ELON, N.C. – The Elon softball team earned a win in its Pink Day game versus Western Carolina as the Phoenix split a pair of games with the Catamounts on Saturday, April 13. Elon (13-26, 3-11 Southern Conference) took game one, 7-1, from Western Carolina (16-29, 6-11 SoCon) before losing the final game, 2-1, in a pitchers’ duel at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon 7, Western Carolina 1
The Phoenix jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after the bottom of the first. Tomeka Watson led off with single through the left side and stole second to move into immediate scoring position. She would advance to third on an Aly Quintana sacrifice bunt and would be joined in scoring position by Carleigh Nester, who reached on a bunt single and also stole second. Ali Ford drove them in with a two-out two-run single into right to give Elon the early advantage.
Elon had an opportunity to plate more runs in the bottom of the second with the bases loaded. Caitlin O’Shea and Watson both reached on singles and were joined on the bases by Quintana, who was hit by a pitch with only one out. The Catamounts were able to induce the final two outs to escape the inning.
Western Carolina would plate its only run of the game in the top of the fourth. After Elon starter Kayla Caruso held the Catamounts hitless in her first three innings, WCU’s Amelia Griffin broke through with a single to left field. A bunt single advanced her to second followed by a sacrifice bunt to move her to third. A sac fly by Taylor Sigmon drove her home to cut the Phoenix’s lead to one, but Caruso forced the final batter to pop up to end the top half of the inning.
The maroon and gold responded with three runs in the bottom half to increase its lead to 5-1. Nester hit a two-out two-run double to left to score O’Shea and Quintana, who each singled earlier in the inning. Emily Cameron followed with a single to right center to score Nester and gave Elon a four-run lead.
With more than enough run support, Caruso proceeded to shut down the Catamounts offense. The freshman from Kennesaw, Ga., did not allow another hit in the game after the fourth as she retired 11 consecutive batters.
Elon added a pair of insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Nester drove in her third and fourth RBI of the day on a one-out sacrifice bunt to score Lauren Oldham and Watson and make the score 7-1.
Caruso (7-10) earned the complete game win after allowing only one run on two hits, while striking out three batters. The loss went to WCU’s Jordan Garrett (10-10) who also went the distance and gave up seven runs, six earned, on 10 hits.
Watson had three hits for the Phoenix, while Nester and O’Shea each had two.
Western Carolina 2, Elon 1
In the second game, Western Carolina jumped out to a quick start in the top of the first scoring two runs. WCU loaded the bases with no outs after Haley Pace drew a walk from Elon starter Chelsea White. The Catamounts scored on a clean fielder’s choice after an error by the Phoenix. Another run would cross the plate after Amber Steinhardt earned a one-out bases loaded free pass to push the Catamounts up 2-0.
Elon answered with a run of its own in the bottom half. Watson drew a walk to lead off the inning and scored after Quintana reached on an error by the third baseman. Quintana advanced to second on the errant throw, while Watson scored and brought the Phoenix within one, 2-1. Quintana advanced to third on a Nester grounder to the pitcher, but she would be stranded as the Catamounts hung on to one-run lead.
The score would stand for the remainder of the afternoon as both pitchers became locked in a pitchers’ duel. The Phoenix recorded its lone hit of the game in the bottom of the third on a Quintana single, but did not have an answer for Catamount’s starter Mallory Broome.
Likewise, White also held her own in the circle for the Phoenix. The Salisbury, N.C., native tied a career-high with seven strikeouts and threw three 1-2-3 innings for Elon.
White was able to get out of the jam in the top of the seventh to give Elon a final chance. After WCU’s Karley Harkey reached on a single up the middle, Griffin followed with a one-out double to center to give Western Carolina runners in scoring position. White was able to fan her seventh batter of the game and induced a fly out to move into the bottom half.
The Phoenix went down in order in the bottom and fell in the second game to the Catamounts, 2-1.
White (2-12) pitched all 7.0 innings in the loss, despite allowing no runs after the first and six hits total. Broome (4-6) earned the complete game win with one hit allowed and no earned runs.
Both teams return to Hunt Softball Park for the series finale on tomorrow, April 14. The first pitch is slated for 1 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Western Carolina 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 2 2 Elon 2 0 0 3 0 2 X 7 10 0
Win – Caruso (7-10). Loss – Garrett (10-10). Save – None.
HBP – by Garrett (Quintana). Inherited runners/scored: None. Pitches/strikes: Garrett 123/78; Caruso 86/52.
Umpires – HP: Sid Ferguson 1B: Lynn Dunbar 3B: Jeffrey Blanken
Start: 1 p.m. Time: 1:43 Attendance: 177
Weather: 63 degrees
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Western Carolina 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 6 2 Elon 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 1
Win – Broome (4-6). Loss – White (2-12). Save – None.
Inherited runners/scored: None. Pitches/strikes: Broome 109/75; White 112/77.
Umpires – HP: Lynn Dunbar 1B: Jeffrey Blanken 3B: Sid Ferguson
Start: 3:25 pm Time: 1:30 Attendance: 104
Weather: 70 degrees, sunny