ELON, N.C. — In its opener at the Elon Invitational, the Phoenix baseball team raced out to an early 8-1 lead and held off a late push by Saint Joseph’s for an 8-5 victory on Friday at Latham Park.
“It was kind of a tale of two games,” said Elon head coach Mike Kennedy. “I thought we played pretty good early. We have to play a complete game and our guys understand that.”
The Hawks (1-3) struck first, scoring one in the top of the first on a ground out only to see Elon (7-2) grab the lead in the second. The Phoenix struck for four second-inning runs. After Danny Lynch walked to start the frame, Ryan Cooper smashed a triple to left-center. He then scored on Andy Moore’s double. Once a walk loaded the bases, Sebastian Gomez drove home two with a one-out single to right as the maroon and gold built a 4-1 advantage.
After scoring once in the third, Elon would add another three markers to its total in the fourth thanks to an RBI single from Casey Jones and two-RBI double off the bat of Chris King.
Trailing 8-2 after six innings, Saint Joseph’s cut its deficit in half in the seventh on what looked to be a two-RBI double by Tommy Cunningham. On appeal, Cunningham was ruled out for missing first base, but the two runs did count as the Hawks made it 8-4. Cunningham would hit a two-out homer in the top of the ninth for Saint Joseph’s final run of the night.
Michael Elefante (3-0) won his third consecutive decision to begin the season. He allowed one run on four hits in five innings of work. Dimitri Lettas went the final 2.1 innings, giving up one run, to earn his first career save.
The loss went to starter Joe Manion (1-1) who was charged with four runs on three hits in just 1.1 innings of action.
For Elon, Moore’s hit extended his hitting streak to seven games while Gomez ran his hitting streak to six outings. Quinn Bower saw his career-best seven-game hitting streak come to an end.
The Phoenix will continue play in the Elon Invitational on Saturday by hosting High Point at 12:30 p.m. That game will be followed by Saint Joseph’s vs. Gardner-Webb at 4 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Saint Joseph's 1 0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 5 7 0 Elon 0 4 1 3 0 0 0 0 X 8 8 1
Win – Elefante (3-0)
Loss – Manion (1-1)
Save – Lettas (1).
Umpires – HP: Jeff Ellis 1B: Kelly Culp 3B: Roger Kinley
Start: 4:00 pm Time: 3:08 Attendance: 312