ELON, N.C. — Casey Jones drove in a career-best five runs and extended the longest hitting streak of his Elon career to 11 games as the Phoenix claimed a 6-3 victory over The Citadel Bulldogs in game one of a three-game Southern Conference baseball series on Friday afternoon from Latham Park.
“Casey’s been in a place that not too many guys have been since I’ve been here,” said Elon head coach Mike Kennedy. “He’s putting some good swings on the ball. He’s just in the zone. We needed something good to happen. It was a big win, no doubt. We couldn’t afford to lose another one.”
After two scoreless innings, Elon (15-10, 4-3 SoCon) got on the board when Jones belted a two-out homer over the 12-foot high wall in left that gave the Phoenix a 3-0 lead. The shot was the second of the year for Jones and gave the maroon and gold homers in three consecutive outings.
The Citadel (12-15, 1-6) closed the gap to 3-1 in the top of the fourth, scoring on a Drew DeKerlegan sacrifice fly. The run snapped Elon starter Lucas Bakker’s streak without allowing an earned run at 29.2 innings.
After the Bulldogs closed within one in the top of the fifth, Jones drove in his fourth run of the day with a ground out to first that plated Travis Docimo who had reached on a one-out walk.
Once again, The Citadel chipped away and pulled back within a run at 4-3 in the top of the sixth. With the bases loaded with two outs, Ryan Kilgallen was hit by a pitch to force home a run before Bakker retired the next hitter to end the inning.
With one out and Quinn Bower on second in the last of the seventh, Jones drove the first pitch he saw from Ross White to the gap in left-center for a double that gave him his fifth RBI of the contest. Jones then scored on Chris Hall’s two-out single.
Bakker (5-1) continued his performance of being the staff ace. The junior went eight innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits. It marked just the second time in seven outings that he has allowed more than one earned run. Bakker walked one and struck out five. Picking up his sixth save of the year wasRyan Pennell who tossed the ninth, striking out one.
The loss went to Logan Cribb (1-4). Cribb gave up four runs on six hits in five innings of work.
Jones has now reached base safely in 15 consecutive games. Hall has hit safely in seven straight outings for the Phoenix. One streak that did come to an end was Sebastian Gomez’s streak of reaching safely. The senior had reached safely in his last 20 contests.
For the Bulldogs, three of their nine hits came from Johnathan Stokes.
The two sides are scheduled to play game two of this series at 4 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Citadel 0 0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 3 9 1 Elon 0 0 3 0 1 0 2 0 X 6 10 1
Win – Bakker (5-1)
Loss – Cribb (1-4)
Save – Pennell (6).
Umpires – HP: Mike Parnell 1B: Randal Dulin 3B: Todd Drake
Start: 4:00 pm Time: 2:32 Attendance: 102
Weather: Cloudy, 65 deg, Winds: SSW 10
Cribb faced 1 batter in the 6th.
White faced 1 batter in the 7th.