HARRISONBURG, Va. – After opening the day with a 8-6 win over Towson in its first game of the day to stay alive in the Colonial Athletic Association Softball Championships, the Elon University softball team saw its run end in its second game of the evening as the third-seeded Phoenix fell to top-seeded James Madison, 13-2.
The Phoenix (31-21) battled from behind a couple of times in its victory over the Tigers (35-22), but did not have enough left in the tank for No. 18/17 JMU. The Phoenix picked up its first win in a conference tournament game since 2012 and finished with its highest winning percentage since 2011.
Kara Shutt went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and five RBI in the Phoenix’s win over Towson. Shutt was one of three players that had multi-hits in the game along with Alaina Hall (3-for-4, two runs) and Emily Roper (2-for-4, home run, RBI). The Phoenix was outhit by the Tigers, 12-9 overall.
Kiandra Mitchum (9-9) received the game one victory in relief with starter Kayla Caruso picking up the save. Caruso pitched 5.2 innings and gave up nine hits and five runs with four strikeouts. Caruso (12-5) was saddled with the loss in the second game to the Dukes.
In the second game, Elon registered four hits total as Hannah Olson, Sarah Little, Roper and Aly Quintana all receiving a base hit. Olson and Quintana also had an RBI in the contest with Quintana adding a triple to her stat line.
Game 1: Elon 8, Towson 6
The Rundown: Towson opened the contest with two runs in the top of the first on a two-RBI double down the left field line by Holiday Cahill. Cahill crossed home plate herself on an RBI single by Missy McCormick to put the Phoenix in an early 3-0 hole. Elon quickly erased the deficit in the home half of the first as Olson and Hall lead off with a double and a single respectively before Shutt tied the game on a three-run home run to center. Roper followed with a solo shot to center that put the Phoenix in front 4-3. Neither team generated much offense over the next three innings, before Towson regained the lead on a two-run top of the fifth. The Tigers added to its lead with a run on a wild pitch in the top of the sixth to take a 6-4 advantage.
Elon battled back in the bottom of the sixth with four runs of its own, mainly due to some errors on Towson. A throwing error by the first baseman led to Carey Million scoring a run to bring the Phoenix within one, 6-5, before another error knotted the game at 6-6. Shutt then drove a ball to left center for a two more runs and the Phoenix took an 8-6 advantage over the Tigers. Elon would hang on to win by that score after a double play ended the game.
Game 2: #18/17 James Madison 13, Elon 2
The Rundown: JMU exploded for eight runs in the top half of the second inning to take a commanding 8-0 lead on six hits. The Dukes continued the onslaught with five more runs off four hits in the third with home runs by Erica Field and Taylor Newton being the main catalysts. Elon finally got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth first on an RBI triple by Quintana that brought in Sarah Little, who reached earlier in the inning on a single. Olson then added the Phoenix’s second run of the game, but the deficit was too much for the maroon and gold to overcome as the game ended in a run-rule victory for the Dukes. JMU will move on to play Hofstra in the CAA Championship game tomorrow, May 8, at noon.
Notes of Interest: Shutt ended the year with 44 RBI, the second-best single-season total in school history…Phoenix head coach Kathy Bocock earned career win No. 100 at Elon with the maroon and gold’s win versus Towson…Elon’s victory over the Tigers was the Phoenix’s first win in a conference tournament game since 2012…The Phoenix’s 31 wins is the most for the Phoenix since 2011.
Coach Bo Says: “It’s bittersweet for our seniors all six of them,” said Elon head coach Kathy Bocock. “They all did a great job for us all season, to overcome their injuries, make it through all these games and picking up the (underclassmen) and working with them. This team has done so many great things this season and it showed as of today and were never written off.
“There are no words to describe how proud I am of this group. Coming into the CAA for the first time, we talked about leaving something behind and making a mark on this league and be a good softball team in this conference.”