GREENVILLE, N.C. – Despite almost seeing its eight-run lead evaporated late, the Elon University softball team hung on for a 10-9 nail-biting victory at East Carolina on Wednesday, March 22, in a midweek road contest at ECU Softball Stadium.
Elon (18-9) won its eighth out of its last nine overall while earning its second straight win over the Pirates (16-14) in the all-time series. The maroon and gold also improved to 3-2 on the road this season while in the midst of its eight-game road trip.
At the Plate: The Phoenix had 13 hits overall in the game, a season high…Alaina Hall led the way with a 4-for-5 performance inside the batter’s box and moved into a tie for fifth all-time in program history in career hits with 207 with Paige Goss (2004-07)…She also had an RBI in the game…Kara Shutt (2-for-3), Hannah Olson (2-for-4) and Kristin Hoover (2-for-4) also had multi-hit performances…Carey Million drove in three more RBI in the game and increased her total to a Colonial Athletic Association-best 31…Shutt also had two RBI.
In the Circle: Kenna Quinn (6-3) earned the win in relief for the Phoenix after pitching 3.0 innings and giving up seven hits, four runs, three earned, with three strikeouts…Kiandra Mitchum started the game and went 3.0 innings with three hits and three runs allowed, but only one earned.
The Rundown: A five-spot in the top of the third frame gave the Phoenix the early advantage. Jenna Reilly opened with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. She later moved to third on a single into left field by Olson before she plated the first run on a RBI single from Hall. A ECU walk led to the bases being loaded before an error on the second baseman off a fielder’s choice helped Elon add a couple more runs to the scoreboard to make it 3-0. Hoover’s RBI single and a sacrifice fly by Erica Serafini extended the Phoenix’s lead to 5-0 to close the top of the third.
Four more runs came across the plate in the top of the fourth for the maroon and gold. Shutt drove in Olson on a RBI single into left field to push the Phoenix’s advantage to 6-0. Million followed with a two RBI double into left center before a ECU error added the final run of the top of the fourth and Elon taking a 9-0 lead into the Pirates’ home half.
ECU quickly came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth as Tate McClellan’s two-run home run cut into the Phoenix’s advantage, 9-2. The Pirates had a runner reach third in the inning with two outs, but Elon was able to hold the runner after a grounder ended the inning.
Elon added another run in the top of the fifth on Shutt RBI. The Greensboro, N.C., native drove in Olson, who had reached earlier in the frame on a two-out hit-by-pitch. The run gave the Phoenix a 10-2 lead going into the bottom of the fifth.
The Pirates responded to get back in the contest with a four-run fifth. Meredith Burroughs opened with a leadoff solo home run, but the Phoenix was able to finagle its way to two outs on a pair of fielder’s choices. A Phoenix error and a RBI single by Ciara Ervin added three more runs for the Pirates before the inning ended with another fielder’s choice.
Two more runs by the Pirates made it a two-run game after the bottom of the sixth. Burroughs hit a leadoff double down the right field line and later scored off a single into left center by Morgan Halo. Karlie Smith’s two-out RBI single down the right field line trimmed Elon’s lead to 10-8 heading into the seventh frame.
A solo leadoff home run brought the Pirates within one, 10-9, after Megan Quick’s round tripper over the left field fence. ECU got a runner on first with the potential walk-off run at the plate with two outs, but Elon was able to hang on after inducing the final out on a fly out to left center.
The Phoenix opens Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend, March 25-26, at College of Charleston. Elon and CofC opens the series with a twin bill on Saturday, March 25, with the opening pitch beginning at 2 p.m.