ELON, N.C. – Tomeka Watson became the program’s all-time leader in career RBI, but the Elon softball team fell in its doubleheader on Tuesday, April 2, to Longwood at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix (12-21) lost the first game, 8-1, and took a tough loss in the final game, 6-4, despite Watson driving in her 123rd career RBI against the Lancers (25-10).
Longwood 8, Elon 1
The Lancers plated the first runs of the game in the top of the first. Megan Baltzell hit a one-out double to right center followed by pitcher Brooke Short reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. After Emily Murphy singled, Chelsea Sciacca hit a bases-clearing double into left center to give Longwood a 3-0 lead.
Longwood added another run in the top of the second to move ahead 4-0, but Elon finally responded with a run in the bottom of the third. Carleigh Nester reached on a fielder’s choice then moved into scoring position after stealing second. Watson drove her home on a two-out single through the left side to bring the Phoenix within three, 4-1.
Both teams went scoreless in the fourth, but the Lancers put two more runs on the board in the top of the fifth due to some miscues by the Phoenix. After Sciacca doubled left center, Carly Adams reached on an error then stole second to move into scoring position, which allowed pinch runner Casey Lifsey to score from third. Adams herself would score on another stolen base attempt and gave Longwood a five-run advantage.
The Lancers scored two more time in the top of the seventh before taking a final 8-1 victory over the Phoenix.
Longwood’s Short earned the win (13-5) after going 5.0 innings with one run allowed (earned) on four hits. Elon starter Kayla Caruso (6-8) took the loss after allowing four runs, three earned, off five hits. Caruso also struck out three batters.
Watson went 2-for-3 to account for half of Elon’s hit total with an RBI. Nester and Camille Hill also had a hit for the maroon and gold.
Longwood 6, Elon 4
Despite falling behind early, 2-0, after the top of the first in the second game, Elon fought back in the bottom half to tie the game. Nester singled to lead off the Phoenix and scored after Caruso reached on an error by the third baseman. Caruso advanced to third on the errant throw and was driven home by a Watson single through the left side knot the game at 2-2.
Longwood hit a grand slam in the top of the second to move back up front 6-2. Short hit a shot into right field to increase the Lancers lead to four.
Elon battled back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the third. After Caruso reached base on another error, Watson, who tied the program’s all-time mark with her RBI earlier in the game, lined a shot to left center to score Caruso and broke a tie with Debbie Zeigler (2005-08) to become the school-record holder in career RBI. Watson crossed home plate on a Sarah Little double down the left field line to bring the Phoenix back within two, 6-4.
Karen Berna, who came on in relief for starter Chelsea White in the second inning, kept the Phoenix in it despite a challenge from the Lancers in the top of the fifth. Short hit a one-out double to left center and advanced to third on a wild pitch. She would be stranded however as the Berna and the Phoenix induced the final two outs of the inning.
The Phoenix bats were quieted by the Lancers’ relief pitcher, Libby Morris, who came on and relieved starter Ashley Cornell in the third. Morris prevented Elon from reaching extra bases until the bottom of the seventh after Nester hit a two-out double to right center. The next batter grounded out and the ended game with the score 6-4.
Morris (12-4) earned the win in relief after going 4.2 innings with only two hits allowed and a couple of strikeouts. White (2-10) went 2.0 innings in the loss for Elon after giving up six runs on seven hits. Berna pitched 5.0 shutout innings in relief and allowed only one hit and fanned two batters.
Watson hit 3-for-3 in the contest with two RBI. Nester had two hits for the Phoenix and a double.
Elon returns to Southern Conference play this weekend, April 6-7, at Appalachian State. The three-game series begins on Saturday at 1 p.m. in a doubleheader and concludes on Sunday, April 7.