ELON, N.C. – A two-run home run from freshman Ally Repko in the bottom of the seventh almost began a rally for the Elon University softball team versus Syracuse, but the Orange halted the late-inning comeback and held on to defeat the Phoenix, 4-2, in a Tuesday evening contest on March 13, at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (13-9) fell to its second opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference this season in Syracuse (13-7) in the fifth all-time meeting between the two programs. The Orange improved the 4-1 all-time on the softball diamond against the Phoenix including winners of the three straight in the series.
At the Plate: The Phoenix was held to only two hits on the day with Repko and Hannah Olson recording the lone base knocks…Repko’s home run was her third of the season, tying her for the team-lead…Syracuse had nine hits in the contest, but left eight runners on base…Kara Shutt saw her hitting streak snapped at 19 games, but reached on a walk to improved her reached base streak to 20 games…Erica Serafini also reached base in the contest on a free pass and pushed her reached base streak to seven games.
In the Circle: Sophomore Kenna Quinn took the loss in the circle for the maroon and gold, dropping her mark to 2-3 on the year…The Boiling Springs, S.C., native threw 4.2 innings and gave up seven hits, four runs, three earned, with two strikeouts…Kiandra Mitchum and Abby Barker threw in relief with the pair combining for two hits allowed and four strikeouts…Syracuse’s ace Alexa Romero improved to 9-4 on the year with her complete game performance in which she struck out 13 Phoenix batters.
A two-run top of the first started the scoring early for the Orange. Syracuse connected on a one-out single down the left field line and stole second to move into scoring position. Another single placed the runner at third before she scored after advancing home while Elon attempted to throw out a runner stealing second. A passed ball moved the runner at second to third before a RBI single into right field plated the second run of the inning for the Orange, who took a 2-0 lead after the top of the first.
Both teams engaged in a pitchers’ duel over the next three-plus innings, but Quinn and the Phoenix was tested in the top of the third. Syracuse led off the frame with a single and advanced to second on a one-out wild pitch. The Orange would load the bases after a walk and a hit-by-pitch with only one out to work with, but consecutive fielder’s choices induced by Quinn helped her escape the jam.
In the top of the fifth, Syracuse tacked on two more runs. After Elon recorded the second out of the inning on a sacrifice bunt, the Phoenix looked to keep the Orange off the scoreboard despite runners in scoring position and a pinch hitter coming to the plate. The batter was able to come through for Syracuse with a two-RBI double into left-centerfield and doubled the Orange’s lead to 4-0.
As the game moved to the home half of the seventh, junior Callie Horn drew a leadoff walk to give Elon a base runner on. After the next batter flew out to right field, Repko stepped into the batter’s box with one out and crushed the ball into right-centerfield to cut the Phoenix’s deficit to two. As Elon looked to rally to tie the game or earn the victory via a walk-off, Romero was able to induce the next two batters with a pop-up and a strikeout to end the game and halt the comeback attempt as Elon fell 4-2.
The Phoenix will travel to Tampa, Fla., for its final tournament of the regular season at the USF Series – Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament this weekend, March 16-18. Elon is slated to play five games at the tournament against the field of Lehigh, LIU Brooklyn, Princeton, Chattanooga and host USF.