ELON, N.C. – Highlighted by a pair of home runs by Johanna Spencer and Tomeka Watson, the Elon softball team swept Manhattan College in a doubleheader on Sunday, March 3, at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix won the first game, 8-7, on Spencer’s walk-off home run in the seventh inning and followed with a 10-5 victory to improve to 8-5 on the year while the Jaspers fall to 0-3.
Carleigh Nester led off the bottom of the first inning with a home run to left field to give the Phoenix and early 1-0 advantage. Camille Hill and Watson each singled on the following at bats before Spencer singled up the middle to drive in Hill. Watson would cross home plate on a passed ball to give the maroon and gold a 3-0 lead after the first.
Both teams went scoreless in the second inning, but Manhattan would get on the scoreboard in the top of the third. Meghan McDevitt hit a solo home run into left center to cut the Jasper’s deficit to 3-1. The Jaspers would continue to threaten after Jen Keller advanced to second on a sacrifice with only one out and the potential tying run at the plate. The Jasper’s Jocelin Whitmore filed out to right field to advance Keller to third, but Amanda Babcock’s single resulted in Keller being throw out at home by second baseman Lauren Oldham to end the inning.
In the bottom half, Watson and Spencer hit back-to back homers to push Elon’s lead to 5-1 with no outs in the inning. Aly Quintana hit a one-out double into right center and advanced to third on Grace Eng’s grounder to the pitcher, but she would be stranded as the Jaspers recorded the final out to escape the inning trailing by four.
Nester would score her second run of the day in the bottom of the fourth on a Hill single to left center. Manhattan then made a pitching change as Erin Hamm relieved starter Amy Bright. Watson reached on a fielder’s choice with the next at bat and moved into scoring position after stealing second. Spencer followed with another single up the middle and gave Elon a 7-1 lead.
Manhattan responded with a three-run inning in the top of the sixth to trim its deficit to 7-4, then tied it at 7-7 in the top of the seventh on a Kate Bowen one-out, two-run single up the middle. Bowen would advance into scoring position at second after Elena Bowman reached on an error, but Karen Berna, pitching in relief of Eve Clausen, retired the final two batters to end then inning with Elon up to bat in the bottom of the seventh.
Spencer would waste no time as the junior third basemen hit her second home run of the day over on first pitch she saw into right center for the walk-off win.
Berna (2-1) earned the win after relieving Clausen in the top of the seventh. Clausen pitched 6.0 innings of work and allowed only one earned run in the first five innings. Hamm (0-1) took the loss for the Jaspers after 2.2 innings pitched.
Spencer went 4-for-4 with four RBI and two home runs to lead the offensive attack for the Phoenix. Four other players also had two hits for Elon.
Watson hit her ninth home run of the year to get Elon on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first. Watson hit a two-out solo shot into left center to give the Phoenix a 1-0 lead.
Elon added to that lead in the bottom of the second, plating five runs. Amanda Allen drove in Eng on a one out single through the right side followed by a Nester single to score Quintana with the bases loaded. Allen would cross home plate on a passed ball for Elon’s third run of the inning. After Watson was intentionally walked to load the bases, Spencer reached on an error to score another run for the Phoenix. Eng walked in the next at bat to reward the Phoenix another run and give the maroon and gold a 6-0 lead.
Elon added four more runs in the bottom of the third to push its lead to 10-2. Hill singled to right field to drive in Allen followed by Watson batting in two more on a single up the middle. Eng hit a one out fly out to left field to add another run for the Phoenix.
Manhattan responded with two more runs in the top of the fourth and another in the top of the seventh on a two-out single by Babcock, but Elon was able to force the final batter to ground out to end the game.
Caitlin O’Shea (1-0) earned the win in her first start of the year in 3.0 innings of work. Berna pitched the remaining 4.0 innings in relief and allowed only one earned run with three strikeouts.
Manhattan starter Kelsi Redding (0-1) took the loss for the Jaspers after pitching 1.2 innings.
Allen, Nester and Watson each went a combined 6-for-9 with five RBI and five runs scored. Eng had two RBI and drew two walks.
Elon travels to Charlotte on Wednesday, March 6, for a doubleheader against the 49ers. The first pitch is scheduled at 4 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Manhattan 0 0 1 0 0 3 3 7 10 0 Elon 3 0 2 2 0 0 1 8 13 1
Win – Berna (2-1). Loss – Hamm (0-1). Save – None.
HBP – by Berna (Paxson). PB – Stallard 2(1). Inherited runners/scored: Hamm 1/1; Berna 1/1. Pitches/strikes: Bright
96/68; Hamm 30/19; Clausen 92/61; Berna 21/17.
Umpires – HP: Eddie Walker 1B: Ken Maines
Start: 12:30 pm Time: 2:05 Attendance: 103
Weather: 37 degrees, sunny
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Manhattan 0 0 2 2 0 0 1 5 10 3 Elon 1 5 4 0 0 0 X 10 9 2
Win – O’Shea (1-0). Loss – Redding (0-1). Save – None.
PB – Bowman(1); Hill 3(6); Quintana(1). Inherited runners/scored: Bright 3/0; / 2/69. Pitches/strikes: Redding
69/33; Bright 77/53; O’Shea 63/32; Berna 83/53.
Umpires – HP: Ken Maines 1B: Eddie Walker
Start: 3:05 pm Time: 2:25 Attendance: 108