DURHAM, N.C. – Behind a pair of home runs by center fielder Carleigh Nester, the Elon softball team earned a 9-1 road victory over North Carolina Central on Tuesday, April 23, at the Parkwood Athletic Field.
Nester had her first career multi-homer game after connecting on her seventh and eighth home runs of the year for the Phoenix (16-28). The junior was 2-for-2 at the plate with four RBI and two runs scored. Fellow junior Lauren Oldham had a season-high three RBI after going 2-for-4. Amanda Allen and Tomeka Watson also had two hits for Elon, who tallied 13 total hits against the Lady Eagles (4-40).
“The team offensively did a great job today,” said Phoenix head coach Kathy Bocock. “We were pushing our runners and scoring some runs. We were more aggressive at the plate and executed well in the small game, which helps us also.”
Chelsea White (4-13) earned the win after going 4.0 innings with one run allowed off four hits. Senior Kari Pervell pitched the remaining inning for the Phoenix in her 2013 debut after missing the majority of the season with an injury and contributed with a strikeout.
The loss went to NCCU’s London Booker (2-25), who went 3.2 innings and allowed 10 hits and eight runs, six earned.
After a scoreless opening frame, the Phoenix struck first in the top half of the second. Ali Ford, Emilie Rowand and Allen both hit one-out singles to load the bases before Caitlin O’Shea drove in Ford on a ground out to second. Oldham connected on a double down the left field line to clear the bases and gave Elon a 3-0 lead after the top half.
NCCU responded with a run of its own in the bottom. Camille Hampton led off with a double to center field and advanced to third on Markel Wylie single to third. Wylie stole second to join Hampton in scoring position and the bases were loaded after London Germ singled to third with no outs. Bianka Molina grounded to first on the next at bat as Hampton crossed home plate to pull the Lady Eagles within two, 3-1, with only one out. White was able to recover and set down the next two batters to protect the Phoenix’s lead.
In the top of the third, Watson led off with a single to left field, followed by Nester’s first home run of the day, a two-run shot into center field, to push Elon’s advantage to four, 5-1. Elon would get another runner on at second with two outs, but would leave her stranded after a pop up ended the inning.
Elon plated three more runs in the top of the fourth. Allen singled to start the inning and advanced to third after O’Shea reached on an error. Allen would eventually cross home plate on an Oldham fly out to right field. Nester added her second home run on a two-out two-run blast to left field to make the score 8-1.
The Phoenix added its final run in the top of the fifth on an Oldham single to left center to set the final score, 9-1.
Elon returns to the home confines of Hunt Softball Park to host another in-state rival in NC State tomorrow, April 24. The first pitch is scheduled at 6 p.m.