ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team split on its opening day games at its home tournament, the Elon Phoenix Classic, with the maroon and gold falling to North Carolina A&T, 4-1, before rebounding to defeat Fairleigh Dickinson, 6-0, on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (5-7) saw the Aggies (6-5) avenge its earlier season loss to the Phoenix on Feb. 17, while handing the maroon and gold its fifth straight loss. The Phoenix was able to regroup and snap that streak versus the Knights (0-2) in the final game of the day.
The Phoenix and the Knights close out the weekend tomorrow, Feb. 28, with a doubleheader beginning at 12:15 p.m.
Game One: Elon 1, North Carolina A&T 4
The Rundown: The Phoenix offense could not get any momentum going against the Aggies as both squads were engaged in a pitcher’s duel for the first four innings of the contest. Elon got into great position in the bottom of the opening frame with runners in scoring position and one out after both Hannah Olson and Alaina Hall advanced after a sacrifice bunt. N.C. A&T responded to induce the next two outs to end the threat.
A Phoenix miscue in the top of the fifth led to the Aggies breaking through on the scoreboard. Phoenix starter Abby Barker finagled the first two outs of the frame that gave N.C. A&T a runner at first base. A misplayed ball in right field on a Talisha Jenkins single led to Zadia Davis scoring from and the Aggies taking a 1-0 lead.
A two-out, three-run home run by Zadaisha Waddell in the top of the sixth gave the Aggies insurance and a 4-0 lead. The Phoenix rallied back in the bottom half of the frame on an Erica Serafini RBI single up the middle that brought in Hall with two outs. The momentum was short lived as the Aggies forced the final out on the next play and held on for the 4-1 win.
Barker (0-3) took the loss in the circle for Elon despite only giving up three earned runs off six hits in a complete game performance. She also fanned three batters in the contest.
Inside the Box Score: Elon had only five hits in the contest with Olson and Hall leading the way with two each…The Phoenix converted on two double plays in the game…The Phoenix left seven runners on base and was 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
Notes of Interest: This was Elon’s first loss to the Aggies since 2012 and snaps a seven-game win streak versus its longtime Triad rival…The two programs meet again later this season in Greensboro, N.C., on April 20.
Game Two: Elon 6, Fairleigh Dickinson 0
The Rundown: The Phoenix fared better in its second contest of the day against the Knights. In the bottom of the first, Elon plated its first run of the contest thanks to an RBI on Emily Roper’s fielder’s choice. The play scored Olson, who reached earlier on a walk, and the Phoenix never looked back.
The Phoenix added two more runs in the bottom of the third. An error on FDU’s catcher helped Jenna Reilly cross home plate after she led off the frame with a double to left. Olson followed with a single to right, moving Reilly to third, but the catcher lost control of the ball as Reilly hustled in for the score. Elon added to its lead in the inning on Kara Shutt’s RBI double to left field that scored Olson and helped the Phoenix build a 3-0 advantage.
An RBI double from Olson and an RBI single from Hall pushed the Phoenix’s lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth. A solo home run from Ashtyn Foddrell in the bottom of the fifth pushed the maroon and gold’s advantage to 6-0.
That was all that was needed for Phoenix starter Elise Walton (3-1) as the rookie scattered three hits in her 7.0 innings of work to earn her second shutout win of the season. The Lawrenceville, Va., native also had a season-high five strikeouts to her credit.
Inside the Box Score: The Phoenix piled eight hits against the Knights as Hall, Foddrell and Olson each had two apiece…Five different players also tallied an RBI for the maroon and gold…Eight runners were left on base for Elon as the Phoenix batted 4-for-14 with runners in scoring position.