ELON, N.C. – A six-run offensive explosion in the bottom of the sixth frame aided the Elon University softball team to a 10-4 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday, March 18, at Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix (17-6) won its fifth straight and 14 of its past 16 in its defeat of the Pirates (8-20). The maroon and gold also had its first multi-homer game of the season with Kara Shutt, Carey Million and Emily Roper each providing the firepower.
Elon tallied 11 hits total versus ECU with Roper and Hannah Olson leading the way with 3-for-4 performances at the plate. Shutt (2-for-4) and Million (2-for-3) also had multi hits for the maroon and gold.
The Pirates struck first in the opening inning, scoring on a single up the middle by Abby Wynne that brought in Kacie Oshiro. The run gave ECU a 1-0 lead after the top of the frame.
The Phoenix fired right back in the bottom half thanks to a one-out triple by Shutt to score Olson. Olson led off the inning with a double before coming home on Shutt’s three-bagger to right to tie the score at 1-1. Roper added another double to bring in Shutt and put the Phoenix up 2-1 after the first.
ECU continued to put pressure on the Phoenix and tied the game again in top of the third on a leadoff solo home run by Mary Sloane Bradford. The Phoenix recovered to record two outs with the bases loaded, but an Elon fielding miscue by the second baseman led to two more runs scoring for the Pirates and pushing the maroon and gold’s deficit to 4-2.
Elon cut into that deficit in the bottom of the third frame behind Shutt’s first career homer. The Greensboro, N.C., native battled a six-pitch at bat before sending a 3-2 rocket over center field that trimmed ECU’s lead to 4-3.
In the fifth inning, the Phoenix knotted the game at 4-4 thanks to some fielding mishaps on behalf of the Pirates. Olson singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second due to an error on the right fielder. A quick liner to the third baseman on the next at bat caught Olson out of position off the bag, but an errant throw that went into the outfield helped the Yorktown, Va., native cross the plate and tie the score.
In the bottom of the sixth, Elon took control of the game and the lead for good. Million led off the frame with her first home run of the year to left center that put Elon ahead 5-4. After back-to-back hit-by-pitches from ECU, Olson doubled down the left field line to bring in another run. A single by Hall added one more run to the scoreboard for the Phoenix before Roper cleared the bases with a three-run homer to right field, her third of the season. The blast gave the Phoenix a 10-4 lead going to the seventh frame.
The Pirates were able to get a pair of leadoff singles to start the seventh, but junior Kayla Caruso left them stranded after fanning the next three batters to close out the game.
Senior Caitlin O’Shea (1-1) earned her first win of the year after pitching 3.0 scoreless innings in relief and gave up only two hits. Phoenix starter Kiandra Mitchum went 3.0 innings and had six hits and four runs, two earned, allowed.
Elon opens Colonial Athletic Association play this weekend, March 21-22, with a visit to College of Charleston.