CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Five errors committed by the Elon University softball team led to its first defeat of the season in the Phoenix’s 6-2 setback at North Carolina on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Anderson Stadium.
Elon (3-1) fell to the Tar Heels (3-3) for the seventh straight time and the 17th out of the last 18. The Phoenix’s five errors were the most in a contest this season for the maroon and gold despite holding UNC to its lowest run total in the series since 2013.
At the Plate: Elon recorded only two hits total in the contest with Kristin Hoover and Hannah Olson providing a hit each…The Phoenix went 1-for-8 with runners on and 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position…Both teams also left five runners on base…Olson’s hit was a homerun, her first of the year…Hoover’s hit was a double, her second of the season.
In the Circle: Starter Kiandra Mitchum (1-1) took the loss for the Phoenix after pitching 3.0 innings with three hits and four runs allowed, two earned…Hailey Jomp and Kenna Quinn also pitched in the contest for the Phoenix…Overall, Elon had three earned runs allowed in the game with two strikeouts and a walk as a staff.
The Rundown: The Tar Heels opened the scoring in the top of the second. Berlynne Delamora connected on a leadoff solo home run to center field to put UNC ahead 1-0. Elon recovered quickly to record the next three outs to escape the inning with minimal damage.
Elon answered back to tie the game at one-all in the top of the third. Callie Horn reached on a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Hoover drove her in on a one-out double into left center to knot the game at 1-1. Hoover would move over to third on a wild pitch with Olson joining her on the bases with two outs on a free pass, but both runners would be stranded after a grounder ended the inning.
North Carolina retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth behind a pair of homers. UNC’s Delamora reached on a Phoenix error to lead off the inning before being replaced by a pinch runner. The pinch runner stole second before Kendra Lynch put the Tar Heels in front with a two-run home run into center that made the score 3-1. After another runner reached on a second Elon miscue, Katie Bailiff added the second homer of the frame on another two-run shot, this time over the right field fence to put the Phoenix in a 5-1 deficit.
The Phoenix tacked on another run in the top of the sixth. Olson led off with a solo home run into left center to cut UNC’s lead to three at 5-2. Emily Roper then reached on a one-out walk to give Elon a base runner on before being replaced by pinch runner Morgan Reich. Carey Million joined her on the bases after a drawing another walk to give the Phoenix the tying run at the plate. The Tar Heels went with a pitching change shortly afterwards as the Phoenix was unable to move any of its runners to end the threat.
UNC added another run to its lead in bottom half of the sixth. The Tar Heels loaded the bases with two outs before Destiny DeBerry was hit by pitch to plate UNC’s sixth run of the game to take a 6-2 advantage. That would hold as the final score as Elon fell to the Tar Heels for the seventh straight time.
Notes: The last time Elon committed five errors was at UNCW last season…The Phoenix is stuck on 699 victories as a program during the fast pitch era…Elon fell to 2-28-1 all-time versus the Tar Heels at the fast pitch era.
Elon is back at home this weekend with a pair of doubleheaders. The Phoenix will host North Carolina Central on Saturday, Feb. 18, beginning at 12 p.m. followed with another twin bill the following day, Feb. 19, versus Virginia, also starting at noon.