ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team allowed only two earned runs in its 14.0 innings of play to earn a pair of victories in a doubleheader against North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, May 1. The Phoenix (18-30) swept its final non-conference opponent of the regular-season with a game one 1-0 win and a 4-2 come-from-behind victory against the Aggies (7-32).
Elon 1, North Carolina A&T 0
Elon starter Chelsea White set a new career-high in strikeouts with eight as the sophomore pitcher outdueled Aggies’ starter Ashira Dobison in the opening game 1-0 win. White (5-14) allowed only two hits and walked only one batter in the seven inning, complete game performance for the Salisbury, N.C., native.
Dobison (2-16) went 6.0 innings with two hits allowed and one run while striking out five.
Both players established themselves in the circle early with both squads going down in order in the opening frame. White herself fanned two batters in the top half of the first inning before retiring the last batter on a ground out.
The Aggies threaten in the top of the second after Tranea Jones advanced to second on a passed ball and eventually moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Jones reached earlier on a fielder’s choice and was joined in scoring position by Zabresha Blakeney after she reached on a bunt single and stole second with two outs. White forced the final batter to fly out to escape the inning.
In the bottom half, the Phoenix struck first on the scoreboard. Grace Eng led off the inning with a solo home run down the left field line to give Elon a 1-0 lead. It was the sophomore’s fifth homer of the season. The Phoenix was able to get another runner on base with one out, but Dobison struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
Neither team could get much going offensively after that point. White pitched a 1-2-3 third inning before moving into the fourth where she walked the first batter. She then struck out her fifth batter of the contests and induced a double play on the next at bat to move into the bottom half.
White proceeded to retire the next nine hitters she faced over the next three innings. With two outs in the top of the seventh, Jones took a White pitch nearly over the fence in left field, but Tomeka Watson was able to corral it to end the game.
Eng and Ali Ford had the lone hits for the Phoenix offensively with one each. Ford also added a stolen base to her stat line.
Elon 4, North Carolina A&T 2
Both the Phoenix and the Aggies got things going offensively in the second game. The Aggies plated the first runs of the game in the top half of the second inning. N.C. A&T starting pitcher Jankikia May hit a two-out two-run home run to center field that gave the Aggies an 2-0 lead and some momentum moving forward.
Elon nearly responded in the bottom half of the inning. Karen Berna singled up the middle and advanced to second on a Lauren Oldham sacrifice bunt. She moved to third with two outs, but the next batter grounded out to end the inning.
In the top of the fifth, Elon starter Kayla Caruso and the Phoenix defense were pressured by the Aggie offense. Detavia Kenan and Raven Smith led off with back-to-back singles and moved into scoring position after a Jones sacrifice bunt. After Sabrina Edmonds was intentionally walked to load the bases, Caruso was able to record the final out on a pop out to end the threat.
The Phoenix bats came alive in the bottom half of the inning. Oldham reached on an error by the third baseman and scored after Ford doubled into left center to bring Elon within one, 2-1. Caitlin O’Shea followed with a one-out single into left center to score Ford and tie the game at 2-2. May induced the final two outs to move into the top of the sixth.
After a scoreless top of the sixth, the Phoenix plated the go-ahead run on a Carleigh Nester solo home run to lead off the bottom half. The reigning Southern Conference Player of the Week hit her 10th home run of the season into left center to put the maroon and gold ahead 3-2. After Eng reached and advanced to second another error, the Aggies relieved May with Shelby Snyder. Oldham moved Eng to third on a sacrifice bunt before Caruso singled through the left side to drive her home and give herself an insurance run, 4-2, going into the top of the seventh.
Despite allowing a free pass to the leadoff batter, Caruso was able to finagle her way out of a jam and induced the final three outs to complete the sweep of the Aggies.
Caruso (9-12) went all 7.0 innings to earn the win and allowed seven hits and two runs, while striking out five. May took the loss after going 5.0 innings with four runs allowed, one earned, off five hits.
Nester went 2-for-3 with a home run and a RBI to lead the Phoenix offensively. Four other players also recorded a hit for Elon.
Elon hosts its final series of the regular-season with a SoCon matchup against Chattanooga on May 4-5. The three-game series begins with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. before concluding on Sunday at 1 p.m. on Senior Day.