TAMPA, Fla. – Despite seeing its offense come alive in the top of the fifth, the Elon University softball team could not continue its momentum as the Phoenix fell to Lehigh, 3-1, in its first game at the USF Series – Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament on Friday, March 16, at USF Softball Stadium.
The loss was the second straight setback overall for the Phoenix (13-10) in its first-ever meeting versus the Mountain Hawks (4-12).
At the Plate: Both teams were tied with five hits apiece, but Elon couldn’t find the clutch hits to break the game open in the Phoenix’s favor…Five different players recorded a base hit for Elon with Callie Horn providing the lone RBI of the contest for the maroon and gold after going 1-for-2 at the plate…Abby Barker had a double in the game, her first of her career…Overall, Elon left four runners on base compared to two to Lehigh…Kara Shutt singled in the game to reach base for the 21st consecutive contest.
In the Circle: Phoenix starter Kiandra Mitchum evened her record to 4-4 on the season with the loss in the circle…The lefty pitched 4.0 innings and gave up four hits, three runs, two earned, and struck out two…Barker finished out the day toeing the rubber for the Phoenix, throwing 2.0 innings and surrendering only one hit.
Lehigh had a three-run bottom of the first to take an early lead. The Mountain Hawks’ leadoff batter reached on a bunt single and stole second to move into scoring position. On the next at bat, Lehigh scored the first run of the contest with the help of a Phoenix error. Another single gave the Mountain Hawks two runners on before both advanced into scoring on a sacrifice bunt. Another single into left field scored the pair to put the Mountain Hawks ahead 3-0 before the end of the first.
Elon finally responded in the top of the fifth to add a run to the scoreboard. Down to the final out of the frame, pinch hitter Barker stepped into the batter’s box and drove a double into right center to give Elon a runner in scoring position. Horn repaid Barker’s efforts with a RBI single into center field as Barker crossed the dish to cut Elon’s deficit to 3-1.
The Phoenix had a base runner reach in the top of the sixth, but that was as close as it got to making a threat to the Mountain Hawks. After Tia Mitchell reached on a leadoff single to begin the sixth, Lehigh retired the next six Phoenix batters including a 1-2-3 inning in the seventh to secure its 3-1 victory.
Elon back in action later this evening with a matchup versus host USF. That game is scheduled for a 4:15 p.m. start