ELON, N.C. — After falling into an early hole, the Elon baseball team pulled out an 8-5 victory over the Southern Conference’s first-place Davidson Wildcats on Friday night at Latham Park.
“We needed a win in a bad way,” said Elon head coach Mike Kennedy. “What I liked most about tonight is that we got down early and we could have easily rolled over, but I thought some toughness showed. I thought we showed a lot of grit and a lot of determination. We stayed the course and had some very good at bats. We just kept plugging away and finally got the lead.”
Davidson (25-14, 15-5 SoCon) jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after the top of the first as the Wildcats used four hits, including three for extra bases, to claim the early lead.
The Phoenix (26-19, 12-10) came back with two in the bottom of the first on Tyler McVicar’s team-leading sixth home run of the season. Elon knotted the game at four in the third as Ryan Cooper and Nick Zammarelli both drove in runs.
In the last of the fourth, Elon grabbed its first lead of the game by scoring three times to move on top by a 7-4 margin. Blaine Bower got it started with a single and headed to second on an errant pickoff throw before scoring on Wil Leathers’ double that bounced over the bag at third. With runners on second and third, Andy Moore drove home a run with a single to right. The final marker came in when McVicar reached on a fielder’s choice.
Nathan Becker’s 11th homer of the year started the Wildcats’ half of the fifth and pulled Davidson back within two at 7-5.
Elon added an insurance run when Casey Jones singled home Sebastian Gomez in the last of the eighth.
Davidson threatened in the second as the Wildcats loaded the bases with just one out against Elon starterLucas Bakker. Bakker then got Forrest Brandt to bounce into a 5-3 double play to end the inning. Davidson loaded the bases two more times in the game and failed to score.
Bakker (6-2) picked up the win after giving up five runs on 10 hits in six innings. John Antonelli earned his first save of the season after tossing 2.2 scoreless innings out of the Elon bullpen.
The loss went to Matt Saeta (0-1) who surrendered three runs (two earned) on five hits in 3.2 innings of relief.
Offensively, all nine Elon starters had at least one hit. Gomez, Moore, Cooper and Zammarelli all had two-hit games for the Phoenix.
Elon and Davidson will meet for game two of this three-game series at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Davidson 4 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 11 1 Elon 2 0 2 3 0 0 0 1 X 8 13 0
Win – Bakker (6-2). Loss – Saeta (0-1). Save – Antonelli (1).
Umpires – HP: Tyler Simpson 1B: Gary Swanson 3B: Joe Marion
Start: 6:30 pm Time: 3:10 Attendance: 608
Weather: Sunny, 68 deg., Winds: SSW 6