ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team found itself on the short end of the scoreboard versus James Madison as the Phoenix fell to the Dukes in a Colonial Athletic Association twin bill, 7-0 and 5-2, on Saturday, April 21, at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (20-24, 4-10 CAA) saw its overall losing streak extend to seven games, its longest since 2014. The setback was the fifth straight overall versus the Dukes, who improved to 32-10 on the season and 12-2 during league play. The loss also saw the Phoenix drop to sixth in the league standings with College of Charleston moving past Elon in the standings at 6-8 during CAA play after its doubleheader sweep at Delaware on Saturday.
Game One: James Madison 7, Elon 0
The Dukes banged out 12 hits and had a pair of big innings to help with its game one victory. After two scoreless innings, JMU put up a three-spot in the top of the third to take the early advantage. The Dukes’ leadoff batter earned a walk before a two-run homerun from Morgan Tolle put JMU ahead 2-0. A one-out double gave James Madison another runner in scoring position with Kate Gordon providing the payoff on a RBI single to add the Dukes’ third run.
Elon had a chance to respond in the home half of the third as the Phoenix loaded the bases with no outs. The first two Elon batters reached on free passes before a Kara Shutt bunt single made the bags full with no outs in the inning. Despite building some momentum, Elon was unable to drive anyone in as JMU escaped the jam.
James Madison added another run in the top of the sixth before adding three more scores in the top half of the seventh thanks to a pair of homers. The plays put the Phoenix in a 7-0 deficit which stood as the final score for game one.
Elon had four hits in the game by four different players. Erica Serafini doubled in the contest, her seventh of the season.
Kenna Quinn (5-6) received the loss in the circle for the Phoenix as the sophomore pitched 3.2 innings with six hits and three runs allowed. She also tied a season-high with four strikeouts.
Game Two: James Madison 5, Elon 2
Elon found itself down early to the Dukes to start the nightcap of the doubleheader. Tolle led off the game with a solo homerun to put JMU up early, 1-0. An RBI single up the middle enabled another runner to cross the dish for JMU, who took a 2-0 advantage to the second.
Tolle’s bat would cause more harm in the top of the second. James Madison had runners reach on a single and a walk with one out before Tolle added her second round tripper of the game and third overall between the two games on a three-run shot to left field.
Trailing 5-0, Elon answered back in the bottom of the third. Shutt reached on a one-out double before another double from Hannah Olson brought her in for the Phoenix’s first score of the game. Elon continued the short rally as Ally Repko’s RBI single to center helped Olson score and cut the deficit to 5-2.
James Madison made a pitching change to start the fourth inning as Payton Buresch replaced starter Odicci Alexander. The switch worked over the next two innings as JMU held the Phoenix bats to two hits over the next three innings to slow down the maroon and gold offense.
The Phoenix would have an opportunity in the bottom of the seventh. After a ground out to lead off the inning, Elon loaded the bases on the next three at bats via a single, a walk and a bunt single. As the Phoenix had new life with the tying runs on base, the Dukes were able to induce the final out on a double play to hold off the charge and earn the series victory with its 5-2 win.
Elon won the hit battle, 8-7, in the second game over the Dukes. Olson went a perfect 3-for-3 in the contest and tied Tomeka Watson for seventh all-time in school history with 38 career doubles with her 12th of the season. Shutt also doubled in the game, her 17th of the season and the 59th of her career. She is now one double shy of tying the CAA’s all-time career record of 60 set by JMU’s Erica Field from 2013-16.
Abby Barker (7-8) took the loss, allowing five runs on five hits in 2.0 innings of work. Jamie Finnical pitched in relief, scattering two hits with a strikeout in 5.0 innings of action.
Elon and James Madison concludes its series tomorrow, April 22, with the finale beginning at 1 p.m.