BIRMINGHAM, ALA. – The Elon softball team was able to split in its doubleheader today, April 20, against Samford in a Southern Conference tilt at Samford Softball Stadium. The Phoenix (15-27, 5-12 SoCon) rebounded from a tough 10-0 defeat in the opening game to shutout the Bulldogs (12-31, 4-13 SoCon), 2-0, in game two.
“Things just didn’t go our way in the first game,” said Elon head coach Kathy Bocock. “We were able to get refocused for the second contest to earn a split and have a chance to win the series tomorrow.”
Samford 10, Elon 0
The Bulldogs’ Shelby Scott tossed a no-hitter for Samford in the opening game of the series. Scott (3-12) went all 5.0 innings in the contest with five walks and two strikeouts as the Phoenix was held without a hit for the second time this season. Elon was also no-hit by Iowa State on March 23, at the FAU Parents Weekend Tournament.
Elon’s Kayla Caruso (8-11) took the loss after going 2.0 innings and allowing three runs, all earned, off four hits.
After a scoreless opening frame, the Bulldogs were the first team to plate a run in the bottom of the second inning. Rachel Bickert hit a two-out single up the middle to score pinch runner Caroline Wilder to give Samford a 1-0 lead after two.
The Bulldogs added three more runs in the bottom of the third with the majority of those coming off the bat of Kayla Shaffer. Shaffer hit a two-run home run to right center to push Samford’s lead to 3-0 with no outs. The Phoenix made a pitching changesas Caruso was relieved in the circle by Karen Berna, but Samford added another run and Elon left the inning with a four-run deficit.
Samford exploded for six runs in the fourth to give itself a 10-0 advantage that the Phoenix could not overcome, falling to the Bulldogs after the top of the fifth.
Elon 2, Samford 0
Game two was a different story with sophomore Chelsea White toeing the rubber for the Phoenix. The Salisbury, N.C., native kept the Phoenix in the game in the first two innings of the game as both teams entered the top of the third deadlocked at 0-0.
“I knew going into the game I had to step-up and provide what I could for my team,” said White. “I was glad that I was able to go out and do my job.”
The Phoenix eventually broke through in the top of the third. Tomeka Watson led-off with a single to right field and moved to second on a Camille Hill sacrifice bunt. Carleigh Nester homered to left center on the next at bat to give the maroon and gold a two-run lead.
After a 1-2-3 inning from White, Elon nearly added an insurance run in the fourth. Amanda Allen reached on a one-out single and advanced to third on an error by the second baseman. She would get thrown out a home while trying to advance on a Tomeka Watson hit to third. Elon struck out on the next at bat to end the top half of the fourth.
In the bottom, the Bulldogs had a runner advance to third with two outs, but White induced the final out to escape and preserve the 2-0 lead.
The two-run advantage was more than enough for White as she allowed three hits over the next three innings to earn her first shutout win of the season and improved to 3-12 overall. She scattered six hits and struck out two over her 7.0 innings of work.
“My defense definitely helped me out today in a big way,” White added. “I was able to get a lot of pop ups and ground outs so a lot of credit goes to them for their great play.”
Scott (3-13) took the game two loss after pitching 2.1 innings and allowing the two runs off four hits.
Both teams return tomorrow in the rubber match finale with the first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. EST.