Elon Baseball Holds Off Penn State Rally on Opening Day

Posted by Press Release on February 13, 2015 at 10:04 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

ELON, N.C. – On a cold day at Latham Park, the Elon bats were hot as the Phoenix pounded out 23 hits on its way to a 16-15 victory over the visiting Penn State Nittany Lions on Friday, Feb. 13.

Elon (1-0) led 16-6 after seven innings only to see Penn State (0-1) rally. The Nittany Lions scored four in the eighth before taking advantage of an error to start the ninth to eventually score five runs in the frame. The rally was snuffed out by Phoenix closer Joe McGillicuddy who needed five pitches to strike out pinch-hitter Aaron Novak to end the game with the tying run on second base.

The Phoenix jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings before Penn State plated six runs in the top of the fourth to claim a one-run advantage. Elon came right back with two in the last of the fourth on a Chris King single to center and then tacked on another two in the fifth to move in front 9-6.

An offensive explosion of seven runs came in the seventh inning for the maroon and gold. Andy Moore got things started with a single to center and headed to second on a sacrifice bunt. Quinn Bower followed with a single up the middle to drive home Moore. After Bower stole second, Ryan Cooper drove him in with a single. Elon’s third straight hit came off the bat of Casey Jones whose single put runners on the corners for King. King ripped a double to drive in Cooper, but Jones was also able to score on the play thanks to an error. A Nick Zammarelli single then plated King to make it 14-6. Brett Guba and Kory Shumate followed with the sixth and seventh consecutive hits. Shumate’s single scored the sixth run of the inning. The final marker crossed the plate on an Austin Leeney single.

After tossing 3.1 shutout innings out of the bullpen, Elon’s John Antonelli (1-0) picked up the victory. McGillicuddy claimed his first save. Phoenix starter Michael Elefante was charged with six runs on four hits in 3.2 innings. Six Elon pitchers combined to strike out 10 hitters.

Elon’s 16 runs and 23 hits bested any offensive output by the 2014 Phoenix squad. King matched a career high with five RBI during his 3-for-4 performance. Bower’s four hits also equaled a personal best. Leeney finished his debut in an Elon uniform with a 4-for-4 night and scoring twice. Jones went 3-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, while Zammarelli ran his hitting streak to 14 games by going 2-for-5. Ryan Cooper also added three hits for the Phoenix.

The loss went to Dakota Forsyth (0-1) who allowed six runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings out of the Penn State bullpen. Nittany Lion starter Nick Hedge was charged with five runs on seven hits in three innings.

The two squads will meet for a 12 p.m. doubleheader from Elon’s Latham Park on Saturday afternoon.

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