CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Senior Kara Shutt moved to second all-time in school history in career doubles as the Elon University softball team earned a split on the first day at the Carolina Classic. The Phoenix dropped a tough contest to Kansas in its opening game, 2-1, in extras, but rebounded with a 5-1 victory in its second game versus Harvard at Anderson Stadium.
Elon (10-5) met Kansas and Harvard for the first time on the softball diamond today with the Phoenix facing only its second team all-time from the Big 12 conference in the Jayhawks (13-3). The Crimson (2-4) are the second team from the Ivy League that the Phoenix will face this season.
Shutt, who entered today’s contest needing just one double to move into a tie for second all-time in school history in career doubles, had one in both contest, moving her career total to 49. She now trails Carleigh Nester’s (2011-14) 51 career doubles on the Phoenix’s all-time list.
Game One: Kansas 2, Elon 1 (8)
Kansas jumped on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. The Jayhawks reached on a one-out double down the left field line and scored on another double into left center to move ahead 1-0 after one.
Elon escaped a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the second. The Jayhawks reached on one-out single to center field and made the bags full with back-to-back walks. The Phoenix was able to finagled its way from danger as a fly out and a foul out ended the inning.
The Phoenix tied the game in top of the sixth on a solo leadoff home run from Hannah Olson. The York, Va., native sent a 1-1 pitch over the left field wall to tie the game at one-all. The Phoenix added a pair of runners on base thanks to a single and a walk with the pair moving into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt. Consecutive strikeouts however would end the threat and the game would eventually move into extras.
In the bottom of the eighth, KU would get the walk-off victory. The Jayhawks drew a one-out walk with the runner moving to second on a single up the middle. Kansas crossed home plate for the walk-off victory on a RBI single down the left field line to get the 2-1 win.
Kansas won the hit battle, 7-5, with both teams leaving eight runners on base. Olson led the Phoenix at the plate after going 2-for-4 with her first home run of the season. Kara Shutt extended her hit streak to 12 games with a double in the top of the seventh. The hit put the Greensboro, N.C., native into a tie for second all-time in school history in career doubles with Dani Concepcion ’05.
Kiandra Mitchum (4-2) took the loss in the circle for the Phoenix. The Mechanicsville, Va., native pitched 7.1 innings and allowed seven hits, two runs, with five walks and six strikeouts.
Game Two: Elon 5, Harvard 1
In the second game of the day, Elon opened the scoring in the bottom of the third. Ashtyn Foddrell was walked to lead off the inning and moved to second on another walk. She would advance to third after a sacrifice bunt before scoring thanks to a sacrifice fly by Olson to center. The play put the Phoenix ahead 1-0.
Harvard tied the game at one-all in the top of the fourth. A one-out RBI single through the left side tied the game. The Crimson would get runners into scoring position with one out, but Elon was able to induce the final outs to escape the frame without any more harm.
Elon retook the lead for good in the home half of the fourth. Ally Repko led off the inning with a solo home run to right center to put the Phoenix ahead 2-1. It was the second home run of the year for the Broadway, Va., native.
The Phoenix tighten its grasp on the lead thanks to a three-run bottom of the fifth. Shutt reached on a double, moving her past Concepcion for sole possession of second on the program’s all-time career list. A RBI single by Olson scored Shutt to increase the Phoenix’s lead to 3-1. Olson moved to second on the throw to home and stole third to place her 60 feet away from home. A fielder’s choice by Erica Serafini scored Olson to put the Phoenix ahead 4-1. Serafini would eventually score on a wild pitch to put the Phoenix up 5-1 before the close of the inning.
Elon and relief pitcher Kenna Quinn tossed scoreless sixth and seventh innings to hold the Crimson as the Phoenix pulled out the 5-1 victory.
Olson had two RBI for the Phoenix and had one of the five hits in the contest for Elon. Shutt now has seven doubles on the season while Repko’s homer give her a team-best two on the season.
Starter Abby Barker improved to 4-1 on the season as the Granville, Ohio, native pitched 5.0 innings and allowed three hits and one run with two strikeouts. Quinn tossed two perfect frames for the Phoenix.
Elon is back in action tomorrow, March 3, for the second day of the Carolina Classic as the Phoenix will take on host North Carolina. That game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. opening pitch.