ELON, N.C. – Sophomore Emily Roper’s three-run homerun in the bottom of the fifth inning of game two helped the Elon University softball team to a split of its Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader versus Delaware on Saturday, April 11, at Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix (24-13, 6-5 CAA) fell in the opening game, 4-1, to the Blue Hens (21-14, 5-5 CAA) before rebounding with a 7-4 victory in the nightcap. The rubber match of the series kicks off tomorrow, April 12, with the opening pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
Game 1: Delaware 4, Elon 1
The Blue Hens opened the scoring in the top of the first frame taking a 1-0 lead on a single to right field by Heather Oakley. Delaware then added to its lead in the top of the third with two more runs behind a solo home run by Jessica Grisler and a RBI single by Sarah Bencivenga to put the Phoenix in a 3-0 deficit.
The Phoenix plated its lone run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Kara Shutt drove a two-out RBI double to right center and advanced all the way to third on a wild pitch. Alaina Hall and Hannah Olson would join her on the base paths, but all three would be stranded after a strikeout ended the frame.
Delaware tallied the final score of the game on a sacrifice fly to right by Shelby Jones in the top of the sixth. The Phoenix managed to load the bases once again in the bottom of the seventh with two outs, but a fielder’s choice ended the game with the score 4-1.
Kayla Caruso (8-4) took the loss for the Phoenix after she went just 2.0 innings and gave up three runs on five hits. Caitlin O’Shea pitched 5.0 innings in relief and allowed just one run on two hits.
The Phoenix was outhit by the Blue Hens, 7-5, in the game with Hall leading the way with a 2-for-3 performance. Elon left 11 runners on the base paths compared to four for Delaware.
Game 2: Elon 7, Towson 4
Elon fell behind again early in the second game this time on a Jones RBI single to right field that gave the Blue Hens a 1-0 advantage in the top of the second.
After scoreless third and fourth frames, Delaware moved up 2-0 in the top of the fifth on a RBI single by Leanna Gearheart. Elon answered back with a five-run bottom half. O’Shea reached on an error by the second baseman to leadoff the inning and was joined on the bases by Olson after she drew a free pass. Both runners moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Hall before Shutt drove in O’Shea on a RBI single to put the Phoenix on the scoreboard.
The Phoenix took the lead for good on the next at bat as Roper blasted her eighth homer of the year on a three-run shot over the fence in center that put the maroon and gold ahead 4-2. Elon added to its score as Kiandra Mitchum hit a two-out double to left center to score Carey Million, who reached earlier on a hit-by-pitch, to put the Phoenix up 5-2.
Elon tacked on two more runs in the sixth. Million drove in Shutt on a RBI double through the left side before Mitchum added another RBI on a single up the middle to put the Phoenix up 7-2.
The Blue Hens rallied with a pair of runs in the top of the seventh, but Elon held on for a chance at the series victory tomorrow in the rubber match, 7-4.
Mitchum (8-6) went 5.0 innings and gave up two runs on six hits with a pair of strikeouts. Senior Chelsea White recorded her fourth save of the year after pitching 2.0 innings in relief and gave up two runs on three hits. Mitchum also helped herself at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance with two RBI and a double. Hall also had two hits in the second game.