ELON, N.C. – An RBI single from senior Alaina Hall in the bottom of the seventh helped the Elon University softball team earn a 1-0 walk-off victory over Delaware in the Phoenix’s Colonial Athletic Association rubber match against the Blue Hens on Sunday, April 30, at Hunt Softball Park.
It was the second straight season that the Phoenix (32-18, 9-8 CAA) earned a walk-off victory on its Senior Day with its win over the Blue Hens (20-26, 7-11 CAA). A year ago today, Elon also defeated then No. 6 James Madison on its Senior Day with a 5-4 victory in walk-off fashion in the 15th inning.
CAA Standings: The series win kept the Phoenix ahead of Delaware in the league standings at fifth with its 9-8 ledger and dropped the Blue Hens to two and a half games behind the Phoenix at 7-11…Elon would still need either a victory at No. 14 James Madison or a Delaware loss versus UNCW next weekend to officially clinch a spot for the five-team field at the CAA Tournament on May 10-12 in Harrisonburg, Va.
In the Circle: Kiandra Mitchum (18-11) picked up her 18th victory of the season while throwing her 16th complete game of the year…The junior lefty scattered three hits and struck out three with no walks in the game…The win gave Mitchum the most for a Phoenix pitcher in a single-season at the Division I level while tying for the third-most in program history in a single-season…Delaware’s Jordan Cargile (15-13) threw 6.1 innings and allowed seven hits and one run, unearned, with a pair of walks.
At the Plate: Kara Shutt and Emily Roper combined for four of Elon’s seven hits on the afternoon after the pair went 2-for-3 in the contest…Hall, Jenna Reilly and Kristin Hoover also recorded a base hit…Elon improved to 21-3 this season when it outhits the opponent…The Phoenix left six runners on base compared to two for the Blue Hens.
The Rundown: Both Mitchum and Cargile went toe-to-toe for the second straight game in their pitchers’ duel. Both teams managed to get runners in scoring position only four times during the first six innings with Delaware only achieving the feat once in the opening frame.
After giving up a one-out single to the Blue Hens’ Morgan Schroll in the top of the third, Mitchum retired the next 12 batters she faced to keep Delaware off the board. Elon however was stymied by Cargile as the Phoenix was able to get a runner in scoring position in the second, third and sixth frames, but could not bring them as the contest stayed deadlocked in a scoreless battle heading to the seventh.
In the top of the seventh, Mitchum was able to work around a one-out single with the help of her defense. After a popup induced the second out of the frame, Delaware was caught stealing by Carey Million at second to close the inning and give Elon an opportunity for the walk-off in its home half.
Roper started things off as she led off on a single to the shortstop before being replaced by a pinch runner. She moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt from Callie Horn, but an errant throw on the play from the catcher that went into the outfield advanced both into scoring position with no outs.
Delaware recovered to record the first putout on a tag at home off Reilly’s attempted sacrifice bunt, but with no one covering second, Reilly advanced into scoring position to give the Phoenix runners at second and third. With the lineup turning over and first base open, Delaware elected to load the bases with an intentional walk on Hannah Olson and Hall coming up with one out in the frame. The senior from Suwanee, Ga., made them pay as she hit perfectly placed ball into the outfield over the left fielder’s head, easily driving in Horn for the walk-off 1-0 victory.
Other Notes: The victory gave the Phoenix’s four-person senior class of Hall, Million, Reilly and Roper 113 for their career, tied for the second-most for a class in school history at the Division I level…Elon’s 32 wins is also the most for head coach Kathy Bocock at Elon in a single-season and gave her 395 in her career…The Phoenix finished its home schedule this season with a 22-8 record, its best mark at its five-year facility at Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix concludes its regular-season next Friday-Saturday, May 5-6, at No. 14 and CAA-leader James Madison.