HARRISONBURG, Va. – Senior Carey Million set a new single-season mark for RBI with her 48th of the year as the Phoenix dropped a pair of contests at No. 13/14 James Madison on Friday, May 5. The maroon and gold fell to the Dukes, 10-2, in the opening game before falling in the nightcap, 5-0, at Veterans Memorial Park.
Elon (32-19, 9-10 Colonial Athletic Association) could not hold JMU (46-6, 16-2 CAA) from avenging its lone league loss to the Phoenix last season with the Dukes extending its overall winning streak to 15 games. The Phoenix has also fallen in 11 of the past 12 meetings against James Madison.
Million broke Emerald Graham’s (2010-11) six-year mark for RBI in a single-season with a solo home run in the top of the sixth frame. Graham’s previous record was 47 which Million had tied last weekend versus Delaware.
Both teams are back on the diamond for the series finale tomorrow, May 6, scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch. Elon would still need a win or a Delaware loss to UNCW to clinch a spot for the upcoming CAA Tournament.
Game One: No. 13/14 James Madison 10, Elon 2
The Rundown: Elon got out to a quick start against the Dukes and took the early lead in the opening frame. Alaina Hall reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a passed ball to give the Phoenix a runner in scoring position. One batter later, Kara Shutt’s single to right center enabled Hall to cross the dish and give the Phoenix the 1-0 lead.
It would be short-lived as JMU quickly tied the game with a leadoff solo homerun in the bottom of the first and took the lead later in the frame on a bases loaded hit-by-pitch. Leadoff batter Morgan Tolle took the first pitch she saw over the center field wall and knotted the game at 1-1. The Dukes then loaded the bases on three consecutive singles before a hit-by-pitch drawn by Odicci Alexander moved JMU in front, 2-1, before a double play and a fly out helped the Phoenix escape the jam.
JMU scored six unanswered between the fourth and fifth frames, putting up a five-spot in the fifth. A pair of home runs from the Dukes did the most damage in the fifth and put the Phoenix in an 8-1 hole at the end of the frame.
Elon got a run back in the top of the sixth on Million’s home run. The Roebling, N.J., native led off the inning by taking a 1-0 offering to left field to cut the Phoenix’s deficit to six at 8-2. The Phoenix however could not keep the momentum going as the next three batters were retired in order.
James Madison responded with two more runs in its home half of the sixth to end the game via run-rule, 10-2.
Game Two: No. 13/14 James Madison 5, Elon 0
The Rundown: In game two, JMU got off to the quick start as the Dukes put up three in the bottom of the first. Tolle opened the game on a single and advanced to second off a Phoenix throwing error on the next at bat. Elon converted a double play to get in position to escape the frame unharmed, but an RBI single and a two-run home run by the Dukes put Elon behind 3-0.
Solo home runs by the Dukes in the third and sixth inning increased the Dukes’ lead to 5-0. Elon could not match the offensive output of James Madison, managing one hit in the game courtesy of Emily Roper’s single to center field in the top of the sixth. After reaching, Roper was replaced on the bases by pinch runner Nicole Graber, who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt with one out. Back-to-back strikeouts however closed the threat and essentially clinched the victory for the Dukes.
Junior Kiandra Mitchum (18-12) took the loss in the circle for the Phoenix after pitching her 17th complete game of the season. The Mechanicsville, Va., native allowed 11 hits and five runs, but only two of those were earned. She also struck out a pair of batters.