ELON, N.C. – After falling behind in the first game, the Elon softball team came back to win, 4-1, to start the doubleheader against Samford before dropping the second game, 4-3, today, March 24. The Phoenix is now 17-6 on the season and 6-2 in SoCon play, while Samford is 7-23 (1-7 SoCon)
Samford scored the first run of the day off a single to second by pitcher Misha Alridge in the top of the third. Aldridge’s hit sent home Madison Dickey, who had reached on a one-out double to center earlier.
The Phoenix scored all four of its runs in the bottom of the fourth off five hits and one error. McKenzie Carter started off the inning with a single down the right field line, followed by a single up the middle by Erin O’Shea. Both runners advanced a base on a passed ball prior to a single up the middle by Danielle Lafferty that scored Carter from third. After Lafferty stole second, Lauren Oldham reached on an error by the Bulldogs’ third baseman Rachel Bickert, which scored E. O’Shea for Elon’s first lead of the day, 2-1. With two runners on and two outs, Kaitlyn Piazzolla sinlged to right to score Lafferty as Oldham moved to second and advanced to third on the throw. A single by Carleigh Nester pushed Oldham across the plate for the maroon and gold’s fourth run of the inning and the three-run advantage, 4-1.
E. O’Shea (10-3) earned the win in the complete game, allowing just the one run off nine hits. Aldridge (4-11) took the loss after giving up one earned run off six hits.
Nester went 2-for-3 at the plate in the first game for the Phoenix with one RBI, while four other Phoenix recorded hits in the game.
The Phoenix struck first in the second game of the day with one run in the bottom of the third. Morgan Wright drew a leadoff walk to start the inning and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Oldham. A single through the right side by Nester moved Wright to third before she scored on a single up the middle from Tomeka Watson to make it 1-0 for Elon.
The Bulldogs answered the next inning with three runs to take a 3-1 lead. Abby Adams scored the first run for Samford off a sacrifice fly to left field by Shelby Scott. Ab. Adams drew a walk with one out from Elon starting pitcher Kari Prevell and then moved to second on a single by Aldridge and advanced to third on the throw. With two outs, Tessa Frates singled through the left side and advanced to second, while scoring Madeline Baker, a pinch runner for Aldridge. Frates then moved to third and scored on an error by Piazzolla to make it 3-1 in favor of Samford.
In the top of the fifth, Arica Dykes hit a home run to center field to put the Bulldogs up by three, 4-1. E. O’Shea then replaced Pervell in the circle for the Phoenix.
Elon responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to two runs. Oldham hit a single to right field to leadoff the inning and then scored on a double to right center by Nester. Samford then made a pitching change, replacing Scott for Aldridge.
Lafferty drew a walk to start the bottom of the sixth and the comeback attempt for Elon. Charyssa Parent, a pinch runner for Lafferty, then moved to second when Wright reached base on an error by Samford shortstop Ab. Adams. With two outs, Nester singled to left field to load the bases for the Phoenix. Watson then singled to the shortstop to score Parent, making it a 4-3 game. However, Watson would find herself out at second off the at-bat of Carter to end the inning.
A leadoff single by E. O’Shea in the seventh, followed by a sacrifice bunt by McKenzie Harrelson to move her to second, was not enough to tie the game for the Phoenix as the game ended in a 4-3 victory for the Bulldogs.
Pervell (2-1) allowed three earned runs off six hits in the 4.2 innings she pitched in the loss. E. O’Shea pitched 2.1 perfect innings in relief for the maroon and gold, facing a total of seven batters. Scott (1-3) earned the win after going four innings and giving up two runs off five hits. Aldridge recorded her first save of the season, pitching three innings and giving up one run off three hits.
Watson was a perfect 3-for-3 on offense with two RBI and has yet to strikeout this season. Nester also recorded three hits in her four at-bats to earn one RBI.
Elon and Samford will face off in the series finale at 1 p.m. tomorrow, March 25, at East Field.