Elon Softball Wins Fifth Straight on Senior Day

ELON, N.C. – A sacrifice fly from Elon’s Carleigh Nester in the bottom of the eighth inning helped the Phoenix to a 4-3 victory against Chattanooga on Sunday, May 5. The Phoenix (21-30, 8-14 Southern Conference) earned its second-straight walk-off victory against the Lady Mocs (26-26, 10-11 SoCon) and its first conference series sweep of the year on Senior Day at Hunt Softball Park.

The Phoenix won its fifth straight game to close out the regular-season, tying a season-high. The maroon and gold was also able to send out its four-person senior class of Ali Ford, Camille Hill, Kari Pervell and Tomeka Watson on a high note in their final home game in Elon.

Pervell earned her first start of the year in the circle for Elon in her final home game at Hunt Softball Park. In only her third overall appearance on the year, Pervell got into some trouble early in the opening frame as the Lady Mocs’ Sam Taylor led off the game with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Another single by the Lady Mocs moved her to third before another single enabled her to cross home plate and give Chattanooga an early 1-0 lead.

Elon struggled to get things going offensively to start the game. Chattanooga’s starter Rachel Albritton went 1-2-3 in the bottom half of the first and held the Phoenix to only one hit until the bottom of the fifth while retiring 10 consecutive batters.

Pervell matched her pitching counterpart by keeping the Phoenix within reach with five straight shutout innings. The Colorado Springs, Colo., native was twice able to get out of a jam with two outs and a runner at third in the top of the second and third. She recorded her second strikeout to end the top of the fourth and set the Lady Mocs down in order in the top of the fifth.

In the bottom half, the Phoenix plated its first run of the game. Johanna Spencer led off the inning with a single to left field and advanced to second after Lauren Oldham singled through the right side. Elon would get runners into scoring position after Caitlin O’Shea, who came on to pinch run for Spencer, and Oldham both advanced on a double steal with Ford coming to the plate with no outs. Ford grounded out to the third baseman, but O’Shea was able to score and tie the game at 1-1.

After another scoreless top of the sixth by Pervell, Elon was able to take the lead off the bat of Grace Eng in the bottom half. Nester drew a two-out walk and was driven home by Eng’s two-run home run to left center that put Elon ahead 3-1 going into the top of the seventh.

Chattanooga was able to tie the score again in the top half of the seventh on some Elon miscues. Sam Taylor reached second on an error and advanced to third after a single by Stephanie Rieck. Anyssa Robles knotted up the score at 3-3 on a double into right center with no outs. Pervell induced the next three outs however, including a great sliding catch by Watson down the left field line to that prevented another potential run and ended the inning.

Chelsea White came on in relief for Pervell in the top of the eighth and despite giving up a lead off double, the sophomore kept the Lady Mocs from adding to its score and finagled the three outs to move into the bottom of the inning.

Hill singled to start the inning and advanced to third after pinch hitter Emilie Rowand hit a double into right center. Nester’s sac fly into center enabled Hill to cross home plate and gave the Phoenix its second walk-off win in as many games.

Pervell went 7.0 innings and allowed seven hits, two earned runs and struck out two batters. White (7-14) took the win for the Phoenix after giving up a hit in 1.0 inning of work.

Albritton (6-5) took the loss for Chattanooga after going 7.2 innings of work and giving up six hits, four runs and fanning six batters.

All six of Elon’s hits came from different players, with Eng leading the way with two RBI. Ford and Nester also added an RBI to their stat lines.

With the win, Elon clinches the No. 8 seed in the 2013 Southern Conference Softball Championships in Greensboro, N.C. The Phoenix will face off against Samford in the opening game of the tournament at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8.