ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team earned a 2-1 walk-off win over Saint Joseph’s in its first game Saturday, Feb. 22, on the second day of the Phoenix Opening Tournament. The Phoenix however could not find that same magic in its second contest falling to UMBC, 3-2, in extra innings.
Elon’s Chelsea White (3-3) pitched a complete game victory against the Hawks, giving up only one run on five hits while striking out six batters. She also walked only one batter while outlasting Saint Joseph’s Emily Rodgers in the pitcher’s duel.
The Phoenix only had four hits against the Hawks, doing most of its damage in the bottom of the second and seventh innings. Emily Roper led off the bottom of the second frame with a walk and stole second to move into scoring position. Ali Ford followed with a bunt single to move her over to third before Roper scored on a wild pitch to put Elon up 1-0 early.
The Phoenix ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth as the Hawks moved runners into scoring position with only one out. White and the maroon and gold defense held strong and recorded the next two outs to escape the inning.
Saint Joseph’s finally added the tying run in the top of the fifth. Maria Ficca was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second after Bella Picard reached on a fielder’s choice. Ficca would be thrown out at third on another fielder’s choice, but White would hit another batter to load the bases. Elon managed to force the second out of the inning after throwing out a runner at home, but the Hawks knotted the score at 1-1 on another hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded. SJU flied out to end the inning on the next at bat.
Both teams were quiet between the bottom of the fifth to the seventh inning. White allowed one hit in the top of the seventh, but struck out her sixth batter of the game to give the ball back to the Phoenix in the bottom half.
Freshman Carey Million led off the inning with a well hit ball to left field. The center fielder dropped the ball and Million was able to advance to second base. Aly Quintana moved her to third on a sacrifice bunt before pinch-hitter Caitlin O’Shea drove her home with a one out single through the left side of the infield.
In the contest against UMBC, the story was much of the same throughout the early portion of the game. Elon plated the first run of the game in the bottom of the third as Roper hit a single to right center that drove in Emily Cameron from second and gave the maroon and gold an early 1-0 lead.
Roper again provided another score for the Phoenix in the bottom of the fifth as the freshman connected on a double to right center, scoring Cameron again to move Elon up 2-0.
Some miscues from the Phoenix led to UMBC’s first run of the game in the top of the sixth and eventually the tying run on a two-out single to right field by the Retrievers’ Caitlin Chance.
The game headed into extras where the Retrievers plated the go-ahead run, 3-2, in the top of the eighth. The Phoenix could not respond in the bottom half of the frame and fell by that score.
O’Shea (1-1) took the loss for Elon in relief after going 2.1 innings and allowed only one run, unearned. Starter Alli Burdette pitched 5.2 innings and had three strikeouts along with two runs allowed.
Cameron led the way at the plate after going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a pair of doubles. Roper was 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI.
Elon wraps up the tournament tomorrow with Iona in the finale with the first pitch scheduled for 1:45 p.m.