ELON, N.C. – Tomeka Watson went 2-for-3 and hit her 11th home run of the season to help the Elon softball team defeat North Carolina Central today, March 20, 6-3. The Phoenix improved to 11-11 on the season while the Lady Eagles fell to 2-21.
Kayla Caruso (5-4) earned the win after pitching 4.0 shutout innings in relief for Elon and scattered three hits with three strikeouts. Starter Eve Clausen went 3.0 innings with and allowed three runs, none earned, on two hits and a strikeout.
Watson had two RBI on the afternoon and moved closer to the program’s all-time career record in both hits and RBI. The senior outfielder is now four hits away from tying Dani Concepcion’s (2002-05) 229 career mark and is five RBI away from Debbie Zegler’s (2005-08) mark of 122.
Elon allowed the Lady Eagles’ first two batters to reach on in the top of the first, but a great defensive play by shortstop Emily Cameron rescued the Phoenix from early trouble. Cameron caught an Amber Kirkland liner and flipped it over to second for the double play. Clausen induced the next batter to pop up to end the inning.
Watson’s two-run home run got Elon on the scoreboard first in the bottom half of the inning. The blast to left center scored Carleigh Nester, who reached earlier after drawing a free pass, to give the maroon and gold a 2-0 lead after one.
After a scoreless second, the Lady Eagles were able to take advantage of some Elon miscues and plate three runs in the top of the third. NCCU’s Martha Batie drew a one out walk and was able to advanced to second after an error on the second baseman, giving London Germ a clean fielder’s choice. Nadia Jefferies doubled to left field to score Batie and advanced to third on another Phoenix error in the next at bat that scored Germ to tie the game at 2-2. Jefferies would give the Lady Eagles the lead on a passed ball, 3-2, before Elon escaped the inning trailing by one.
The deficit would be short lived in the bottom half of the third as Elon added two runs to retake the lead. Lauren Oldham doubled into left center to lead off the inning and moved to third on a Nester sacrifice bunt. Oldham would cross home plate on a Camille Hill sacrifice fly into center to tie the game at 3-3. Watson followed with a double into right center and scored later on a Cameron two-bagger to left center to give Elon a 4-3 advantage.
Caruso relieved Clausen in the top of the fourth and proceeded to set down the Lady Eagles in order. The Phoenix would take advantage in the bottom and added two more runs off the bat of Nester as she hit a two-out double into right center to score Sarah Little and Oldham. Elon would load the bases after Watson was intentionally walked, but N.C. Central forced Cameron into a fielder’s choice with Watson out at second.
The Lady Eagles led off the top of the fifth with a bunt single to third, but third baseman Johanna Spencer recorded the second double play of the game on the next at bat. Spencer caught a Germ foul ball and fired the ball across the infield to first to throw out Batie. After allowing a single, Caruso retired the side on a Joy Simpson popup.
Elon threatened in the bottom of the fifth with runners in scoring position and two outs. Grace Eng and Little both reached on singles and advanced to second and third, respectively, on a Caitlin O’Shea ground out to second. Both would be stranded however as the Phoenix flied out on the next at bat.
The Lady Eagles would not get another extra base hit for the remainder of the game as Elon came away with its second win in a row.
N.C. Central’s London Booker (1-15) took the loss for the Lady Eagles after pitching all 6.0 innings and allowing eight hits and four runs, three earned.
The maroon and gold travel to the Sunshine State for the FAU Parents Weekend Tournament on March 23-24, in Boca Raton, Fla. Elon will open the tournament against Dartmouth at 9 a.m. on Saturday.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E N.C. Central 0 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 5 1 Elon 2 0 2 2 0 0 X 6 8 2
Win – Caruso (5-5). Loss – BOOKER,Londo (1-15). Save – None.
Umpires – HP: Jason Smithey 1B: Carver Whitaker 3B: Jeremy Phillips
Start: 4 p.m. Time: 1:41 Attendance: 28
Weather: 55 degrees, partly cloudy