BOONE, N.C. – Carleigh Nester homered for the third time in as many games, but the Elon softball team could not overcome a five-run third inning from Appalachian State in a 7-1 defeat versus the Mountaineers on Sunday, April 7. The Phoenix fell to 12-24 on the year and 2-10 in Southern Conference play in the series finale while ASU improves to 18-13 overall and 12-3 in the SoCon.
Nester went 4-for-4 at the plate with her fifth home run of the year and three doubles for the Phoenix. The junior center fielder became the fifth player in school history with 40 or more career doubles. Three other players also had a hit for the Phoenix.
The Phoenix jumped out to a quick start with Nester leading off the game with a double and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Tomeka Watson was walked then moved to second on a passed ball to give Elon runners in scoring position with only one out. Elon could not capitalize on the opportunity as ASU recorded the final two outs to escape the top of the first.
ASU was the first team to plate runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. Meghan Smith singled to lead off the inning then advanced to third after Ashley Seering reached on a single up the middle, moving to second on the throw. Ellie Manriquez drove a single to right field to score Smith and Seering, but was thrown out trying to advance to second for the first out of the frame.
Elon was able to record another out before two more runners reached on for the Mountaineers. The Phoenix made a change in the circle as Karen Berna relieved starter Kayla Caruso. Berna forced the final batter to ground out to end the inning with Elon down 2-0.
The maroon and gold saw another opportunity to score some runs in the top of the third. Lauren Oldham singled to start the inning and moved to third on another double by Nester. Watson drew a one-out walk to load the bases, but Elon could not drive them in as the Mountaineers held its 2-0 lead.
ASU exploded for five runs in the bottom half. Lindsay Loudermilk singled down the right field line and advanced to second after an error on the right fielder. Allie Cashion doubled to right field to drive in Loudermilk and advanced to third on the throw. After Smith reached on a hit-by-pitch, Seering hit a three-run homer to left field to push ASU’s lead to 6-0. The Phoenix made another change in the circle as Chelsea White came in for Berna. Appalachian State added another run before leaving the inning with a 7-0 advantage.
Nester hit a one-out home run in the top of the fifth to give Elon its first run of the game. The junior homered for the third time in as many games with a solo shot to left field. Watson reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second with two outs, but the Phoenix went down on strikes to end the inning down six runs, 7-1.
The game would end in that score as the Mountaineers completed the sweep of the Phoenix. ASU’s Alissa Schoelkopf (12-7) earned her third win of the series after pitching a complete game and allowing only one run off seven hits.
Caruso (6-10) took the loss for Elon after going 1.2 innings with four hits allowed and two runs earned. White pitched effectively for the Phoenix after the third, combining with Caitlin O’Shea for three complete scoreless innings.
The maroon and gold will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C., on Wednesday, April 10, to take on North Carolina. That game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. start.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Elon 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 7 2 Appalachian State 0 2 5 0 0 0 X 7 10 0
Win – Schoelkopf (12-7). Loss – Caruso (6-10). Save – None.
Umpires – HP: Robert Burrell 1B: Robert Lett 3B: Jeff Blanken
Start: 1 p.m. Time: 2:01 Attendance: 162
Berna faced 4 batters in the 3rd.
White faced 1 batter in the 6th.