CLEARWATER, Fla. – Senior Kara Shutt tied the program’s all-time career doubles record while fellow senior Kiandra Mitchum fanned 10 batters as the Elon University softball team held on for a 4-3 victory over Chattanooga as the Phoenix bounced back from its opening game defeat on Saturday, March 17, at the USF Series – Michele Smith Spring Break Tournament at Eddie C. Moore Sports Complex.
The Phoenix snapped its four-game losing streak and improved to 14-12 after its win over the Mocs (14-16). The former longtime Southern Conference foes met for the first time since 2014, the Phoenix’s final season in the SoCon.
At the Plate: Both teams were tied with nine hits each…The Mocs left nine runners on base while the Phoenix stranded seven…Shutt and Ally Repko had multi-hit performances with both players going 2-for-3…Shutt added a double, her ninth of the season and the 51st of her career, tying Carleigh Nester ’14 for the most all-time in school history…Hannah Olson also had a double, her team-best 10th of the season and the 36th in her career…Erica Serafini and Ashtyn Foddrell also had doubles in the contest…Serafini, Foddrell and Elise Walton each drove in a run.
In the Circle: Mitchum (5-4) picked up the win in the circle for Elon as the senior lefty surrendered three runs, two earned, in the complete game performance…She also had her second double-digit strikeout game of the season and moved into the top-five in school history with 347 for her career.
Foddrell continued her hot bat from the Phoenix’s first game of the day in the opening frame versus the Mocs. Olson reached on a walk and moved to second on Shutt’s single to center. Foddrell drove a double down the left field line, scoring Olson and putting the Phoenix ahead early, 1-0. Despite runners in scoring position with one out, the Phoenix struck out on the next two at bats to leave them stranded.
Chattanooga tied the game quickly in the top of the following inning. Brook Womack led off the frame with a solo homer to center to knot the contest at one-all. The momentum was short-lived as Mitchum recovered to induce the next three batters, including two via strikeouts.
In the top of the third, the Mocs threatened once again with runners reaching scoring position with only one out. Chattanooga had back-to-back doubles to have runners standing at second and third with just one out in the frame. Despite the threat, Elon would retire the side on a grounder and a strikeout looking to leave the runners stranded.
The Phoenix retook the lead in the home half of the third. Olson and Shutt reached to open the frame on a double and a fielding error, respectively. Olson would eventually score at the dish via obstruction called on the catcher as Shutt was stealing second. Shutt moved to third on the play and came home on a sacrifice bunt from Walton, making the score 3-1 in favor of the Phoenix.
The Mocs got a run back in the top of the fourth. Elon set down the first two batters before Chattanooga’s Devan Brown reached on a single to right center. A fielding error advanced her to second before she scored on RBI single down the left field line to cut Elon’s advantage to one, 3-2.
Shutt tied the program’s all-time career doubles record in the bottom of the fifth. The Greensboro, N.C., native led off the inning with the milestone hit to right center. Chattanooga struck out the next two batters however before Shutt was called out in a rundown between third and home before the game advanced to the sixth.
Serafini got a run back for the Phoenix in the bottom of the sixth. The Tampa, Fla., native came up big in front of her hometown fans as she lined a double into center field, scoring Callie Horn, who had reached earlier on a two-out single to right field. The play gave the Phoenix a 4-2 advantage before the game moved to the seventh.
Chattanooga gave one final push in the final inning to cut into the Phoenix’s deficit. The Mocs’ J.J. Hamill reached on a fielder’s choice, but gave Chattanooga two outs in the inning. Hamill moved to second on a single and scored on another single to right field to bring the Mocs within one, 4-3, as both runners on base move into scoring positon on an error. With first base open, the Phoenix intentionally walked Womack to load the bases. The strategy worked as Serafini fielded a hard hit ball and flipped it to Olson at second for the fielder’s choice force out to help the Phoenix hang on to the 4-3 victory.
Elon wraps up its stay at the tournament with a contest versus Princeton on Sunday morning, March 18. Opening pitch is scheduled for 9 a.m.