HARRISONBURG, Va. – George Kirby allowed just two runs over a career-long 7.2 innings, while Zach Evers and James Venuto both posted three-hit games to lead the Elon University baseball team ton an 8-2 victory over James Madison in game two of a three-game Colonial Athletic Association series on Saturday.
Evers finished the day 3-for-4 with a run scored, while Venuto went 3-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI for the Phoenix (12-11, 1-1 CAA). Ryne Ogren had a pair of hits and scored three times.
Kirby (4-1) scattered nine hits over his 7.2 frames to earn the win. He struck out four and surpassed the 100-strikeout mark for his career. Brandon Justice recorded the final four outs, including a pair of strikeouts, to close out the game.
Josh Jones led the JMU (13-9, 1-1) offense by going 3-for-3 with one RBI, while Michael Morgan was 2-for-3 with one RBI.
Starter Kevin Kelly (1-2) took the loss after being knocked out after 4.0 innings. Kelly surrendered five runs (two earned) on eight hits in his outing.
How It Happened: Elon took advantage of a JMU error in the top of the third to grab a 3-0 advantage. After Evers singled and Matt Oldham walked, Ogren grounded a ball to third. The potential double play resulted in no outs as the ball was thrown away at second, allowing Evers to score and Oldham to move to third. Venuto followed with a walk to load the bases before a double play scored Oldham to make it 2-0. Ogren would then score on Joe Satterfield’s infield single.
The Phoenix extended its edge to 5-0 in the fifth. Ogren led things off with a double to left-center and scored on a Venuto single through the right side of the Dukes’ infield. With runners on the corners and one away, Stonehouse drove home Venuto with a single that also found the hole between first and second.
The Dukes had the potential for a big inning in the sixth as they loaded the bases with a pair of singles and a walk with nobody out. Jones then drove home the first run with a single to left to make it a 5-1 contest. Kirby then recorded his third strikeout of the ninth, and 100th of his career, for the first out. With the bags still full, Morgan lifted a sacrifice fly to center to drive home Conor Hartigan. Kirby then got a ground ball to first to end the inning with a three-run lead.
Elon got one of those back in the seventh when pinch-runner Tyler Stanley scored on a Stonehouse sacrifice fly. The Phoenix tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the ninth on a Cam Devanney RBI single and a Satterfield sacrifice fly.
Notes: Oldham extended his hitting streak to 12 games, while Devanney and Joe Satterfield have both reached safely in 13 straight contests… Venuto and Evers both tied career highs with three hits… Elon is now 10-3 all-time against James Madison… The win was the 690th of head coach Mike Kennedy’s career.
On Deck: The Phoenix and Dukes will meet for the rubber match of the series on Sunday, March 25, at 1 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park.