ELON, N.C. – A four-run top of the fourth inning combined with Phoenix batters striking out 10 times was too much for the Elon University softball team to overcome as the maroon and gold saw its seven-game win streak snapped at the hands of Syracuse, 5-0, on Tuesday, March 11, at Hunt Softball Park.
The loss broke a tie for the Phoenix’s (15-6-1) longest win streak at the Division I level. It was also only the third loss during a 13-game home stand for the maroon and gold that ended on Tuesday.
The Orange’s Sydney O’Hara (4-5) struck out ten while giving up six hits to the Phoenix in the complete game, shutout victory. She also walked only one batter to help Syracuse improve to 6-13.
Elon’s Chelsea White (7-4) recorded her first loss after winning six straight. The junior pitched 3.2 innings and surrendered four runs on three hits while walking one. She also had six strikeouts during the contest.
The game started as a pitcher’s duel with both teams combining for three hits, all by Elon, during the first three innings of play. White fanned two batters in the first and third innings while carrying a perfect game into the fourth after striking out Alyssa Dewes to end the top of the third.
The Phoenix looked to plate its first run of the game in the bottom half of the inning after Lauren Oldham led off with a single down the right field line. She advanced to second on a one-out single up the middle by Alaina Hall, but would get thrown out at third on the next play. The inning ended with a pop up and both teams moved to the top of the fourth.
After forcing the leadoff batter to ground out to start the fourth, White allowed her first hit of the game to Nicole Lundstrom and then walked Julie Wambold to give the Orange a pair of runners with one out. White was able to strike out the next batter, but would get burned on the next at bat as Corinne Ozanne hit a three-run homer to left to put Syracuse up 3-0. The Orange then followed with a solo home run by Danielle Chitkowski to give itself a 4-0 advantage, forcing Elon to go with a change in the circle as Caitlin O’Shea stepped in for White.
Facing a 4-0 deficit, Elon again attempted to rally in the bottom of the fifth. Oldham was hit by a pitch and was joined on the bases by Hall, who hit a two-out single to right center. O’Hara left them stranded as she retired the next batter to keep the Orange’s lead intact.
Syracuse added its final run in the top of the seventh to go ahead 5-0 before the turn of the inning gave the ball back to the Phoenix for a final chance. Katie Rufo drew a two-out walk from O’Hara giving the maroon and gold a runner on base. Pinch-runner Jenna Reilly then moved to second on another single by Hall, but the game would close on a pop up to give the Orange the 5-0 victory.
Hall had half of the Phoenix’s hits after going 3-for-4 at the plate. Along with the 10 strikeouts, Elon also left eight runners on base compared to five for the Orange.
The Phoenix opens Southern Conference play this weekend with a three-game series at Western Carolina beginning on Saturday, March 15, in a doubleheader at 1 p.m.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H E Syracuse 0 0 0 4 0 0 1 5 7 0 Elon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Win – O’Hara (4-5)
Loss – White (7-4)
Save – None.
Umpires – HP: David Brewer 1B: Eddie Walker 3B: Donald Pernell
Start: 5:30 pm Time: 1:59 Attendance: 125
Weather: 79 degrees and mostly sunny