GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Elon softball team fell to Furman on Saturday, April 27, in the form of a 3-2 setback in the first game of an original doubleheader. The Phoenix (16-30, 5-14 Southern Conference) and Paladins (25-24, 8-10 SoCon) completed action of the opening game despite a three-hour rain delay.
The Paladins jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning of the second game before officials suspended play due to darkness. Play will resume will resume tomorrow, April 27, at 11 a.m. with the series finale to follow.
Furman 3, Elon 2
The Paladins scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the opening frame. Nikki Legg reached on a single to the pitcher and advanced to third after an errant throw to move into immediate scoring position. She would cross home plate on a Stephanie Field sacrifice fly to left field and Furman took an early 1-0 lead.
After a scoreless second and top half of the third, Elon starter Chelsea White was able to induce the first two outs to begin to bottom of the third before increasing rainfall threatened the action. Furman singled on three straight at bats to load the bases and was in a 3-1 count on the next batter before the game was delayed due to the heavy rainfall.
The game was resumed after a two hour and 58 minute wait, but Furman drew a walk on the first pitch to score a run and increase its lead to 2-0 after the third.
White kept the Phoenix within reach with her strong play in the circle. The sophomore allowed only two hits over the next three innings and was backed up with strong defensive play in the field, including a double play in the bottom of the fifth. Field singled to right leading off the inning and gave the Paladins a runner on first. After striking out the next batter, White was able to force the next batter to popup to Camille Hill, who then threw out Field at first to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, Elon’s Grace Eng and Aly Quintana both reached on a walk and a single to lead off the inning, respectively. The pair advanced into scoring position with one out after a Sarah Little ground out to the shortstop, but were stranded as the Paladins struck out the next two batters to escape the inning.
Elon finally got on board in the top half of the seventh. Tomeka Watson reached with two outs after an error by the third baseman that allowed Carleigh Nester to come to the plate. The junior center fielder made the Paladins pay with a home run to left center to tie the score at 2-2 and gave life to the Phoenix heading into the bottom of the seventh.
The momentum quickly faded as Sieara Bishop answered with a one-out, solo home run to left center to give the Paladins the walk-off game one win, 3-2.
Lauren Collier (13-10) earned the complete game win, allowing two runs, both unearned, on six hits with five strikeouts. White (4-14) took the loss for Elon after going 6.1 innings and allowing three runs, two earned, on nine hits.
Nester led the way offensively with her third home run in as many games and two RBI while being one of six different players to record a hit for the Phoenix.