Late Rally Overtakes Elon Softball at Spartan Invitational

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Despite holding a four-run lead going into the bottom of the sixth, a furious seven-run rally by USC Upstate handed the Elon University softball team a 9-6 defeat on Sunday, March 6, in the Phoenix’s final game at the Spartan Invitational at Cyrill Stadium.

The Phoenix (8-10) held a 6-2 lead going into the home half of the sixth frame before the Spartans (17-2) battled back for their first-ever win against the Phoenix. Elon outhit USC Upstate, 11-8, but the Spartans had five hits alone in the sixth inning. Hannah Olson, Alaina Hall, Carey Million and Erica Serafini had multi-hit performances for the Phoenix.

Taking the loss in the circle for Elon was Kiandra Mitchum (0-2) who allowed three runs, two earned, in her third of an inning. Starter Kayla Caruso went 5.0 innings with six hits and five earned runs allowed along with four strikeouts.

The Rundown: USC Upstate scored in the top of the first due to a Phoenix fielding miscue. The Spartans’ Brittany Case reached on a two-out double to left center before scoring after an error on the Elon first baseman to make the score 1-0.

Elon took the lead off the bat of Emily Roper in the top of the third. Back-to-back singles by Olson and Hall gave the Phoenix runners on the base with the pair moving into scoring position on deep fly ball to center. Roper then added her third home run of the tournament on a deep three-run shot to center that put the Phoenix in front, 3-1.

The Spartans took one back in the bottom half of the third. Case doubled again this time to right center to score Ansley Gilstrap, who was hit-by-pitch earlier in the inning and brought USC Upstate within one, 3-2.

The Phoenix plated two runs in the top of the fourth to increase its advantage. Million led off with a single and advanced to third after Jenna Reilly’s double to left center. Million then scored on a RBI single down the left field line by Serafini before Reilly also crossed home plate on a sacrifice fly from Olson that made the score 5-2.

Elon added another run in the top of the sixth courtesy of a Serafini RBI double down the left field line. The run drove in Million, who singled to left field to begin the inning, and gave the Phoenix a 6-2 advantage going to the home half.

USC Upstate answered with its huge inning to take back the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth. After the Spartans brought the score within one, 6-5, after a bases loaded walk, a two-RBI single by Gilstrap gave USC Upstate the lead for good.

The Phoenix went down in order in the top of the seventh to end the game with the 9-6 score.

On Deck
Elon returns to Hunt Softball Park on Wednesday, March 9, for a contest against North Carolina at 5 p.m.