CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Elon University softball team could not overcome a seventh inning rally by LIU Brooklyn as the Phoenix fell to the Blackbirds by a score of 5-4 in extra innings during its first game of the day at the USF Series – Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament on Saturday, March 17, at the Eddie C. Moore Sports Complex.
Elon (13-12) dropped its fourth straight overall with the loss to the Blackbirds (9-17) in the first-ever meeting between the two programs on the softball diamond. The Phoenix also fell to 0-3 at the tournament so far.
At the Plate: LIU Brooklyn won the hit battle over the Phoenix, 8-7, with the Phoenix leaving nine runners on the bags…Ashtyn Foddrell was 3-for-3 on the day including a RBI and a walk…Ally Repko was 2-for-4 with three RBI and two doubles for the Phoenix…Hannah Olson also had a double for Elon in the contest.
In the Circle: Abby Barker (5-4) was saddled with the loss for Elon after coming in relief of starter Elise Walton…Walton threw 5.0 innings and allowed four hits and two runs, both unearned, with a strikeout…Barker tossed 3.0 innings and gave up four hits and three runs, with two of those being earned.
In the top of the first, LIU Brooklyn scored the first run of the game with two outs. A RBI single to right center plated a run for the Blackbirds, who took a 1-0 advantage into the second frame.
Another run came across the dish in the top of the second for LIU Brooklyn via an Elon error. After the leadoff batter was walked, she moved all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt and a grounder. Facing two outs, the Blackbirds was able to score after an errant throw first and Elon faced a two-run deficit going to the third.
The Phoenix got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth. Foddrell lined a one-out single to left center before she was replaced on the base by Morgan Reich. Reich moved to second thanks to Walton’s single up the middle and gave the Phoenix two runners on with Repko stepping into the batter’s box. The freshman drilled a liner down the right field line, scoring Reich to cut LIU Brooklyn’s lead to 2-1. Elon loaded the bases in the inning with two outs after Barker was hit by a pitch, but struck out to leave them full going to the next frame.
Elon caught fire with a three-run bottom of the fifth to take the lead. Olson doubled with one out and advanced to third after another grounder. Foddrell tied the game at two-all with a two-out RBI single to left center, scoring Olson from third. A fielding error by the Blackbirds kept Elon alive in the inning as Foddrell moved to second and Walton reached base with Repko once again coming to the plate. The Broadway, Va., native blasted her second double of the contest into left-centerfield to put the Phoenix up 4-2 before the game headed to the sixth.
LIU Brooklyn responded with a two-run top of the seventh to tie the contest. The Blackbirds drew a leadoff walk, but the Phoenix induced the next two outs on a liner and a foul out to Repko. A two-out single put the tying run on base for LIU Brooklyn before the game was knotted on a two-RBI double into right field. Elon recorded the final out of the inning on a grounder, but saw its lead evaporate as the game eventually went into extras tied at 4-4.
The Blackbirds plated the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth. Down to its final out again, LIU Brooklyn added another clutch hit with a double into center field, scoring a runner from third. The Phoenix went into its home half down 5-4 looking to respond.
After Repko was placed on second via the international tie-breaker rule, she moved to third on a sacrifice bunt to give Elon the probable tying run. A hit-by-pitch placed runners at the corners for the Phoenix as Elon looked for a solid hit to tie or earn the walk-off victory. A double play on a liner to first ended that threat as the Phoenix fell in a hard-fought game, 5-4.
The Phoenix returns to the field this afternoon to take on Chattanooga at approximately 2:30 p.m.