ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team pushed its win streak to seven games on Sunday, March 9, with a pair of 3-2 wins over Towson and Radford. The Phoenix (15-5-1) defeated Towson (8-7) in extras on a Carey Million walk-off single while hanging on to escape Radford (4-10) at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon’s Emily Cameron led the way offensively in the two games after going 4-for-6 with a pair of runs scored and a double. Junior Aly Quintana went 3-for-5 and drove in a pair of runs as did fellow junior Grace Eng. Junior Caitlin O’Shea (4-1) earned the win in relief versus Towson and the save versus Radford.
Elon 3, Towson 2 (8)
Cameron went 3-for-4 at the plate versus Towson and scored the first run of the game for Elon. Emily Roper had two hits for the Phoenix, who tallied 10 total against the Tigers.
Towson struck first in the top of the fourth to go up 2-0. Maureen Hepner drew a free pass to lead off the inning and advanced to third after Missy McCormick reached on an error. Both moved into scoring position after McCormick stole second before Hepner scored the first run of the game on a Delanie Dunham double to left field. McCormick added the second run of the contest for Towson on a wild pitch, putting the Tigers up 2-0.
Elon responded in the bottom of the frame however. Eng reached on a one-out single and advanced to second while Cameron, who had reached earlier on a single, was thrown out at home. Eng moved over to third after Ali Ford reached on an error before Quintana drove her in on a single to right center, bringing the Phoenix within one, 2-1.
Elon evened the score in the bottom of the fifth on a two-out double by Roper down the left field line that scored Cameron, who preceded Roper with a single to left. The Phoenix struck out to end the inning on the next at bat to move to the top of the sixth.
Neither team generated much offensively in the sixth inning as the game moved into the top of the seventh knotted at 2-2. O’Shea, who relieved starter Alli Burdette in the top of the fifth, threw a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh to give Elon an opportunity in the bottom half. Cameron and Roper both hit one-out singles to reach before Eng joined them after being walked to load the bases. All three would be stranded as the next two batters popped up to end the inning, moving the game into extras.
Going into international tiebreaker rules, Towson had its runner advance to third on a passed ball with one out. O’Shea and the maroon and gold defense held her there and recorded the final two outs to escape the inning.
The Phoenix finally took the game with a walk-off one-out single by Million, who took the first pitch she saw and sent it to left field, scoring pinch runner Emilie Rowand to give Elon a 3-2 win.
O’Shea pitched 4.0 scoreless innings in relief and allowed only one hit with a strikeout. Burdette also pitch 4.0 innings and gave up four hits and two runs, one earned, along with three fanned batters.
Elon 3, Radford 2
In the final game of the day, Elon starter Chelsea White (7-3) picked up the win after striking out six batters. The win was also White’s sixth in a row.
Eng and Quintana both led the way at the plate with two hits with Eng providing a pair of RBI while Quintana drove in one.
Elon plated the first runs of the game in the third inning. Cameron doubled down the left field line to lead off the inning. She would score later on Eng’s double down the left field line to put Elon up 1-0. Quintana would add the second run of the game for the Phoenix, driving in Roper, who had reached earlier being walked, with her sacrifice fly to left field, putting Elon ahead 2-0.
The Phoenix added another run in the fifth as Eng hit a two-out solo home run to left field, her fifth of the year. The inning would end on a ground out, but gave White some insurance going into the sixth.
Some great defensive play by the Phoenix in the sixth kept the Highlanders off the board, but in the seventh Radford finally responded. Jessie Hutchens hit a solo homer to left field to lead off the inning and cut Elon’s lead to two, 3-1. After White forced Nia Chiles to pop up for the first out, Becky Mantel added another solo home run to left field and brought Radford within one, 3-2.
Elon went with a change in the circle as O’Shea came on to close out the game. The Kennesaw, Ga., native struck out Summer Robinson before forcing Casey Burns to ground out to end the game.
White went 6.1 IP and gave up six hits and two runs while walking only one batter. O’Shea earned the save, the first of the season for the Phoenix.
Elon closes out its 13-game homestand as it hosts Syracuse for the first time on Tuesday, March 11. That game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.