ELON, N.C. – Thanks to three home runs and strong starting pitching that led to a 9-2 victory, the Elon University baseball team grabbed a 2-0 series lead over the visiting James Madison Dukes at Latham Park on Saturday afternoon.
Elon (14-13, 4-1 CAA) got homers from James Venuto (3-for-4, three RBI), Kyle Jackson (1-for-2, two runs, four RBI) and Hayden Platt (2-for-4, two runs, two RBI) in the win.
For JMU (16-9, 2-3 CAA), Ky Parrott had two hits and drove in one run, while Zach Tondi homered.
Jordan Barrett (2-2) earned the win on the mound after allowing one run on four hits in 6.2 innings. The lefty struck out 11 hitters. Danny Crowe garnered his fourth save of the season after tossing 2.1 shutout innings and striking out three.
Taking the loss was Colton Harlow (1-2) who was charged with three runs on four hits in 6.0 innings.
How It Happened: For the second straight day, the Phoenix jumped out to an early lead. Following one-out walks to Ryne Ogren and Jackson, Venuto lifted a 1-2 pitch deep down the right field line for a three-run home run, his third of the season.
Elon clung to its 3-0 lead until the seventh when Zach Tondi led off with his seventh homer of the year. With two away, Mike Sciorra would double down the left field line and then score on Ky Parrott’s single to center as the Dukes closed to within one run. Phoenix closer Danny Crowe would close the door to any further damage by striking out the next hitter, leaving the tying run stranded on second base.
Another longball aided the maroon and gold in the bottom of the seventh. Following one-out singles from Shawn Blake Hayden Platt, Ogren was plunked with two outs to load the bases for Jackson. Jackson would send the 10th pitch of the at bat off the scoreboard in left-center for a grand slam to provide the Phoenix with a five-run cushion.
Platt would tack on two more to the Elon lead in the last of the eight by sending his second homer of the year over the wall in left.
Notes: Jackson has homered four times and driven in 13 runs in the past three games… Elon has hit nine homers in its last three games… Ogren (0-for-2) saw his hitting streak end at a career-best 14 games… During his streak, Ogren went 29-for-60 (.483)… Joe Satterfield pushed his hit streak to a personal-best 10 games… Barrett posted his second 10+ strikeout performance of the year (he fanned a career-best 13 vs. Radford on Feb. 21).
On Deck: Elon will go for the sweep of the series on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. Prior to the game, members of Elon’s 1997 and 2002 NCAA Regional teams will throw out the first pitch as part of the program’s Alumni Weekend.