ELON, N.C. – Trailing 5-3 entering the last of the seventh inning, the Elon Phoenix scored twice in both the seventh and eighth frames to pick up a 7-5 victory over the visiting North Carolina State Wolfpack from Latham Park on Tuesday, April 7. The win gave Elon a season split of the two-game series.
After NC State (19-12) made it a 5-3 game on a Jake Fincher homer in the top of the seventh, Elon (15-16) began its comeback. Danny Lynch got things started with a double to center and would score when Austin Leeney reached on one of four Wolfpack errors. Leeney later came home when Nick Zammarelli reached on an error.
The Phoenix went to its bullpen for Joe McGillicuddy in the top of the eighth who made quick work of the Wolfpack hitters to allow Elon to quickly return to the plate. Wil Leathers led off the last of the eighth with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. With two down, Leeney and pinch-hitter Kory Shumate walked to load the bases for Zammarelli. Zammarelli laced a 2-2 pitch to second and beat the throw to first for an infield single to make it 6-5. On the play, the throw to first was low and got away allowing Leeney to score from second with an insurance run.
McGillicuddy went back out for the ninth and set down NC State in order, including strikeouts of the first two hitters of the frame.
McGillicuddy (1-2) picked up the victory with two perfect innings. He finished off an outstanding performance by the Elon bullpen. Jake Stalzer came in with a runner on second and no outs in the fifth and got a strike out, pop out and foul out to end that threat. He then threw a perfect sixth inning as well. Chris Hall gave up the one run on one hit in his lone inning out of the pen. Combined, the trio gave up one run on one hit with no walks and four strikeouts.
Elon starter Mike Krill allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings of work. He fanned three.
The loss went to Will Gilbert (0-1) who was charged with one run on no hits in an inning. Starter Jon Olczak allowed three runs on two hits in 3.1 innings.
Both teams scored a single run in the second inning, Elon’s coming when James Venuto homered off the light pole in right-center to start the Phoenix’s at bat. Elon would go in front 3-1 in the fourth, scoring once on an error on and again on a Lynch RBI single.
NC State went in front 4-3 in the fifth. The first run scored on an Elon error, the second on a wild pitch and the last on a Preston Palmeiro double to center.
Lynch had two of Elon’s five hits in the game, while Zammarelli drove in two.
Elon will head to South Carolina to begin a three-game CAA series on Friday at 6 p.m. against league-leading College of Charleston.