ELON, N.C. – Senior Carey Million’s walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh lifted the Elon University softball team to a 6-5 victory in its season opener over Hampton on Friday, Feb. 10, in the start of a three-game series at Hunt Softball Park.
Million’s heroics capped off a seventh frame in which the Phoenix (1-0) entered the bottom half trailing the Lady Pirates (0-1) by two, 5-3. Elon answered with a three-run inning in the last half of the frame thanks to RBI from Emily Roper and Million.
At the Plate: Roper led the way at the plate for the Phoenix after going 2-for-4 with three RBI and a home run…The home run was the 21st in Roper’s career and puts her in a tie for sixth all-time in school history…Kara Shutt also had a pair of hits (2-for-4) as did Alaina Hall (2-for-4)…Hall had a stolen base in the contest as well…Callie Horn had a double in the contest while Kristin Hoover added a triple.
In the Circle: Elon starter Kiandra Mitchum (1-0) earned the win after reentering the game for the final out of the top of the seventh…Mitchum pitched 5.1 innings and gave up three hits with a run earned along with five strikeouts…Hailey Jomp pitched 1.2 innings and had a strikeout.
The Rundown: Hampton got on the board first in the top of the opening frame. Brianna Anderson drove a two-out single into center field to score Tayl Warrick, who reached earlier on a walk. The RBI put the Lady Pirates ahead 1-0 after the first.
Elon was able to get players into scoring position in both the second and third innings. In the second, Horn connected on a two-out double down the left field line for the Phoenix’s first runner in scoring position, but was stranded after a grounder to third. During the bottom of the third, Hall reached on a one-out single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. She then stole third with two outs, but the Phoenix bats were unable to drive her in.
The Phoenix came alive offensively with a three-run bottom of the fourth. Roper led off the inning with a solo home run over the left field fence that knotted the contest at one-all. Hoover then put the Phoenix ahead 3-1 with her two-out triple down the left field line that gave Elon a two-run advantage.
After a quiet fifth, Hampton cut its deficit to one in the top of the sixth. Anderson reached on a one-out single before scoring on Danie Milloy’s RBI double into center. Milloy advanced to third on the throw and tried to tie the game on the next at bat. However, she was tagged out at home by Million off a nice throw by Roper to end the threat.
The Lady Pirates would rally back to retake the lead with two outs in the top of the seventh frame. Pinch hitter Jada Graves tied the contest at 3-3 with her solo home run to center before Hampton had consecutive runners reach on a single and an error. Anderson brought them both in off a double to left center to put the Phoenix in a 5-3 hole going to the bottom half.
The inning started off favorably for the maroon and gold as Hoover earned a free pass before advancing to second on a bunt single by Hall. A fielding error on the shortstop loaded the bases for the Phoenix with no outs, but Hampton induced the first out on a fly out to center on the next at bat. The Phoenix quickly moved past the short setback as Roper’s two RBI double down the left field line tied the contest once again at 5-5 with a runner at third and only one out. Elon once again went down the left field line as Million’s single lifted the Phoenix to a 6-5 walk-off victory.
The Phoenix closes out the series tomorrow with a twin bill beginning at 12 p.m.