MT PLEASANT, S.C. – The Elon University softball team opened Colonial Athletic Association play with a split at College of Charleston on Saturday, March 25, in a pair of extra inning affairs. The Phoenix took game one, 3-1, in 11 innings before dropping the nightcap, 5-3, in eight innings.
Elon (19-10, 1-1 CAA) played its third straight extra inning game versus the Cougars (16-13, 1-1 CAA) dating back to last season and the sixth out of eight overall in games against CAA opponents. The Phoenix also improved to 4-2 in the first day of its league-opening games.
Game One: Elon 3, College of Charleston 1 (13)
The Rundown: Elon took the lead with the first run of the game in the top of the fifth. Alaina Hall drew a one-out walk and advanced to second with two outs on a stolen base. She crossed home plate after Carey Million reached on a single and advanced off a throwing error on the play as Elon went up 1-0.
CofC tied the game at one-all in the bottom of the seventh. The Cougars got a runner to second after Taylor Belfiore’s one-out double into left center. After she was replaced by a pinch runner, Elon induced the second out of the frame on a fly out, but the Cougars tied the game on Sara Garcia’s RBI triple into right field to send the game into extras.
The Phoenix had a chance to break the tie in the top of the ninth. Emily Roper reached on a leadoff single and was replaced on the bases by Nicole Graber. She moved to second on Jenna Reilly’s infield single with the pair advancing to scoring position after a sacrifice bunt. Elon then loaded the bases after a hit-by-pitch, but failed to bring anyone home as a force play and a grounder ended the threat.
The Cougars had a chance for the walk-off run in their home half of the ninth. CofC’s Taylor Dupree led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. A single by Jordin Jones gave CofC runners at the corners with one out, but Elon responded with a strikeout and a fly out to leave them stranded and move into the 10th.
Elon put up a two-spot in the top of the 11th to go in front 3-1. Reilly and Callie Horn reached on one-out singles, before Hannah Olson drove in Reilly on her single up the middle. After a single by Hall loaded the bases, Kara Shutt’s RBI single drove in Horn to give the Phoenix a two-run advantage.
The Phoenix quickly induced the first two outs of the bottom of the 11th before consecutive singles by Jones and Belfiore gave the Cougars the tying runs on base. Elon however answered by forcing the Cougars to popup to end the game.
At the Plate: Both teams had 11 base hits in the game…Reilly had a season-high three hits in the contest while going 3-for-4…Hall and Olson both went 2-for-5 with Hall extending her hit streak to a season-high seven games with five of those being multi-hit performances…Olson and Million had the two lone RBI in the contest for Elon…Shutt drew three walks.
In the Circle: Veteran lefty Kiandra Mitchum (10-5) earned her 10th win of the season after going the distance and allowed 11 hits, but only one run with a pair of strikeouts…The 10 wins is the most for the Mechanicsville, Va., native in a single-season.
Game Two: College of Charleston 5, Elon 3 (8)
The Rundown: Elon took the 2-0 lead in the top of the second. Million and Kristin Hoover reached via walks to leadoff the inning and moved to scoring position after a sacrifice bunt. A squeeze play Roper enabled Million to score from third for the first run of the contest. Hoover followed crossing home plate off a sacrifice fly by Horn to give Elon the two-run advantage.
CofC answered with a two-spot of its own in the home half of the second. Garcia drew a leadoff free pass and moved to third on a Phoenix error and a fly out. She scored to bring the Cougars within one, 2-1, off Kelly Sinclair’s RBI single while moving a runner to third. CofC tied the game at two-all on a Dupree RBI single to third, but the Phoenix induced the final out on a grounder to short to end the inning.
The Phoenix retook the lead in the top of the third. Olson scored off a two-out sacrifice fly from Million to go in front, 3-2. Olson had reached earlier on a walk and moved all the way to third on a Hall single and a sacrifice bunt.
The Cougars tied the game again in the bottom of the fifth. A couple of doubles by Jones and Garcia led to CofC knotting the game at three-all going to the sixth. CofC then set the stage for the walk-off on Jones two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth for the 5-3 victory.
At the Plate: The Phoenix was held to four hits in the second game with Hall accounting for half of that total after going 2-for-4…it was the sixth straight multi-hit game for Hall and extended her hitting streak to eight…Million added a double and a RBI in the contest.
In the Circle: Hailey Jomp took the loss in the circle to fall to 3-2 on the season…She pitched 1.2 innings in relief of starter Kenna Quinn and gave up three hits and two runs…Quinn tossed 6.0 innings and allowed eight hits and three runs, but only one earned.
Elon closes out the series tomorrow, March 26, with the rubber match at 12:30 p.m.