. After the Peacocks forced Elon’s first two batters out, Watson was intentionally walked with Spencer coming to the plate. Watson was able to steal second followed by Spencer hitting a double into right field scoring Watson. Spencer herself would score after Emily Cameron stole second base and advance home on the throw.
After Quintana drew a free pass, Eng would hit her fourth home run of the season to give Elon a 5-0 lead. It also forced Saint Peter’s to go with a pitching change and relieve starter Erica Colon with Lee Harrison.
Neither team could muster any offense until the bottom of the fifth inning. Camille Hill drew a walk to lead off the inning followed by Watson hitting a two-run home run over right center to give Elon a 7-0 lead. After the next two Phoenix batters singled to get on base, Amanda Allen homered into left field adding three more runs on her first collegiate hit to end the game 10-0 on a run-rule.
Clausen (1-0) allowed only two hits in 5.0 innings of work, striking out five. Colon (0-2) received the loss for the Peacocks.
Elon 13, Saint Peter’s 3
In the nightcap, Saint Peter’s started the game strong with Harrison hitting a solo home run into left center to give the Peacocks an early 1-0 advantage in the top of the first. The next three batters could not add to the momentum and Phoenix was able to get out of the first half down 1-0.
Elon countered with five runs in the bottom and lead 5-1 after the first inning. Spencer hit a one-out triple to drive home Nester and Watson. Cameron would single into right field to bring home Spencer then moved into scoring position after stealing second. After Quintana drew a free pass, Eng hit a single up the middle scoring both Cameron and Quintana.
The Peacocks would not go away quietly adding another run in both the top of the second and third innings. The Phoenix offense was too much as Elon plated another five runs in the bottom of the second.
Watson would make history in the bottom of the third as the Jackson, Ga., native tied the Elon all-time home run record with a solo shot into right field that pushed the Phoenix’s lead to 6-3. Emilie Rowand would drive in her first career RBI on a single to finish the scoring for the inning for Elon and give itself a 12-3 advantage going into the fourth.
Nester would lead off the bottom of the fourth with a solo shot over the right center wall, her first of the season, to give Elon a 13-3 lead with the game ending in that score the following inning.
Karen Berna (1-2) picked up the win for Elon after 2.0 innings of in the circle. Clausen pitched in relief. Saint Peter’s Tori Feorenzo (0-2) picked up the loss.
Elon returns to the field tomorrow to conclude the Phoenix Softball Clash against Hampton. That game scheduled to begin at 2:30 p.m.