ELON, N.C. – Senior Kara Shutt tied the Colonial Athletic Association’s all-time doubles career record as the Elon University softball team earned a 4-1 win versus North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, April 25, in the Phoenix’s final nonconference game of the season at Hunt Softball Park.
The win improved the Phoenix to 21-25 on the season and snapped its season-long eight-game losing skid. Elon won its second game of the season over the Lady Aggies, who fell to 7-33 overall, while also finishing the year with a 17-14 ledger versus nonconference opponents.
At the Plate: Shutt had one of the four hits on the day for the Phoenix, which was the 60th double in her career and the 18th overall on the season for the Greensboro, N.C., native…Shutt tied Erica Field of James Madison for the CAA’s all-time career record, which was set from 2013-16…Hannah Olson also had a double in the game, the 13th of the season for the senior and moved her into sole possession of seventh all-time in school history with 39 in her career…Kristin Hoover also had a double, her fifth of the season.
In the Circle: Starter Kenna Quinn received the win for the Phoenix to improve to 6-7 overall…The sophomore threw 4.0 innings and allowed three hits and one run with a couple of strikeouts…Jamie Finnical and Elise Walton pitched in relief for the Phoenix with Walton earning her first save of the year with her scoreless seventh frame.
Elon put up two runs on two hits in the bottom of the first. Shutt led off the inning with the CAA record-tying double to left field before stealing third to move 60 feet from scoring. Olson’s double down the left field line on the next at bat aided Shutt’s cause to put the Phoenix on the scoreboard. An error on the next at bat gave Elon two runners on before a sacrifice bunt advance both into scoring position. A foul out to third recorded the second out, but a collision between the two defenders led to Olson easily scoring from third base as Elon went ahead 2-0.
The Lady Aggies answered to put a run back in the top of the second. North Carolina A&T reached on a one-out double to left center before another double pushed the runner across the dish to trim Elon’s lead to one, 2-1. The Lady Aggies had a runner advance to third with two outs, but Quinn retired the side with a strikeout to leave her stranded.
After both teams went scoreless in the third, the Phoenix added some insurance in the bottom of the fourth. Freshman Katrina Martin led off with a walk before Hoover brought her home on a RBI double to right center. A sacrifice bunt advanced Hoover to third before a wild pitch helped her plate the second run of the frame for Elon, who took a 4-1 advantage after four complete.
In the top of the sixth, the Phoenix defense made a heads up play to hold the Lady Aggies off the scoreboard. N.C. A&T reached on a one-out base hit before a Phoenix miscue on the play advanced her to second. A single back to the pitcher added runners at the corners for the Lady Aggies with just one out. On the next at bat, the Phoenix defense stepped up to prevent a run. N.C. A&T hit a fly out to Hoover in shallow right field. The runner at first had moved too far off base and could not beat the throw back to first causing a double play before the runner at third crossed home plate. The play retired the side as Elon moved to the home half with its three-run lead still intact.
In the final inning, the Lady Aggies got its leadoff hitter to reach on a hit-by-pitch, but Walton, who replaced Finnical in the top of the seventh, induced the next three outs in order as Elon emerged with the 4-1 victory.
The Phoenix hosts its final series of the regular season as Elon welcomes Drexel for a three-game CAA set this weekend, April 28-29. A doubleheader at 1 p.m. begins the series before the Phoenix and Dragons conclude play with a single-game on Sunday also at 1 p.m. Prior to Sunday’s contest, the Phoenix will honor its five-person senior class of Shutt, Olson, Hoover, Kiandra Mitchum and Madison Kadlic.