MT PLEASANT, S.C. – The Elon softball team had a couple of setbacks today, March 16, as the Phoenix fell in a doubleheader at College of Charleston. CofC (13-9, 5-0 Southern Conference) won the first contest, 7-3, and the second, 4-3, against the Phoenix (9-10, 0-5 SoCon) at the Patriots Point Athletic Complex.
Carleigh Nester was able to get into early scoring position in the top of the first after reaching second on an error by the third baseman. She would get stranded however as CofC sat down the following three batters to escape the top half.
The Cougars would plate the first runs of the game in the bottom half. Kelsey Hodgson hit a one out two-run home run to center field to give CofC an early 2-0 advantage.
Nester saved Elon from falling into a deeper deficit with her great defensive play in the outfield in the bottom of the second. With runner on second and two outs, Lizzy Vaughn hit a shot into left center, but Nester was able to track down the ball and make the catch prior to crashing into the wall to preserve to two-run deficit.
Elon would get on the scoreboard in the top of the fourth inning to trim the Cougars’ lead. Aly Quintana gave the Phoenix its first hit of the game in the top of the fourth and stole her third base of the year to move into scoring position with Emily Cameron at the plate. Cameron would reach on a fielder’s choice after Quintana was thrown out at second.
Johanna Spencer hit a double into to left center on a full count, scoring Cameron from first to make the score 2-1. Grace Eng earned a free pass on the next at bat to give the Phoenix runners at first and second, but the Cougars’ Hope Klicker struck out the final batter to escape the inning.
CofC increased its lead in the bottom of the fifth, plating five runs. Chandler Frisbie hit a bases loaded single with no outs up the middle to score Carly Corthell. Elon starter Chelsea White was able to set down the next two batters, but CofC’s Kristy Giragosian hit a grand slam into left center, pushing the deficit to six, 7-1.
White was relieved in the circle by Eve Clausen and the sophomore was able to force the final out of the inning.
Elon would not go down quietly as the Phoenix answered with two runs in the top half of the sixth. Quintana led off the inning with a single up the middle, then advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt. After Tomeka Watson singled to the shortstop, she and Quintana were moved into scoring position on a Cameron sacrifice bunt.
Spencer singled to left field to drive in Quintana, but Watson thrown out at home by the left fielder. Eng singled to right field to drive in Spencer and bring Elon within four, 7-3.
Clausen pitched a scoreless bottom half of the sixth to give the Phoenix a final opportunity in the top of the seventh. The maroon and gold would have runners at first and second with two outs, but Watson hit into a fielder’s choice for the final out of the game.
Kiicker pitched all seven innings to improve to 8-4 on the year after allowing three runs, one earned, with eight hits. White (1-4) took the loss, but had six strikeouts on the afternoon.
Quintana, Spencer and Caitlin O’Shea led Elon with two hits apiece. Watson extended her hitting streak to 16 games with her single in the sixth.
Elon would strike first in game two in the top of the second inning. Spencer singled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on the next at bats, which were ground outs. Emilie Rowand reached on an error by the third baseman, scoring Spencer and giving the Phoenix a 1-0 lead after the first.
The Phoenix added another run on the board in the top of the third to give itself a three-run advantage. Nester doubled into right field to score Watson, who reached earlier on an error. Nester would advance to third on the throw at home and scored on a Spencer single to center field to make the score 3-0 after the top of the third.
CofC hit a solo home run in the bottom half to get on the scoreboard. Vaughn hit a shot into center field on a 1-0 pitch, bring the Cougars within two. Hodgson singled to right field and was brought home on a double by Brisbie to add another score to the board. The Cougars would tie it at 3-3 before heading into the fourth.
The Phoenix and game two starter Kayla Caruso was able to get out of a tough bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fourth after Vaughn drew a two-out HBP. CofC could not capitalize on the opportunity as Caruso forced Hodgson to pop up to end the inning.
After three and a half scoreless innings, the Cougars were able to score to walk-off run in the bottom of the seventh. Mueller singled through the right side to score Chloe Fletcher to give the Cougars the 4-3 victory.
Stephanie Saylors (5-4) earned the complete game win for the Cougars, giving up four only five hits with no earned runs. Caruso (4-5) earned the loss after giving up four runs in the game, three earned.
Spencer went 3-for-3 on in the second game with an RBI. Nester had the only lone hit for the Phoenix in game two, going 1-for-3 with a RBI.
Both teams return to the Patriots Point Athletics Complex for the series finale tomorrow, March 17, at 1 p.m.