ATHENS, Ga. – The Elon University softball team split its opening day contests at the UGA Classic on Friday, March 8, as the Phoenix earned a 2-1 win versus Bowling Green before falling to host and eighth-ranked Georgia, 5-0, in its nightcap game at Jack Turner Stadium.
The Phoenix (12-7-1) had extended its win streak going into the day to five with its win over Bowling Green (4-8), but had no answer for the Bulldogs (21-2).
Game One: Elon 2, Bowling Green 1
A strong pitching effort from Abby Barker in the opening game versus Bowling Green helped the Phoenix earned its fifth straight win. The Granville, Ohio, native was able to finagle her way out of first inning jam to keep the Falcons off the scoreboard going to the second.
The Phoenix added the first run of the game in its home half of the second. Ally Repko took a 3-1 walk and a single by Rebecca Murray gave the maroon and gold two on the bases with no outs. A one-out walk drawn by Tia Mitchell loaded the bases for Elon, but the Phoenix was in danger of leaving the ducks on the pond after a foul out on the next at bat. Callie Horn however drew a two-out walk and enabled the first run for the Phoenix, who took a 1-0 lead over Bowling Green.
Elon added another run in the bottom of the third. Erica Serafini led off with a walk and scored on Repko’s double to left field. Despite having a runner in scoring position with just one out, the Phoenix side was retired on the next two at bats as Elon carried a 2-0 advantage to the fourth.
Bowling Green threatened in the top of the sixth looking to join the Phoenix on the scoreboard. Barker retired the first two batters, but a two-out double to left field gave the Falcons a runner in scoring position. A single moved the lead runner to third and a stolen base advanced both into scoring position. Barker however was able to keep the runners in check and the induced the final out on a grounder to move to the seventh.
The Falcons did not go away and finally put on a run in the top of the seventh. A one-out double gave Bowling Green a runner on and she scored off a sacrifice fly to right field. Undaunted, Barker iced the game on the next at bat, forcing a popup to second to close out the contest and gave the Phoenix the 2-1 win.
Barker (8-2) allowed seven hits and one run in another complete game victory in the circle. She also fanned a season-high seven batters and walked two.
Elon only had five hits in the game with each coming from five different players. Repko had a double, a run scored and a RBI for the Phoenix.
Game Two: No. 8 Georgia 5, Elon 0
In the Phoenix’s second game of the day, Georgia got three on the board in the bottom of the second. The Bulldogs led off with a single and added another base hit to give Georgia two on. Another single was driven into right field with Georgia looking to score, but Allie Eith was able to throw out the runner at home. However, the Bulldogs would get two runs across the dish thanks to a two-out, two-RBI triple on the next at bat. A fielding error led to another run scoring as the Phoenix stared at a 3-0 deficit.
The Bulldogs added to its lead on a pair of solo homers in the bottom of the fourth. Georgia’s Ciara Bryan led off the inning with a round tripper to left center and Alyssa DiCarlo added another home run on a one-out solo shot down the right field line to put the Bulldogs ahead 5-0.
Elon could not answer with Georgia’s pitcher Mary Wilson Avant being dominant in the circle for the Bulldogs. She held the maroon and gold to two hits while tying her career-high with 10 strikeouts as Georgia cruised to the 5-0 victory.
Hailey Jomp (0-1) took the setback in the circle, pitching 3.1 innings and giving up nine hits, five runs, four earned, with three strikeouts. Kenna Quinn pitched 2.2 innings in relief and gave up one hit.
Elon closes out the tournament tomorrow, March 9, with a rematch against the Bulldogs at 3:30 p.m. then a matchup with Western Illinois to conclude its weekend at 6 p.m.