ELON, N.C. – Carleigh Nester moved into second place all-time in school history with her 27th career home to help the Elon University Softball team earn a 4-2 victory over Presbyterian on Wednesday, March 5, at Hunt Softball Park. The win was the Phoenix’s fifth in a row and sixth out of its last seven.
Nester broke a tie with Brandi Jones (2006-09) with her sixth home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning and trails only Tomeka Watson (2010-13) on the program’s all-time list in career homers. It was the senior’s lone hit of the day and one of eight that the Phoenix (13-5-1) tallied against the Blue Hose (6-8).
Ali Ford led the way at the plate after going 2-for-3 and scored the tying run for Elon in the bottom of the fourth on an Aly Quintana double to left center. Quintana’s knock helped the Phoenix erase an early 2-0 deficit after some Elon miscues allowed a pair runs by the Blue Hose in the top of the second.
Presbyterian’s Shelby Petik was walked to lead off the second inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. She reached third on a passed ball and was joined on the bases by Abby Allen after she drew a free pass. Allen then also moved into scoring position on another passed ball with both Allen and Petik crossing home plate on an Erin Taylor double down the left field line to give the Blue Hose the early 2-0 lead.
Elon starter Kayla Caruso would labor through the remainder of the inning to record the final two outs before giving way to Caitlin O’Shea to begin the top of the third. O’Shea quickly went through the order to hand the ball back to the Phoenix.
Nester plated the first run on the scoreboard for the Phoenix with her two-out solo home run to center that trimmed Presbyterian’s lead to one, 2-1. O’Shea followed with another 1-2-3 inning to keep the Phoenix within distance in the bottom half of the fourth.
In the fourth, Ford hit a two-out single to left field then tied the game at 2-2 after Quintana blasted a double to left center. O’Shea tossed her third straight scoreless and hitless inning in the top of the fifth and Elon was back up looking to move ahead in the bottom of the fifth frame.
Behind the rallying cries of its home crowd, the Phoenix bats came alive and took the lead for good thanks to a solo home run from freshman Carey Million in the fifth. The Roebling, N.J., native took the first pitch she saw and lined it to center field to put the Phoenix up 3-2.
Elon added an insurance run in the inning from Emily Cameron’s one-out single that scored Alaina Hall, who had reached earlier on a double to left center. The Blue Hose recorded a double play to escape the inning however on the next at bat.
O’Shea however shut down Presbyterian’s offense and did not allow a hit the rest of the way helping the Phoenix earn the 4-2 victory. O’Shea (3-1) went 5.0 innings while allowing no hits and struck out two while walking only one batter.
Elon returns to Hunt Softball Park this weekend to host Radford in a three-game series beginning with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 8. The first pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Presbyterian 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 0 Elon 0 0 1 1 2 0 X 4 8 1
Win – O’Shea (3-1).
Loss – LOUDERMELK (0-2).
Save – None.
Umpires – HP: Randy McLamb 1B: Roberto Capuno 3B: Lynn Dunbar
Start: 5 pm Time: 1:41 Attendance: 64
Weather: 43 degrees and mostly sunny
LOUDERMELK faced 1 batter in the 5th.