ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team suffered its first losses of the season falling to Bucknell and James Madison in the second day of the Phoenix Softball Clash. The Phoenix (5-2) were shutout, 2-0, by the Bison (1-0), while the Dukes (2-0) took a 7-4 win from the maroon and gold in the second game
After two scoreless innings, the Bison struck first, scoring one run in the top of the third. Caryn Connors scored the run as Collie Escobar reached base on an error by Elon third baseman Aly Quintana. Connors, a pinch runner for Mallory Lyons who reached on a double down the left field line, advanced to third on a ground out to the pitcher by Kristen Zahn.
Elon put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the fifth, starting with a double to centerfield by Danielle Lafferty. Erin O’Shea, a pinch hitter for Lauren Oldham, singled up the middle to put runners on the corners for the Phoenix, but Alex MacLean managed to get Hill to ground out to end the inning and end the scoring opportunity for the maroon and gold.
Bucknell added another run in the sixth from Collie Escobar to make it a 2-0 lead. The designated player had singled to right field to reach and advanced to second on the throw. Escobar moved to third off a fly ball to centerfield and scored after Mary Horton singled to center.
Caitlin O’Shea (1-1) took her first loss of the year after going five innings and giving up five hits and two unearned runs. MacLean (1-0) earned the Bison win, allowing only three hits and striking out five.
Johanna Spencer scored Elon’s first run of the game in the second against JMU when Morgan Wright reached on an error by Caitlen Manning. Spencer had doubled to centerfield to reach and advanced third on a groundout by Lafferty.
The Dukes took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third off a two run single to centerfield by Sarah Mooney. Mooney scored Caitlin Sandy and Morgan Heath, who had reached on a double and walk, respectively.
After singling to center and stealing second to start the bottom of the third, Tomeka Watson advanced to third off sacrifice bunt by Carleigh Nester. E. O’Shea pushed Watson across the plate with a single to right field to tie the game for the Phoenix, 2-2.
A two-run homer to left field by Ashley Burnham gave the Dukes a 4-2 edge in the top of the fourth inning. However, the Phoenix answered once again with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Kaitlyn Piazzolla was walked by JMU’s Heather Kiefer to lead things off before E. O’Shea took her second offering from Kiefer and sent it over the fence at centerfield for a two run homerun to tie the game, 4-4.
JMU regained the lead, 5-4, the next inning off a single to center by Heath that scored Manning. Manning had reached base at the beginning of the inning off an error by Lafferty.
Two more runs came in the top of the seventh for the Dukes off a two-run single to center by Haley Johnson. Elon was not able to overcome the 7-4 deficit in the bottom of the inning and recorded just its second loss of the year.
E. O’Shea took her first loss of the year (3-1) after going 6.1 innings of work and giving up six earned runs off six hits, while also striking out six batters. The win went to JMU’s Brittany Jeans who pitched three innings after replacing Kiefer and only allowing one hit.
Watson went 4-for-4 at the plate against the Dukes scoring one run, while E. O’Shea picked up two hits in four at bats with one run scored and three RBI.
Elon will play in the final day of the Phoenix Softball Clash, facing Bucknell and James Madison again. The Phoenix will play the Bison at 11:45 a.m. and the Dukes at 2 p.m.