ELON, N.C. – For the sixth time this season the Elon University baseball team found itself in a one-run game. This time, the Phoenix rallied to defeat the visiting Liberty Flames by a 4-3 margin in the final game of a season-opening, nine-game homestand.
Elon (3-6) got two hits apiece from Zach Evers and Matt Oldham, while Cam Devanney delivered a go-ahead home run in the last of the seventh inning.
The win went to Dean McCarthy (1-1) who allowed one run on one hit in 1.1 innings out of the bullpen. Brandon Justiceearned his first save after giving up one hit and recording the last five outs. Starter Ryan Conroy tossed 6.0 innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on four hits and striking out five hitters.
For Liberty (6-2), Tre Todd recorded two of the six Flames’ hits.
Zach Clinton (1-2) was saddled with the loss after he was charged with three runs on three hits in 2.0 innings of work.
How It Happened: With Liberty holding a 3-1 advantage at the seventh inning stretch, Elon began its rally. Evers led off the last of the inning with a single to center. A wild pitch and walk to Oldham followed before Ryne Ogren hit one through the right side to plate Evers and leave runners on the corners. The Phoenix then tied it at three when Hayden Platt reached on a fielder’s choice. Following a pinch-runner was picked off, Devanney drilled an 0-1 pitch over the tall wall in left to put Elon on top, 4-3.
Liberty made one final push in the ninth. Justice retired the first batter on a grounder before Todd grounded a 2-0 pitch back up the middle. Justice then retired the next two hitters with ground balls to preserve the Phoenix victory.
Elon was the first to get on the board, scoring one in the third on an Oldham single. The Flames then grabbed a 2-1 advantage in the fifth thanks to RBI singles from Cam Locklear and D.J. Artis. Liberty extended the lead to 3-1 when a run scored on a double play in the top of the seventh.
Elon threatened in both the fifth and sixth innings, but Liberty found a way to keep the Phoenix off the board as the bases were left full in the fifth and two were stranded in the sixth.
Notes: Ogren has reached safely in all eight games this season… The win was the first of McCarthy’s career… Elon drew a season-high 10 walks… Devanney’s homer extended his hitting streak to a career-best six games.
On Deck: Elon will hit the road for the first time in 2018 for a weekend series against former Southern Conference rival Georgia Southern. The three-game set is scheduled to begin with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch in Statesboro, Ga., on Friday night.