ATHENS, Ga. – The Elon softball team suffered a couple of tough losses today, Feb. 9, to finish play at the Red and Black Showcase. Elon dropped its first game of the afternoon, an 8-0 setback to No. 8 Georgia (2-1) before losing to Winthrop, 4-1 in the nightcap. The Phoenix fell to 1-3 on the year.
The Phoenix had an opportunity to put some runs on the board early when UGA’s Morgan Montemayor walked Carleigh Nester and Lauren Oldham to lead off the game. A sacrifice bunt by Tomeka Watson advanced both runners into scoring position for Elon with Johanna Spencer coming to the plate. Spencer reached on a fielder’s choice, but Nester was called out in a rundown. A strike out followed to end the inning and the Phoenix’s threat.
UGA would get on the scoreboard with three runs in the bottom of the second. The Bulldogs led off with a pair of singles. After a wild pitch, Georgia’s Katie Browne doubled into center field to drive both runners home, then scored later after an Elon error to put the Bulldogs ahead, 3-0.
The Phoenix bats went down in order in the top of the third, but Elon responded in the bottom half with great defensive play from freshman Emily Cameron at second base. Cameron helped record the final two outs of the inning, throwing out a runner at home plate on a fielder’s choice by Bry Blanco. She then caught Christine Olney’s line drive up the middle to end the inning.
The Bulldogs plated five more runs in the bottom of the fourth to push its lead to 8-0. Elon could not respond in the top half of the fifth inning after Nester fouled out to the right fielder to end the game.
The Phoenix’s Karen Berna (0-1) pitched four innings in the loss. UGA’s Morgan Montemayor (1-0) pitched five shutout innings and allowed only two hits.
Nester went 1-for-3 while Aly Quintana had the other lone hit for the Phoenix.
The Lady Eagles struck first in the opening frame, racking up two hits and two earned runs. Winthrop’s Kristy Noble drew a free pass and advanced to second after a McKenzi Corn grounder to the shortstop. She was then driven home by a Chelsey Schoenfeldt a single into left field then followed her across the plate on a Kathryn Eberlin double into right center field. Elon’s Chlesea White was able to strike out the final batter to escape the inning with the Phoenix trailing 2-0.
The Phoenix could not respond in the bottom half, going down in order. The Lady Eagles’ capitalized on a Christine Dewitt lead-off home run in the top of the second inning to push Winthrop’s lead to 3-0. Winthrop would add another run before White recorded her third strikeout to end the inning.
In the bottom of the second inning, a one-out single by Cameron into left center followed by another single by Hill put Elon into scoring position. The next two Phoenix batters could not drive them in as Elon ended the inning without scoring a run.
The top of the third inning was highlighted by great defensive play from the maroon and gold, particularly from shortstop Quintana. After a one-out single by Eberlin, the Lady Eagles’ Alex White hit the ball to Quintana, who was able to tag second base and throw out White for the unassisted double play.
Elon could not build off that momentum as the maroon and gold recorded only three hits over the next three innings. Kayla Caruso would come in to pitch two scoreless innings in relief for White.
Elon would threaten in the bottom of the sixth and finally get on the scoreboard. Watson hit a one-out solo home run to bring the Phoenix within three, 4-1. It was the Jackson, Ga., native’s 22nd career homer, four shy of tying the all-time mark in program history.
Cameron and Hill followed with two out-singles then Grace Eng was given a free pass to load the bases. Elon failed to capitalize on the opportunity and struck out to end the inning.
Elon final chance for a comeback ended in the seventh inning when Johanna Spencer popped up to the shortstop to end the game.
White (1-1) went five innings with five strikeouts and three earned runs allowed. Caruso allowed one hit in two innings of work. Winthrop’s Sutton Watson (1-0) pitched a complete game and allowed only one earned run.
The Phoenix will take a break before its home-opener at its new stadium new home, Hunt Softball Park, on Feb. 19, against Campbell. That game is scheduled for 4 p.m.