ELON, N.C. – A pair of three-run innings late allowed the Elon University baseball team to rally from a 5-1 deficit and claim a 7-6 victory over the visiting La Salle Explorers at Latham Park on Saturday, Feb. 27. The win secured the series decision for the Phoenix.
Elon (2-5) got a two-run homer from Nick Zammarelli to break a 5-5 tie in the last of the eighth as the junior extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Will Nance also drove in two runs, while CJ Young was 2-for-5 with two runs and one RBI.
La Salle (0-6) got two hits, two runs scored and two RBI from Joey Ravert to pace its offense.
Reliever Danny Crowe (1-0) picked up the first win of his career, throwing a scoreless inning and striking out one. Chris Hall claimed his second save after allowing a run on a hit with one strike out in the ninth. Starter Nick Beaulac surrendered two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings and fanned eight Explorer hitters.
Tom Fazzini (0-2) was tagged for three runs on four hits in an inning of work to take the loss. La Salle starter Luke Reilly scattered three hits and gave up one run in 5.0 innings of work.
How It Happened: Trailing 5-1 entering the last of the seventh, Elon’s Brett Guba began the comeback with a pinch-hit single to lead off the frame. Young followed with a single. A one-out walk loaded the bases before a two-out free pass was drawn by Danny Lynch to make it 5-2. Nance followed with another walk before a wild pitch allowed the maroon and gold to pull within one.
The Phoenix kept the pressure on in the eighth when Liam O’Regan led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Young then tied the game with a double down the left field line. Zammarelli followed by turning on a 1-0 pitch and launching it deep over the wall in right for his first home run of the season as Elon took the 7-5 lead.
La Salle made one last push in the ninth. The inning started with a walk and single ahead of a sac bunt. With one away, Ravert plated one on a ground out before Hall struck out Jared Melone to end the game.
Elon was the first to score as Nance’s double down the third base line plated Lynch.
La Salle grabbed a 2-1 lead thanks to a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and a fielder’s choice in the fourth. The Explorers extended the advantage to 5-1 in the seventh. With a runner on second, Collin McGowan reached on an infield single, but the throw to first was wild and allowed a run to score. With runners on the corners and two outs, Ravert doubled off the glove of a diving Kyle Jackson in left-center to score a second run. He then came home on a Melone double.
Quotable: “It was nice to see us have some real good at bats late. We took some borderline pitches and got rewarded for it. Late in the game, we had much better at bats. That is an uplifting win. It gets them excited, gets them ready to go for the next day. We needed that bad.” – Elon head coach Mike Kennedy
Notes: Elon improved to 8-0 all-time against La Salle … Lynch’s hitting streak ended at six game, but he did walk three times to extend his streak of reaching base safely to eight games … Five of Elon’s 10 hits went for extra bases (four doubles, one home run).
On Deck: The Phoenix and Explorers will close out the three-game series on Sunday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m.