ELON, N.C. – Coming off a midweek setback, the Elon University softball team bounced back and returned to the winning side as the Phoenix swept Howard in a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 24, at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix pulled out a 7-2 victory in game one before closing out the day with a 3-0 victory in the nightcap.
Elon improved to 9-4 on the season with its sweep versus the Bison, who fell to 2-10. Freshman Ally Repko had three hits in the two games, including her first career home run in the opening contest. Kiandra Mitchum (4-1) and Elise Walton (2-0) earned the wins in the circle for the Phoenix in games one and two, respectively, with Kenna Quinn picking up her first save of the season in the second contest.
Game One: Elon 7, Howard 2
In the first game, Elon opened the scoring in the bottom of the first thanks to a Howard miscue. Kara Shutt led off the inning with a single and moved to third on Hannah Olson’s bunt single. Olson stole second to join Shutt in scoring position before Repko joined the pair to load the bases with one out on a free pass. A passed ball got away from the catcher, enabling Shutt to plate the first run of the game as Elon jumped in front early 1-0.
Elon pushed its lead to four after a three-run bottom of the third. Erica Serafini reached on a one-out single to left field with Repko coming to the plate. On a 2-0 count, Repko drilled a two-run shot to left field for her first collegiate home run to score herself and Serafini and gave the Phoenix a 3-0 advantage. The Phoenix added its third run of the frame on an Ashtyn Foddrell two-out RBI single up the middle, scoring Katrina Martin, who herself reached earlier on a fielder’s choice. Martin’s run was the fourth of the game for the Phoenix, who carried a 4-0 advantage to the fifth.
Three more runs would cross home plate in the home half of the sixth. Morgan Reich started the inning with a single and moved all the way to third thanks to a hit-by-pitch on Abby Barker and a fly out to right field. With runners at the corners, Barker went to steal second, occupying the Bison defense. The play enabled Reich to move from third and score without any contest at home as Barker was safe back at first in the rundown. Repko added a single in the inning to join Barker on the bases before she was lifted for pinch runner Emma McCabe. A one-out, two-RBI single from pinch hitter Walton scored both Barker and McCabe and put the Phoenix on the brink of a run-rule victory, but Howard induced the next two outs to continue the game into the seventh.
The Bison came alive in the top of the seventh, rallying to score two runs of its own. A Phoenix miscue led to the leadoff batter reaching base and moving to second before a single by the next batter advanced her to third. The batter would reach second on the throw to give Howard runners in scoring position with no outs. A ground out to second and a single to right center scored both runners and put the Bison within reach with only one out in the inning. Mitchum would sit down the next two batters to close out the game and help the Phoenix secure the 7-2 game one victory.
Elon had 10 total hits in the game, but left nine runners on base. Repko (2-for-2) and Olson (2-for-3) had multi-hit performances for the Phoenix with Repko and Walton also driving in two RBI. Olson also added a stolen base to her stat line.
Mitchum tossed her third complete game of the year, giving up four hits and two runs with one of those being earned. She also struck out eight batters in the contest.
Game Two: Elon 3, Howard 0
Behind a strong pitching performance from Walton, Elon was able to close out its doubleheader despite its offense not able to get on track. The Phoenix did add the first run of the game once again in the home half of the first. Shutt opened with a single to right field and stole second to move into immediate scoring position. A ground out to first moved her to third before she crossed home plate on RBI grounder from Olson at first.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Phoenix added another run to the scoreboard. Martin led off on a single to third base and moved to second after the next batter was walked. A sacrifice bunt advanced the pair to scoring position before a fielding error enabled Martin to plate the second run of the game. Elon would load the bases with two outs in the frame, but a fly out to center field left them full as the game moved to the fifth.
The Phoenix added one final insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Repko opened with a single through the right side and moved to second on another sacrifice bunt. Fellow freshman Martin drove her home on a single up the middle to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Phoenix.
That would be more than enough support for Walton as the Lawrenceville, Va., native set the Bison down in order in the sixth inning. Quinn followed with her own 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to close out the game and the sweep for the Phoenix in the 3-0 victory.
Walton threw 6.0 innings and gave up two hits in the contest with four strikeouts. Quinn pitched a hitless frame with one strikeout for the save.
As a team, Elon had five hits in the contest and left eight runners on base. Martin was 2-for-3 with an RBI while Repko was 1-for-2. Shutt went 1-for-4 and needs one hit to become the seventh player in school history with 200 or more hits in her career.
The Phoenix plays in its second tournament of the season at the Carolina Classic in Chapel Hill, N.C., on March 2-4. Elon opened the tournament with two games next Friday, March 2, versus Kansas and Harvard.