HARRISONBURG, Va. – A complete game victory in the second game for redshirt junior Elise Walton helped the Elon University softball team to a doubleheader split at No. 19 James Madison in its Colonial Athletic Association opening series on Saturday, March 23. The Dukes took game one, 13-2, before the Phoenix rebounded with a 5-3 victory in the nightcap.
Walton was able to help the Phoenix down the Dukes in the second game for Elon’s second win of the season against a top-25 opponent. Walton also was the pitcher of record when the maroon and gold defeated No. 8 Georgia, 5-4, in Athens on March 9. The win was also the 199th victory for Phoenix head coach Kathy Bocock at Elon.
Game One: No. 19 James Madison 13, Elon 2 (6)
The Dukes took the early lead in the first game in the opening inning. JMU’s leadoff batter took the first pitch she saw and sent it over the center field wall to put the Dukes ahead 1-0 on the solo homer. James Madison then had a couple of runners reach on back-to-back singles with a runner eventually moving to third with one out. A passed ball led to the Dukes plating the second run of the inning as JMU moved up 2-0 after the first.
The Phoenix tied the game at two-all in the top of the second. Rebecca Murray opened the frame on a single to right field and gave the Phoenix a runner on with the tying run at the plate. After a foul out on the next at bat, Callie Horn tied the game at two-all with her fourth home run of the year on a two-run blast to left field. Elon would get another runner on with two outs, but the inning would end with a strikeout.
JMU came back to retake the lead in its home half of the third. Megan Good helped the Dukes go back in front on a two-run home run of her own to put the Dukes ahead 4-2. The Dukes added another run to the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth and three more in its home half of the fifth to take a 8-3 advantage through five.
The Dukes would put a five-spot on in the bottom of the sixth including a grand slam by good on the final at bat to earn the 13-2 run rule victory. JMU finished the game with 17 hits while Elon had just three.
At the Plate: Horn had a home run and two RBI in the game, tying for the team-lead in homers this season with four…Erica Serafini added a double in the contest.
In the Circle: Abby Barker (9-4) was credited with the loss after allowing eight hits and four runs, three earned, over 2.1 innings.
Game Two: Elon 5, No. 19 James Madison 3
The Phoenix took charge in the second game early, putting up two in the opening frame. After the Phoenix’s leadoff batter drew a walk, Ashtyn Foddrell took a full count offering off JMU ace Megan Good, connecting on her first home run of the year as the two-run shot gave the Phoenix a 2-0 lead.
Elon added to its lead in the top of the second. Lauryn Clarke reached on a fielding error with one out before Horn drove a triple down the right field line to bring her home. That put the Phoenix ahead 3-0 over the 19th-ranked Dukes.
James Madison final answered with a run in the bottom of the third, but the Phoenix came back with two more run in the top of the fourth. Horn reached on a one out single down the left field line, but Elon was in danger of leaving her stranded as the next batter struck out. Ally Repko delivered with a double into left center, scoring Horn from first and putting the Phoenix ahead by four, 5-1.
The Dukes got a run back in the home half of the fourth to take their deficit back to three, 5-2. Both teams went scoreless in the fifth, but James Madison drew closer in the bottom of the sixth. A two-out RBI double to left center made it a two-run game for the Dukes with the Phoenix clinging to a 5-3 advantage.
Elon looked to answer back in the top half of the seventh. Pinch hitter Megan White led off with a double off the right field wall and a single from Murray gave the Phoenix runners at the corners with no outs. A wild pitch advanced Murray to scoring position as the Phoenix looked to take advantage, but Elon could not get another runner across the dish as JMU escaped the jam.
Heading into the bottom of the seventh, JMU looked for a big inning with the heart of its lineup due up. The Phoenix induced the first out on a pop-up, but a single and an error gave the Dukes the tying runs on the bases and the winning run at the plate with only one out. A grounder to first recorded the second out, but the runners moved into scoring position as the Dukes had their eyes for the tying or winning run. Elon however induced the final putout on a fly out to center to seal the 5-3 win.
In the Circle: Walton took the complete game victory for the Phoenix, improving to 2-2 on the year…Walton allowed six hits, three runs, two earned, and struck out three batters.
At the Plate: Elon had eight hits in the game and left 11 runners on base…Horn was 2-for-4 with a triple and a RBI…Foddrell drove in two runs on her first home run of the year while Repko added another RBI with a double…Repko also drew two walks to increase her CAA-lead to 22 on the season…Foddrell had her seventh multi-hit game of the season, tying for the team-lead.
The rubber match is set to begin tomorrow, March 24, at noon.