ELON, N.C. – Tomeka Watson became Elon softball’s all-time career hits leader today, March 29, but the feat came in 5-1 setback to local rival and Southern Conference foe UNCG. The Spartans improved to 24-7 (6-3 SoCon) on the year while the Phoenix fell to 11-18 (1-6 SoCon) at Hunt Softball Park.
Watson connected on her 230th career base hit on a single to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning. The senior from Jackson, Ga., broke a tie with Dani Concepcion (2002-05) to move atop of the all-time hits list in school history. It was the lone hit of the day for Watson as the Phoenix bats had seven hits total versus UNCG.
Raeanne Hanks (13-3) earned the complete game win after allowing only one run (earned) on those seven hits while striking out nine and walking four others. Elon’s Chelsea White (2-8) took the loss after going seven innings with five runs (two earned) allowed on 10 hits while fanning five batters.
Both teams went scoreless in the opening frame, but Elon would score first in the bottom half of the second. Sarah Little led off with a single to the shortstop and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Lauren Oldham singled to move Little to third. Carleigh Nester hit a two-out single through the left side to drive in Little and gave Elon an early 1-0 advantage.
In the top of the third, some Elon defensive miscues led to two runs by the Spartans. White forced the first two outs of the inning, but gave up a single to Danielle Vega. After Lindsay Thomas drew a free pass, Katelyn Bedwell reached on an error to score Chelsea Strandlund, who pinch ran for Vega. Heather Robb doubled to right center to drive in Thomas to make the score 2-1 before pinch hitter Tori MacReynolds popped up to end the inning.
After a scoreless fourth, UNCG plated another run in the top of the fifth to move ahead 3-1. The maroon and gold threatened in the bottom half after Watson reached on her historic hit to lead off the inning. She would advance to second on an Emily Cameron grounder to the shortstop and eventually move to third after Grace Eng reached after striking out, but moved to first on a passed ball. Eng moved into scoring position after stealing second with two out, but Hanks induced the final out of the inning on the next at bat.
The Spartans added a pair of insurance runs in the top of the sixth. Allison Geiner scored on a Lindsay Thomas one-out fielder’s choice followed by Robb adding another RBI on a single down the left field line to push UNCG’s lead to four, 5-1.
Elon was able to load the bases in the bottom of the seventh and had the tying run at the plate. Eng and Little drew two-out walks and advanced into scoring position after a wild pitch. Oldham reached after an error by the pitcher to the give the maroon and gold some life, but Hanks forced the final batter to ground out to end the game.
Both teams return to action tomorrow at Hunt Softball Park for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E UNC-G 0 0 2 0 1 2 0 5 9 3 Elon 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 7 4
Win – Hanks (13-3). Loss – White (2-8). Save – None.
Umpires – HP: Cameron Ellison 1B: David Brewer 3B: Eddie Walker
Start: 5 p.m. Time: 2:20 Attendance: 113
Weather: 57 degrees, partly cloudy