ORLANDO, Fla. – Despite a season and career-best six strikeouts from senior pitcher Kayla Caruso, the Elon University softball team suffered a 2-0 setback to Omaha in the Phoenix’s first contest of the day, Feb. 20, at the Citrus Classic, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
Caruso (2-2) threw a complete game as the Kennesaw, Ga., native allowed two runs off six hits with one walk for Elon (4-4) in her 7.0 innings. Her counterpart Laura Roecker also went the full distance in the shutout win for the Mavs (4-4) as she allowed five hits with four fanned batters.
Kristin Hoover had two of the Phoenix’s five hits on the day as the Tampa, Fla., native went 2-for-3 at the plate. Each of the remaining three hits for the Phoenix came from three different players.
The Rundown: Omaha got on the scoreboard early in the opening frame. Nicole Warren led off the game with a triple to right and scored on a fielder’s choice to second by Kelly Pattison as the Mavs took an early 1-0 lead.
The Phoenix got its first base runners on in the bottom of the second with Emily Roper and Carey Million earning back-to-back leadoff walks. The pair moved into scoring position after a sacrifice bunt by Erica Serafini, but they would be stranded after the next two batters went down in order.
Elon nearly got a run on the scoreboard in the home half of the fourth. Roper drew another free pass to lead off the inning and was replaced on the bases by Hailey Jomp. Jomp then moved to second with two outs on another ground out. Hoover singled to center for Elon’s first base hit of the contest, but Jomp was thrown out at home by the center fielder to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fifth, Elon again got a runner to third after Alaina Hall beat out an infield single with two outs. That advanced Callie Horn, who reached earlier on a single to through the left side, to third. The runners would be stranded again as a popup to the shortstop ended the threat.
Omaha added an insurance run in the top of the sixth on a leadoff solo home run by Sydney Hames. Caruso and Phoenix recovered as she retired the next two batters before finally ending the frame on a fly out to left field, but Elon faced a 2-0 deficit going into the bottom of the inning.
Caruso battled out of a jam in the top of the seventh as the Mavs had runners in scoring position with only one out. She struck out her sixth batter of the contest in the next at bat before inducing the final out on a grounder.
Elon however went down in order to close out the contest in the bottom of the seventh frame to take the loss, 2-0.
Notes of Interest: This was Caruso’s first seven-inning complete game since March 14, 2014 at Western Carolina…Caruso also had six strikeouts twice last season against Morgan State and Towson…Elon left eight runners on base compared to seven for the Mavericks.
Elon faces No. 1 Florida in the next game at 3:300 p.m. later today.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 R H E Omaha 1 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2 6 1 Elon 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 X 0 5 2
Win – Roecker (2-1).
Loss – Caruso, K. (2-2).
Save – None.
HBP – by Caruso, K. (Schwarting). PB – Roper, Emily(1). Inherited runners/scored: None. Pitches/strikes: Roecker 110/65; Caruso, K. 136/99.
Umpires – HP: Keith Pereira 1B: Brian Freeland 3B: Kevin Gramig
Start: 11 pm
Weather: 70 degrees and cloudy