Elon Softball Earns Walk Off Win Over Samford; Nester Sets Home Run Mark

Posted by Press Release on April 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C – Senior Carleigh Nester belted her 35th career home run to become the Phoenix’s all-time career home run leader as the Elon University softball team took a 3-2 extra inning victory over Samford on Sunday, April 27, in the rubber match Hunt Softball Park.

Freshman Alaina Hall reached on a two-out fielder’s choice to score Grace Eng from third to give the Phoenix (24-24-1, 6-12 Southern Conference) its first SoCon series win of the season over the Bulldogs (34-15, 9-8 SoCon). The victory also sent out the maroon and gold senior class on a winning note in their final game at home.

Caitlin O’Shea (8-13) was given her second win of the weekend after pitching 3.0 scoreless innings in relief after taking over for starter Alli Burdette in the top of the seventh. Burdette pitched effectively for the maroon and gold, giving up only two runs on five hits in her 6.0 innings of work.

The Bulldogs again were the first team to plate a run on the scoreboard in the top of the first. Abby Adams scored on a Caroline Wilder one-out single down the left field line to put the Phoenix in an early 1-0 deficit.

Samford added to its lead in the top of the following inning as Megan Dowdy doubled to right center, driving in Hannah Taylor to put the Bulldogs up 2-0. With two outs, Burdette was able to force the next batter to fly out to end the inning.

The Phoenix finally responded in the bottom of the third with Nester’s record-breaking home run. Hall drew a two-out walk to give Elon a runner on base with Nester coming up to bat. The Kernersville, N.C., native took a 1-1 delivery and sent it deep behind the left field fence to tie the game at 2-2. The home run broke All-American Tomeka Watson’s previous program career mark and tied Watson for the most in a single season with 14.

The game then turned into a pitcher’s duel with Burdette going toe-to-toe with Samford starter Mollie Hanson over the next three innings. The Charleston, W. Va., native retired 12 straight batters at one point during the game before giving up a leadoff single in the top of the seventh.

O’Shea stepped in and recorded the next out as Samford advanced its runner on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, an Elon error gave the Bulldogs runners on the corners before Dowdy drew a walk to load the bases. O’Shea induced the final out on a grounder to escape the top of the seventh.

The Phoenix were set down in order in the bottom half however as the game moved to extras. In the top of the eighth, Elon got into another jam after allowing a lead off triple by Callie Brister to right field. After the next batter was hit by pitch, Elon recorded the next three outs to escape the frame unharmed.

Elon drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Eng led off the frame with a single to right center and advanced to second on an Ali Ford sacrifice bunt. Another grounder moved her to third with Emily Cameron at the plate. The sophomore however drew a walk and led to Hall coming to bat. The Suwanee, Ga., native hit a dribbler up the middle where the shortstop attempted to throw Cameron out at second, but the throw was not in time as Eng scored the give the Phoenix the 3-2 win.

Elon had six hits overall on the day with Aly Quintana leading the way after going 2-for-4 at the plate. Nester, Eng, Carey Million and Ford also had a hit on the afternoon.

Elon closes out the regular season with a series at I-40 and SoCon rival UNCG next weekend, May 3-4.

             1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
   Samford   1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 0
   Elon      0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 3 6 1

Win – O’Shea (8-13). Loss – Hanson, Moll (21-8). Save – None.

Umpires – HP: David Pezzella 1B: Tim Inman 3B: Donald Pernell
Start: 1 p.m. Time: 2:25 Attendance: 138
Weather: 79 degrees and mostly sunny
Burdette faced 1 batter in the 7th.


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