ELON, N.C. – A walk-off hit by freshman Hannah Olson in the bottom of the ninth inning proved to be the difference maker as the Elon University softball team pulled out a 5-4 victory over Delaware on Sunday, April 12, to clinch its first Colonial Athletic Association series at home at Hunt Softball Park.
Sophomore Carey Million tied the game at 4-4 with a solo home run to lead off the top of the ninth before Olson drove in Kayla Caruso to give the Phoenix (25-13, 7-5 CAA) the win in the rubber match versus the Blue Hens (21-15, 5-6 CAA).
Chelsea White (5-0) received the win in relief after taking over for Caitlin O’Shea in the top of the ninth. O’Shea threw 5.2 innings after stepping into the circle for starter Kiandra Mitchum in the third and gave up four hits and one earned run. Delaware starter Carolyn Szymanski went the distance and gave up 10 hits and five runs, but four earned. She also had seven strikeouts and eight walks.
Alaina Hall (3-for-5, run, RBI, triple) paced the Phoenix at the plate while Million and Olson both had two hits. The Phoenix outhit the Blue Hens, 10-8, but left 14 runners on base.
The Rundown: Elon got out to a quick lead, 1-0, in the home half of the first on an Emily Roper RBI single to right, scoring Hall who reached earlier in the inning on a triple. Two Elon errors in the top of the third led to the Blue Hens taking a 3-1 advantage, but the Phoenix countered with runs in the fourth and sixth frames on an RBI single from Hall and a sacrifice fly from Kara Shutt, respectively, to tie the game and send it to extras at 3-3.
A two-out RBI single by Delaware’s Sarah Bencivenga in the top of the ninth moved the Blue Hens back up 4-3, but White induced the final out on a strikeout. The game was tied again quickly in the home half of the inning as Million took a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for her third homer of the year. On the next at bat, pinch hitter Caruso reached on a throwing error by the pitcher and advanced to second on a wild pitch. She would cross home plate on Olson’s two-base knock through the left side to give Elon the 5-4 win.
Inside the Box Score: The Phoenix batted .333 (10-for-30) with two outs and .297 (11-for-37) with runners in scoring position in the series…Shutt extended her reached based streak to 14 games…Only one of the Phoenix’s four runs given up today was earned…Senior Aly Quintana drew her 13th hit-by-pitch of the year tying her single-season best from 2013.
On Deck: The Phoenix hosts local rival North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, April 15, in a midweek doubleheader. The opening game is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m.