Phoenix Splits Day Two of Elon Softball Tournament

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team split both its games on Saturday, March 7, on the second day of the Elon Softball Tournament at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix (11-5) suffered a 1-0 setback to Central Connecticut State before rebounding with a 2-0 victory over Lafayette.

The Phoenix concludes the tournament tomorrow, March 8, with its finale against Hampton. That game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

Central Connecticut State 1, Elon 0 (8)
The Phoenix fell in its first contest of the day, 1-0, against the Blue Devils in extras despite starting pitcher Kiandra Mitchum going toe-to-toe with CCSU’s hurler Laura Messina in a classic pitchers’ duel.

Mitchum (6-3) saw her three-game win streak snapped despite only allowing one run, unearned, in her eight innings of action. The freshman held her own against Messina, who was named to the 2015 USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Watch List and ranked as the eighth-best pitcher in the nation by Fast Pitch News.

Messina (2-0) proved to be worthy of the accolades as she held the maroon and gold to only two hits while striking out seven in her eight innings.

The Blue Devils scored the lone run of the game in the top of the eighth after a runner was placed at second due to extra inning rules. CCSU’s Ashley Black moved from second to third on a sacrifice bunt before crossing home plate on a single to left center by Tori Constantin to put the Blue Devils up 1-0.

Elon tried to respond in the bottom half of the frame, but could only get one other base runner on before seeing its seven-game win streak snapped.

Kara Shutt and Carey Million recorded the lone hits for the maroon and gold. The Phoenix also left six runners on base.

Elon 2, Lafayette 0
Elon bounced back in its second game of the day with a 2-0 victory over Lafayette. The Leopards gave the Phoenix a tougher battle in the rematch between the two teams from Friday, March 6, in the opening-game of the tournament.

Kayla Caruso (4-0) picked up the win after going 4.0 innings and allowed five hits and no runs with a strikeout. Senior Caitlin O’Shea tallied her second save of the year after pitching 3.0 innings in relief and allowed only one hit while fanning one batter. The save was also the fifth in her career, moving her in a tie for second all-time in school history with older sister Erin O’Shea (2009-12).

Both hurlers were aided by some great defensive work behind them as well as two runs scored by the Phoenix in the bottom of the first. Hannah Olson led off the frame with a double down the left field line and was joined on the bases by Emily Cameron after she drew a walk. The bags were loaded after Aly Quintana joined them on a hit-by-pitch before Million drove a single to left field, scoring Olson and Cameron to put the Phoenix ahead 2-0.

The cushion was more than enough for Caruso, who received some great help defensively throughout her four innings. Alaina Hall threw out a pair of runners trying to advance to third in the top of the second and third innings while Cameron caught a great line drive to end the top of the fifth.

In the sixth inning, O’Shea was the beneficiary of the defensive play around her. After Lafayette had a runner advance to second with one out, O’Shea and the Phoenix induced the final outs on a 1-3-5 double play to escape the inning.

Lafayette would go down in order in the bottom of the seventh as the Phoenix improved to 11-5 on the year.

The Phoenix had four total hits on the day with Olson, Cameron, Million and Hall all having one each.