ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team swept Lafayette in a doubleheader on Sunday, March 3, in the Phoenix’s final day at its home tournament, the Phoenix Invitational. The maroon and gold picked up a 7-1 victory in the first game before holding off the Leopards in the nightcap, 9-8, at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon improved to 10-6-1 with the two wins and 9-2 on its home diamond. Lafayette moved to 1-5 overall on the season.
Game One: Elon 7, Lafayette 1
Neither team could generate much offense in the first three innings. Elon had gotten one hit and a runner on in each of the first three frames, but could find that evasive run as both teams remained scoreless going to the fourth.
A four-spot in the home half of the fourth for the Phoenix got the maroon and gold offense rolling. Ally Repko led off with a single and was joined on the bases by Keagan Goldwait on a walk. After a Lafayette pitching change, Ashtyn Foddrell’s single through the left side scored Repko for the first run of the game. Another single loaded the bases for the Phoenix before Callie Horn added the second run of the game on a RBI single while a fielding error on the play plated another run. A ground out added the fourth run of the inning for the Phoenix, who took a 4-0 lead over the Leopards.
Repko added to the Phoenix’s cause with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. The Broadway, Va., native sent a one-out, 2-1 pitch deep to left center for her second of the season as the Phoenix moved up 5-0.
Lafayette got on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth to pull within four, 5-1. Elon came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame however off RBIs from Allie Eith and Erica Serafini. That would give the Phoenix a six-run advantage. The Leopards were set down in order in the top of the seventh as the Phoenix captured the 7-1 win.
Elon outhit Lafayette, 10-3, and left five runners on base. Serafini was 3-of-4 for the Phoenix with an RBI while Repko and Rebecca Murray each had two hits each. Eith drove in a team-best two RBI.
Abby Barker improved to 6-2 on the season after throwing 5.0 innings while giving up two hits with five strikeouts. Hailey Jomp threw 2.0 innings in relief and allowed one hit and a run, but unearned.
Game Two: Elon 9, Lafayette 8
In the second game, it was the Leopards who got off to a quick start early. Lafayette’s leadoff batter reached on a single in the opening inning and moved to second on a wild pitch. Elon was able to finagle around it with putouts coming on a strikeout and a grounder, but Lafayette loaded the bases on consecutive walks. The Leopards capitalized on the opportunity, hitting a grand slam to left to put the Phoenix in an early 4-0 hole.
That lead was quickly evaporated though in the bottom of the first. Eith led off with a single and scored off a Murray double to left center. A ground out on the next at bat moved Murray to third with a walk from Repko giving the Phoenix runners at the corners. Goldwait drove in Murray on a single to center field and the Phoenix trailed the Leopards by two, 4-2, with runners on the corners with one out. Elon loaded the bases on the next at bat via a walk and scored three straight on free passes to take a 5-4 advantage.
The Leopards answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to retake the lead. A two-out, two-run homer gave Lafayette a 6-5 lead as the Phoenix looked for that evasive final out. The next batter reached on a double and moved to third on a passed ball, but Elon induced the final out on a foul out.
The Phoenix was able to tie the contest in the bottom of the fifth. With two runners on and one out, Tia Mitchell singled to center field, driving in Lauryn Clarke, who reached earlier in the frame on a fielder’s choice. That knotted the score at six-all going to the sixth.
Elon took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth. The Phoenix had two runners on base before Goldwait singled through the right side to score a run and put the maroon and gold ahead, 7-6. She then stole second to give the Phoenix runners in scoring position with Clarke driving in another run on a single to center field. A sacrifice fly from Grace Sherron plated another run as the Phoenix held a 9-6 lead going to the seventh.
Lafayette was not ready to go away quietly. The Leopards loaded the bases after starting the inning on a double, a single and a walk. A hit-by-pitch led to Lafayette cutting the Phoenix’s lead to two, 9-7, with the bags still full with no outs. Elon recorded the next two outs on a foul out and a sacrifice fly, but Lafayette still had runners in scoring position with a pinch hitter coming to the plate down a run. The batter was able to draw a full count, but the game ended on a looking strikeout as the Phoenix escaped with the 9-8 win.
Elon again had 10 hits with Goldwait going 3-of-4 at the plate with two RBI. Murray, Clarke and Mitchell also added a pair of hits each with Mitchell and Sherron also driving in two runs. The Phoenix left eight bases runners on.
Kenna Quinn (4-3) took the win in relief for the Phoenix. The junior threw 2.1 innings and allowed two hits and two runs with three strikeouts. Starter Elise Walton went 4.2 innings and gave up five hits and six runs with three fanned batters.
Elon hosts Duke on Wednesday, March 6, in a midweek contest at Hunt Softball Park. That game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. start.