ELON, N.C. – Behind five home runs, the Elon University softball team earned a couple of victories on Opening Day at its home tournament, on Friday, Feb. 8. The Phoenix defeated Appalachian State, 10-2, in its first contest of the day before coming back and getting a 7-5 victory versus Eastern Kentucky in the nightcap at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (2-0) improved to 31-20 all-time in its Opening Day games and moved to 11-3 overall under eighth-year head coach Kathy Bocock. The Phoenix also had five round trippers between the two games courtesy of Elise Walton, Ally Repko, Morgan Reich and Ally Repko in the first game against the Mountaineers (1-1). Lauryn Clarke added another in the second game versus EKU (0-2), that helped the Phoenix with the victory versus the Colonels.
Game One: Elon 10, Appalachian State 2 (5)
Elon got on the board first in the home half of the first. Repko drew a two-out walk to give the Phoenix its first base runner with Walton coming to the plate. The Farmville, Va., native took a 0-1 offering over the left field fence to put Elon ahead 2-0.
The Phoenix added another run in the bottom of the second. Reich reached on an error to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She was in danger of being stranded as the next two batters were retired, but a Rebecca Murray RBI single up the middle brought her in and put Elon ahead 3-0.
The Mountaineers got two runs back in the top of the third. ASU had its first two batters reach on a single and an error before loading the bases on another single with no outs. A double play induced by Repko on a fielder’s choice retired the two lead runners, but a passed ball led to runners advancing into scoring position. A double down the left field line scored both runners and put the Mountaineers on the board down 3-2.
Elon answered with a four spot in the home half of the fourth. Repko led off the frame with a solo blast to left field to double the Phoenix’s lead, 4-2. The Phoenix saw its next two batters draw free passes to give the maroon and gold a pair of runners on. Reich took advantage as the Orlando, Fla., native nailed a one-out, three-run homer to left to put the Phoenix ahead 7-2.
The Phoenix added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. RBI singles from Walton and Callie Horn moved the Phoenix’s advantage to 9-2 closing out the fourth. A solo home run from Eith in the bottom of the fifth set the final score and gave the Phoenix the 10-2 run-rule victory.
Walton and Repko both went 2-for-2 at the plate with Walton adding three RBI, tying with Reich for the most on the team. Overall, Elon outhit the Mountaineers, 8-4.
Kenna Quinn (1-0) earned the complete game victory in the circle for the Phoenix. The junior allowed two runs, none earned, off four hits with a strikeout.
Game Two: Elon 7, EKU 5
Both teams were scoreless in the first two innings, but EKU put up four runs in the top half of the third to open the scoring. The Colonels got on the board on a one-out, two-run home run and added two more on a double to put EKU ahead 4-0.
Elon answered to cut Eastern Kentucky’s lead in half in the bottom of the third. Erica Serafini drew a one-out walk to load the bases, but the Phoenix flied out on the next at bat and was in danger of leaving the bags full. Walton however got the Phoenix on the board on a RBI single to the shortstop, leaving the bases loaded. Keagan Goldwait added another run after she was hit by a pitch to make the score 4-2.
EKU got a run back in the top of the fourth, but Elon rallied to tie the game in the home half. Murray added two runs on a double into right center that brought the Phoenix within one, 5-4. Murray would plate the tying run as Serafini connected on a RBI single up the middle to knot the game at 5-all.
The Phoenix got the go-ahead runs in the in the bottom of the fifth. Clarke provided the fifth home run of the day on a two-out, two-run blast to right center, putting the Phoenix ahead 7-5.
The Colonels would not give up however, battling down to its final out. EKU opened the seventh frame on a double to left center, but the next two batters were retired leaving Eastern Kentucky down to its final out. Back-to-back walks led to EKU loading the bases and looking for the potential tying or go-ahead run. Elon however induced the final out on a fly out to left field to end the game.
EKU outhit the Phoenix, 12-8, overall in the game. Murray and Clarke both had two hits each for the Phoenix, a pair of RBI and two runs scored.
Abby Barker (1-0) went the distance, allowing 12 hits and five runs, with four of those being earned. She also fanned three batters.
The Phoenix continues its schedule at the tournament, hosting Longwood tomorrow afternoon, Feb. 9, at 2:15 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.