ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team rallied from a couple of early inning deficits, but was unable to defeat Georgia Southern in a doubleheader today, March 9, at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix (9-8, 0-2 Southern Conference) fell in extra innings in game one, 8-5, and lose the second game, 6-4, to the Eagles (13-10, 2-0 SoCon) in the SoCon opener for both teams.
Carleigh Nester led the Phoenix with four hits, while Kayla Caruso allowed four earned runs in 10.1 innings pitched in game one, but Georgia Southern plated four runs in the top of the 11th to earn the 8-5 win in extra innings.
Emily Cameron contributed with three hits and was one of five Phoenix players with one RBI. Caruso (4-4) went the distance in her sixth consecutive start and had a career-high six strikeouts.
Georgia Southern scored the first three runs of the game in the first two innings. Tabby Douberley hit a two out single down the left field line to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. GSU plated two more runs in the top of the second. A.J. Hamilton led off with a solo home run to left center for the Eagles second run of the game. Kaitlyn Johnson singled through the right side to score Nicole Benton, who reached earlier on a single to push score to 3-0.
Elon would be held scoreless and without a hit until the bottom of the fourth. Tomeka Watson hit a one out solo homer over the left field wall to bring the Phoenix within two, 3-1. Cameron doubled down the left field line on the next at bat and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Grace Eng would drive her home on a double into right field to close the gap to one, 3-2. After Johanna Spencer was hit by a pitch, Georgia Southern made a pitching change with Brooke Red relieving starter Sarah Purvis. Red hit Elon’s Aly Quintana on her first appearance to load the bases, but was able to strike out the next two batters to escape the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Phoenix would load the bases again on Cameron’s one out single to the pitcher. With two outs, Spencer drew another HBP to score Nester to tie the game at 3-3 before Quintana flied out on the next at bat to end the inning.
Both teams went scoreless over the next four innings leading into extras. The Eagles would strike first in the top of the 10th on a Douberley one out double down the right field line to give them a 4-3 lead. Andrea Tarashuk doubled on the next at bat to center field, but Douberly was thrown out at home by Nester. Caruso fanned her sixth batter of the afternoon on the next at bat to end the inning.
Elon tied the game on a Nester one out double into right center to score Caitlin O’Shea, but Lauren Oldham was tagged out on the play attempting to score from first. Red fanned her 11th batter of the contest to end the inning.
Georgia Southern added four runs in the top of the 11th to move ahead, 8-4 moving into the bottom half. Cameron reached on a fielder’s choice with two on and no outs and advanced to second on the throw that scored Hill from third to bring Elon closer at 8-5. Georgia Southern would close the door afterwards with as the next two batters went down in order to end the game.
Red (4-1) earned her fourth win of the year after going 7.2 innings with one earned run allowed and 11 strikeouts. Purvis pitched 3.1 innings and allowed three hits and two earned runs.
Hill, Eng and Spencer recorded two hits apiece with Spencer driving in a team-high two RBI, but the Phoenix fell short in the second game to the Eagles, 6-4.
Georgia Southern plated a run in the top of the second to jump ahead 1-0 on a Douberley solo home run down the right field line. The Eagles added some insurance runs in the top of the fourth and fifth inning to give itself a 6-0 cushion heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Elon would answer with four runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth to pull within two, 6-4. Hill led off with a single and advanced to second after Watson popped up to left fielder. Following a free pass to Cameron, Eng doubled into left center to score Hill. Spencer added a one out, two run double down the left field line to pull Phoenix within three, 6-3. Purvis would come in to relieve starter Allie Miles, but walked Sarah Little and would hit Quintana on the next at bat to load the bases.
Spencer scored on a passed ball to make the score 6-4. Purvis would regroup to strike out the next two batters to move into the seventh.
Elon held Georgia Southern scoreless in the top half of the inning and was able to advance Hill and Watson into scoring position after Cameron’s sacrifice bunt. The rally would fall short as Purvis fanned her second and third batter of the game to end game two.
White (1-2) took the loss after 3.0 innings of work and one earned run. Miles (3-2) picked up the win for the Eagles.
Elon returns to Hunt Softball Park to host the series finale tomorrow, March 10, with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E Georgia Southern 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 8 12 2 Elon 0 0 0 2 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 5 10 2
Win – Red (4-1). Loss – Caruso (4-4). Save – None.
Umpires – HP: Alex Leap 1B: Steve Gould 3B: Lou Chillemi
Start: 1 p.m. Time: 3:19 Attendance: 154
Weather: 52 degrees, sunny
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Georgia Southern 0 1 0 4 1 0 0 6 11 1 Elon 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 4 7 2
Win – Miles (3-2). Loss – White (1-2). Save – None.
Umpires – HP: Steve Gould 1B: Lou Chillemi 3B: Alex Leap
Start: Time: 1:25 Attendance: 78
Weather: 61 degrees, Sunny