Elon Softball Falls in Citrus Classic Finale

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Elon University softball team nearly overcame a three-run deficit in the bottom of the seventh, but was unable to come out on top versus Jacksonville State as the Phoenix fell 7-6 in its finale at the Citrus Classic on Sunday, Feb. 21, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Elon (4-6) dropped its final four games at the tournament, but lost its final three by three runs or fewer. The Phoenix and the Gamecocks (5-4) were tied at 10 hits apiece during the contest with Elon having three players with multi-hit performances in Kristin Hoover (2-for-3), Carey Million (2-for-4) and Erica Serafini (2-for-4). Both Million and Serafini had an RBI in the contest while rookie Ashtyn Foddrell had a team-best two RBI.

Elise Walton (2-1) took the loss in the circle for Elon after going only 1.1 innings with four runs allowed off four hits. Abby Barker pitched 5.2 innings in relief and gave up six hits, three runs, one earned, while striking out eight in the game.

The Rundown: A four-run top of the second for the Gamecocks put the Phoenix in a 4-0 deficit. Whitney Gillespie led off the inning on a single up the middle before scoring off Stephanie Lewis’ bunt single. A three-run home run by Emily Woodruff added to JSU’s lead before Barker, who replaced Walton earlier in the inning, induced the final outs of the inning.

Elon answered with a run in the bottom of the third. Million singled to center field, scoring Jenna Reilly who had led off the inning with a walk. The Phoenix trailed the Gamecocks, 4-1, going to the fourth.

Jacksonville State added another run in the top of the fourth, but the Phoenix got two back in the home half of the frame. Hoover and Foddrell reached on a single and a walk, respectively, before the pair were moved to scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Callie Horn. The two were in danger of being stranded as Elon struck out on the next at bat for the second out, but a fielding error on the second baseman led the both runners scoring to bring the Phoenix within two, 5-3.

The Phoenix kept trimming at the Gamecocks’ lead in the bottom of the fifth as Serafini blasted a one-out double down the left field line, driving in Million who reached earlier in the inning on a single. Serafini was thrown out at third as she tried to leg out a triple, but Elon trailed 5-4 going to the sixth.

JSU got two more runs back thanks to a two-run home run by Ella Denes that put the Gamecocks back in front by three, 7-4.

Elon rallied in the bottom of the seventh. Serafini reached on a one-out single to left and moved to second on a passed ball. Hoover then drew a walk and the pair moved into scoring position on another passed ball. Foddrell drove in the pair after lining a double into left center and gave the Phoenix the tying run on base with one out. JSU went with a pitching change and Elon’s next two batters went down in order to end the game.

Inside the Box Score: Elon left 10 runners on base compared to seven for the Gamecocks…Barker’s eight strikeouts is the most for a Phoenix pitcher since Chelsea White also had eight against Dayton on March 1, 2014…Elon was 4-for-19 with runners on and 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

On Deck
Elon heads to Buies Creek, N.C., for a road contest at Campbell on Feb. 24. First pitch begins at 3:30 p.m.

Score by Innings      1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R  H E
Jacksonville State    0 4 0 1 0 2 0 7 10 1
Elon                  0 0 1 2 1 0 2 6 10 3

Win – TITUS, K. (1-1).
Loss – Walton, E. (2-1).
Save – SIMS, F. (1).

Umpires – HP: Richard Durham 1B: Mark Lindblom 3B: John McConahy
Start: 10 am Time: 2:34 Attendance: 632
Weather: 66 degrees and sunny