Elon Softball Phoenix Splits Twin Bill With Tigers in CAA Home Opener

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team split its doubleheader versus Towson on Saturday, April 4, in its Colonial Athletic Association home-opener at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix (23-11, 5-3 CAA) fell 6-1 in the first game before rebounding with a 5-3 victory in the second contest over the Tigers (14-16, 1-7 CAA).

The rubber match of the series kicks off tomorrow, April 5, with the opening pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.

Towson 6, Elon 1
In the opening game of the series, Towson struck first in the top of the second inning and took control of the game en route to a 6-1 victory, its first league win of the year. The Tigers outhit the Phoenix, 6-4, and were aided by a pair of home runs from Shelby Stracher and Missy McCormick.

Kara Shutt had half of the Phoenix’s hit total after going 2-for-4 while Sarah Little and Hannah Olson recorded the only other base hits for Elon. Kiandra Mitchum (7-6) took the loss in the circle after going 4.0 innings with four hits and three runs allowed.

Stracher opened the scoring in the top of the second with a leadoff home run down the left field line that put Towson up 1-0. After both teams went scoreless in the third, the Tigers plated two more runs on McCormick’s two-run homer to center field to give Elon a 3-0 deficit.

Towson added another run in the top of the fifth on a RBI single up the middle, but Elon responded with its first run of the game in the bottom half. Little doubled to begin the inning before Caitlin O’Shea replaced her on the bases. O’Shea crossed home plate off a RBI single from Olson to left and the Phoenix pulled within three, 4-1.

The Phoenix bats would go cold after that as Towson added insurance runs in the top of the sixth and seventh to pull away and clinch the game one victory, 6-1.

Elon 5, Towson 3
It looked like game two was going to be the same story for the Tigers as they jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage after the first mostly due to some Elon miscues. Neither team scored in the second as the contest moved to the third with Elon facing a 2-0 deficit.

The Phoenix however answered with five runs in the bottom half of the third, mainly on the benefit of some errors from Towson. Madison Kadlic drew a walk to leadoff the inning and moved to third on a double by O’Shea down the left field line. Kadlic plated the Phoenix’s first run of the game on a fielder’s choice by Alaina Hall as an errant throw by the Tigers’ second baseman missed home plate allowing Kadlic to score.

The Phoenix took the lead thanks to a two-RBI double from Shutt to left field that scored O’Shea and Hall and put Elon up 3-2. Towson went with a pitching change, but after Emily Roper drew a hit-by-pitch, another error on Emily Cameron’s fielder’s choice led to Shutt scoring to increase Elon’s lead to 4-2. That advantage swelled to three, 5-2, after Carey Million drove in Roper on a double to left.

The run support would be enough for Phoenix starter Kayla Caruso, who rebounded after giving up two runs in the first. The Kennesaw, Ga., native retired 16 straight batters at one stretch from the first to the seventh inning.

Towson pulled back within two on a leadoff home run by Stracher in the start of the seventh. After the next batter was hit-by-pitch and gave the Tigers the tying run at the plate, Elon went with a change in the circle as senior Chelsea White stepped in. The Salisbury, N.C., native induced the final three outs as Elon pulled out the 5-3 victory.

Caruso went 6.0 innings and gave up four hits and three runs, but only one earned while tying a career-high with six strikeouts. White earned her third save of the year, tying classmate O’Shea for the second-most in a single-season in school history.

The Phoenix had seven hits compared to four to Towson with Shutt (2-for-3, two RBI, double) and Million (2-for-3, RBI, double) leading the maroon and gold at the plate.