ELON, N.C. – For the first time since 2011, the Elon University baseball team found itself on the wrong side of an opening day decision as the Phoenix dropped a 9-7 contest to the visiting Wright State Raiders at Latham Park on Friday, Feb. 19.
Elon (0-1) was led offensively by Will Nance who went 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI. Danny Lynch added a two-run homer for the maroon and gold.
Wright State (1-0) saw John Brodner go 3-for-5 with a run scored and four RBI, while Sean Murphy drove in three runs with a bases-loaded triple.
Taking the loss was Joe McGillicuddy (0-1) who was charged with three runs on one hit in just a third of an inning. Starter Jordan Barrett struck out five and gave up three runs on four hits in 4.2 innings of work. Five Phoenix pitchers combined to strike out 12 hitters.
Mark Meyer (1-0) was the winning pitcher. Meyer threw 1.1 inning out of the bullpen, keeping the Phoenix off the board and fanning three. Jack Van Horn tossed two scoreless frames to earn his first save of the year.
How It Happened: After Wright State grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, Elon came back with a four-run bottom half. With a runner on second, Nick Zammarelli doubled home the first run. He later scored on Nance’s two-out single before Lynch capped the inning with his homer to right.
The Phoenix tacked on single runs in the second, third and fourth before Wright State made it a 7-3 game with a tally in the fifth. Elon had a chance to open the game back up in the last of the fifth as the Phoenix loaded the bases with just one out before Meyer entered and recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat.
A six-run seventh inning by the Raiders pushed them to the victory. The frame began with a walk and single to put runners on the corners before Jason DeFevers doubled home both runs to make it 7-5. A single plated a pinch-runner to pull Wright State within a run. The Raiders then loaded the bases with two walks. With two away, Murphy drove one off the top of the wall in center to score all three runners and give Wright State the 9-7 advantage.
Quotable: “I thought we played great baseball for about five innings. We didn’t pitch great all night, but we handled the bat real well, moved some runners over and got some great team at-bats to get a lead. The big key was the fifth inning, when we had the bases loaded with one out and a four-run lead, and two guys that are hopefully going to be run producers for us, and we go back-to-back punch. That’s a chance to extend that lead and put yourself in a much better position to win that game.” – Elon head coach Mike Kennedy
Notes: Elon’s last opening day loss was a 17-4 setback at North Carolina State on Feb. 18, 2011… Dating back to last season, Zammarelli extended his hitting streak to six games…? Lynch’s homer was the fifth of his career…? Both Tyler McVicar and Dimitri Lettas returned to action for the first time since the 2014 season.
On Deck: The Phoenix and Raiders will square off in a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Latham Park on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Score by Innings 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E Wright State 2 0 0 0 1 0 6 0 0 9 11 5 Elon 4 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 7 11 2
Win – MEYER (1-0).
Loss – McGillicuddy (0-1).
Save – VAN HORN (1).
WP – McGillicuddy(1). HBP – by SCHOLTENS (Clarke). PB – Lynch 2(2). Inherited runners/scored: MEYER 3/0; Conroy 2/1; McGillicuddy 1/1; Elsbury 3/3; Lettas 2/0. Pitches/strikes: SCHOLTENS 95/61; MEYER 17/13; TRAPINO 12/7; VAN
HORN 30/23; Barrett 98/56; Conroy 27/19; McGillicuddy 13/4; Elsbury 21/11; Lettas 17/13.
Umpires – HP: David Pritchett 1B: Jeff Ellis 3B: William Owens
Start: 4:00 pm Time: 3:35 Attendance: 469
Weather: Sunny, 51 deg., Winds: S9 mph
Conroy faced 3 batters in the 7th.
Elsbury faced 2 batters in the 8th.