ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team continued its unblemished mark at the Elon Phoenix Tournament with a couple of victories on Saturday, March 11, versus Presbyterian and Norfolk State. The Phoenix defeated the Blue Hose, 7-2, in its first game of the day before pulling out a 3-0 win over the Spartans in the nightcap at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (13-8) had six hits in both games versus Presbyterian (9-14) and Norfolk State (7-7). The Phoenix improved its overall home record to 13-3 at Hunt Softball Park and extended its win streak to a season-long four games.
Game One: Elon 7, Presbyterian 1
The Rundown: Elon broke open a pitchers’ duel in the bottom of the third inning. After Walker Barbee drew a leadoff walk, she was replaced on the base paths by Nicole Graber. Graber advanced to second and third on a walk and a sacrifice bunt before crossing home plate off Alaina Hall’s grounder to second for the first run of the game.
The Blue Hose answered back to tie the game at one-all in the top of the fourth off some Phoenix miscues. Hope Rogers reached with two outs on a Elon fielding error and advanced to second on the play. She tied the game on another fielding error to close out the top half of the frame.
In the home half of the fourth, Elon retook control of the contest with a six-run inning. Carey Million sparked the rally with a leadoff single up the middle and moved to scoring position on a throwing error by the Blue Hose. Erica Serafini tacked on a run on a double to left field, scoring Million. A bases loaded walk added another run to the scoreboard before a second Presbyterian throwing error plated three more runs for the Phoenix to take a 6-1 lead. Kara Shutt’s RBI single through the right side added the final tally of the frame for the Phoenix who led 7-1 after four.
The Blue Hose got a run back in the top of the seventh, but could not make up the deficit and fell to the Phoenix 7-2.
At the Plate: The Phoenix had six total hits in the game versus the Blue Hose…Million was the only Phoenix player with a multi-hit performance after going 2-for-3 with a run scored…Serafini added her seventh double of the season and was 1-for-2 at the plate with an RBI.
In the Circle: Junior Kiandra Mitchum continued to be a force in the circle with a dominant performance in the first half of the game. The Mechanicsville, Va., native, retired the first 11 batters she faced with six of those coming on strikeouts…She ended the game with 4.0 innings pitched and allowed no hits, one run, unearned, with those six fanned batters…Kenna Quinn also pitched 2.0 innings in relief.
Game Two: Elon 3, Norfolk State 0
The Rundown: Million got the offense going early in the start of the second game of the day against the Spartans. The senior singled to left field in the bottom of the first to drive in Hall, who reached earlier on a bunt single, to plate the first run of the contest and give the Phoenix an early 1-0 lead.
Elon doubled its advantage in the bottom of the third. Shutt drove a two-out double into left field that scored Hannah Olson, who gotten on via a walk earlier in the inning. The score gave the Phoenix a 2-0 lead going to the fourth.
Norfolk State challenged to tie or take the lead in the fourth after loading the bases. The Spartans’ Kylee Lopez reached on a one-out single to make the bags full with a couple of preseason all-conference players coming to the plate. Mitchum, who also started the second game versus the Spartans, left the runners stranded as she finagled the final two outs to end the inning.
Shutt’s sacrifice fly to left field in the bottom of the fifth gave Elon a 3-0 lead over the Spartans. Olson once again drew a one-out walk and moved to third on a bunt single by Hall and a wild pitch. Shutt took a 3-2 pitch to shallow left field, but Olson beat the throw home and tacked on another insurance run for the Phoenix.
The Spartans loaded the bases once again in the top of the sixth. Lopez reached on a one-out walk and Norfolk State had a chance to plate its first runs of the game. The next two outs would be induced however on a popup and a strikeout to end the threat.
The Phoenix had to close out the game with the tying run at the plate in the top of the seventh. An Elon fielding error and a single gave the Spartans runners at first and second with one out and the No. 2 and 3 batters coming to the plate. Quinn, who came on in relief of Mitchum in the top of the sixth, closed out the contest with a foul out to Serafini and a strikeout to secure the 3-0 victory.
At the Plate: Elon had six hits in the game against the Spartans with Hall going 2-for-2…Shutt drove in a pair of runs and was 1-for-1 with a double…Million also had an RBI in the contest, her 18th of the year.
In the Circle: Mitchum started and earned the win in the game versus the Spartans to improve to 7-4 on the season…She pitched 5.0 scoreless innings and allowed five hits with seven strikeouts…Quinn pitched 2.0 innings in relief and received the save, her first of the season.
Due to weather in the forecast, Elon closes out the tournament noon against Fairleigh Dickinson tomorrow, March 12. It will be the only game on the final day of the tournament.