BOCA RATON, Fla. – Tomeka Watson set the program’s single-season home run while tying the career hits record today, March 24, but the Elon softball team lost a pair of contests on the final day of the FAU Parents Weekend Tournament. Elon was defeated by host FAU, 5-3, then had a 5-4 setback to Bethune-Cookman in the finale.
FAU 5, Elon 3
The Phoenix was the first team to strike early in the opening frame. Watson hit a two-out single down the left field line and advanced to second after stealing her 12th base of the year. Emily Cameron singled up the middle to drive her home and gave Elon an early 1-0 lead. Grace Eng added another single down the left field line to drive in Cameron, who had reached second on the throw on her at bat to push the Phoenix’s advantage to 2-0.
After a scoreless second, FAU responded by getting a run on the scoreboard. Phoenix starter Kayla Caruso retired the first two batters to begin the inning, but walked Carnesha Thompson. Christina Martinez followed with a triple down the right field line that scored Thompson, but was thrown out at the plate by Lauren Oldham on a relay to prevent the tying run and end the inning with Elon holding one-run lead at 2-1.
Elon answered right back in the top of the fourth and plated another run to increase its lead. Oldham hit a one-out single to right field and was driven home by Emilie Rowand on a triple into right field to put the maroon and gold up 3-1.
Caruso and the Phoenix ran into some trouble in the bottom half. Stephanie Call doubled to lead off the inning then advanced to third on a Laura Mann single through the right side. Mann would eventually reach second and the bases were loaded on an Alexa Ballard walk. Shelby Knox single to right center closed the Owls deficit back to one at 3-2 and tied the game on a Whitley Herb in the single to center. Knox was thrown out a home by Carleigh Nester to preserve to 3-3 tie heading into the fifth.
FAU broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth. Martinez hit a one-out single down the left field line off Chelsea White, who relieved Caruso in the circle at the top of the inning. Martinez advanced to second on a stolen base and was driven home by Mann on a two-run home run to right field that gave the Owls a 5-3 lead.
After holding FAU scoreless in the bottom of the sixth, Elon had an opportunity to tie or retake the lead in the seventh. The Phoenix went down in order to end the game at 5-3.
Taylor Fawbush (11-7) earned the win for FAU after pitching 3.0 scoreless innings and allowing only one hit in relief. White (2-6) took the loss for Elon after 2.0 innings of work and allowing two earned runs off three hits.
Cameron went 3-for-3 for Elon with a RBI and scored a run. Watson went 2-for-4 and also scored a run.
Bethune Cookman 5, Elon 4
After Bethune-Cookman jumped out to an early 2-0 start in the top of the first, Elon responded in the bottom half. Nester led off with a single and moved into scoring position after stealing second. Watson then made history as the senior hit a two-run shot into left center to tie the game at 2-2. It was the 13th home run of the season for the Jackson, Ga., native, setting a new program single-season record in the category and the 229th career hit for Watson, tying Dani Concepcion for the most in school history.
Both teams were deadlocked for the next three innings until the bottom of the fifth. Caitlin O’Shea and Nester singled to reach base with one out and advanced to scoring position after Watson was intentionally walked to load the bases. Cameron made them pay with a single to score O’Shea and make the score 3-2.
Bethune-Cookman rallied back in the top of the seventh and plated three runs off some Elon errors in the inning. The Phoenix trailed 5-3 heading into its final half.
The Wildcats were able to induce the first two outs of the inning, but Hill was hit by a pitch to put a runner on for the maroon and gold. Watson drew another walk that gave Elon the potential tying run on the bases with Cameron up to bat. The freshman from Kennesaw, Ga., doubled down the left field line to cut the Phoenix deficit to one, 5-4 with runners in scoring position. Eng was walked to load the bases again, but the Wildcats forced the final out to end the game.
Samantha Gale pitched the full 7.0 innings and allowed four runs, all earned, on eight hits. Caruso (5-7) took the loss for the Phoenix, allowing only five runs on seven hits.
Cameron and Nester went 2-for-4 versus the Wildcats. Cameron also contributed with two RBI on the evening.
The Phoenix will return to action on Tuesday, March 26, at Jacksonville for a doubleheader against the Dolphins. The first game is scheduled at 1 p.m.