ELON, N.C. — Trailing by five runs going to the last of the sixth inning, the Elon baseball team rallied by scoring six runs over its final three at bats to claim an 8-7 victory over the visiting UMBC Retrievers from Latham Park on Monday afternoon.
“They opened the door for us and we made them pay for it,” said Elon head coach Mike Kennedy. “We had some big hits, some timely hits. We laid off some tough pitches. I thought we were very patient, very selective, and got in good counts. I told our offense we have to pick our guys up. Our starting pitching has been pretty good for the most part. I told them, ‘It’s your turn to pick us up.'”
After the top of the sixth, Elon (11-5) trailed 7-2. The Phoenix began its comeback with three in the sixth. Sebastian Gomez got it started with a single to left and stole second. After a fielder’s choice left runners on the corners with one out, Chris King’s rocket of an infield single allowed Gomez to score and continued to keep runners on first and third. Andy Moore made it a 7-4 contest with a single to center before Ryan Cooper was hit by a pitch with the bags full to pull the maroon and gold within two, 7-5.
The contest remained 7-5 until the last of the eighth. With men on first and second with one out, Cooper laced a double down the right field line that scored one. Casey Jones drew a walk to load the bases ahead of a wild pitch that allowed David Lowrey to race home with the game-tying run. After Elon reloaded the bases, Nick Zammarelli drew a five-pitch walk to force home Jones with the winning run.
The Phoenix fell behind in the top of the first when UMBC (1-6) scored once on Anthony Gatto singled home Kevin Lachance.
Elon came right back with two runs in the bottom half of the inning on RBI singles from Jones and Lynch.
UMBC added two runs in the second, three in the fourth and one in the sixth to build its lead.
The Retrievers had many chances to increase its lead before the Phoenix rallied. UMBC left the bases loaded in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings. In the seventh, UMBC filled the bases with no outs beforeChris Hall worked out of the jam, getting a force out at home, a strike out and a foul out to end the threat.
Picking up his first career win was Grant Fisher (1-0). Fisher went 0.2 scoreless innings for the victory. Ryan Pennell tossed the ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.
The loss went to Jonny Dierks (0-1) who gave up four runs on four hits in two innings out of the UMBC bullpen.
Elon will be right back in action on Tuesday afternoon, as the Phoenix will host Liberty at 5 p.m.