GREENSBORO, N.C. – A three-hit performance from senior Hannah Olson was not enough to help the Elon University softball team to a victory over UNCG as the Phoenix fell to the Spartans, 5-3, in the first game of a three-game set on Friday, March 9, at UNCG Softball Stadium.
The Phoenix (12-7) saw a two-game win streak snapped versus the Spartans (14-6).
At the Plate: Olson was 3-for-4 at the plate with a double and a RBI in the contest…She also reached base for the 15th straight game…Both teams were tied in hits with seven apiece…Kara Shutt was 2-for-3 at the plate and extended her hitting game streak to 17 games…Ashtyn Foddrell also had a multi-hit performance for the maroon and gold as the Warrenton, Va., native went 2-for-3 with a home run.
In the Circle: Abby Barker (5-3) took the loss in the circle for the Phoenix…The Granville, Ohio, native pitched 5.0 innings and allowed seven hits, five runs, four earned, with four walks and three strikeouts…Kenna Quinn pitched a scoreless frame and struck out one batter.
The Phoenix scored the first run of the game in the top of the opening frame. Olson reached on a double on a hit to left field and advanced herself and Shutt to scoring position. Shutt would be caught stealing at third, but Olson eventually moved to the vacated base on a wild pitch with one out. After Erica Serafini reached on a walk, she attempted to steal second while trying to distract the defense off Olson. An errant throw into the outfield by the catcher aided Olson into plating a run and putting Phoenix ahead 1-0.
UNCG responded with a four-run home half of the first. The Spartans’ leadoff runner reached via a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A single to right field moved her to third before the Spartans crossed home plate on another single this time into left field. Two more runners came across the dish on a two-out RBI single through the left side before UNCG added its final run of the frame on another single to take a 4-1 advantage to the second.
Elon got a run back in the top of the second. The Phoenix loaded the bases with two outs after Shutt singled through the right side with Olson coming to the plate. The Yorktown, Va., native drove a single to center field to drive in the Phoenix’s second run of the game and trim UNCG’s lead to two, 4-2.
A solo home run in the top of the sixth pulled the Phoenix closer to the Spartans’ lead. Foddrell belted her team-best third home run of the season on a one-out blast into left field. The play made the score 4-3 for UNCG before the frame turned over to the home half.
The Spartans answered in the bottom of the sixth. After the first two batters for UNCG reached on a hit-by-pitch and an error, the Spartans loaded the bags on a single to third base. A free pass led to UNCG scoring its fifth run of the contest with Elon still facing a jam with no outs in the inning. The Phoenix went with a pitching change as Quinn stepped in the circle for Barker and was able to induce the next three outs on a double play and a strikeout to give the Phoenix a chance going to the seventh.
Shutt started the attempted rally in the seventh for the Phoenix with a leadoff single, but a double play on the next at bat halted those plans. Serafini was able to reach on a walk with the tying run coming to the plate, but UNCG struck out the batter to secure the 5-3 win over the maroon and gold.
Elon and UNCG will return to the diamond tomorrow, March 10, as the Phoenix and Spartans close out the three-game set with a doubleheader at Hunt Softball Park. Opening pitch for the first game is scheduled for 1 p.m.