ELON, N.C. – Senior Kara Shutt became the all-time career doubles leader for the Elon University softball team as the Phoenix earned a split in its Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader versus College of Charleston on Sunday, March 25. The Phoenix clinched the series with an 8-0 victory in the opening game before falling to the Cougars, 13-5, in the finale at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (17-13, 2-1 CAA) took series against the Cougars (19-13, 1-2 CAA) in the CAA opening three-game set for both teams. The game one victory also gave Phoenix head coach Kathy Bocock 175 for her career at Elon.
Game One: Elon 8, College of Charleston 0 (5)
In the opening contest, the Phoenix was on the attack early offensively scoring at least one run in the first three innings. In the bottom of the first, Elon plated a run on a two-out single to left field by Elise Walton. The play scored Hannah Olson, who reached earlier in the frame on a walk, to give the maroon and gold a 1-0 lead.
Two more runs came across the dish in the second inning for Elon. Olson drove a hard hit two-out single to left with a couple of runners on for the Phoenix. The left fielder misplayed the ball, enabling two runners to score and increase the Phoenix’s lead to 3-0.
In the next inning, Elon doubled its lead with freshman Katrina Martin being the main catalyst. As the Phoenix had two runners on with one out, the Dayton, Va., native drilled a three-run homer into left-centerfield to put the Phoenix ahead 6-0.
After a quiet fourth inning, Elon sealed the victory and series with a two-spot in the fifth. A fielding error with two outs led to the Phoenix adding the seventh run of the game with runners at first and second. After Shutt loaded the bases on a single to second, Olson closed out the opening game with a RBI single up the middle to give the Phoenix the 8-0 win via run-rule.
Walton was 3-for-3 in the contest for the Phoenix with a RBI while Shutt also had three hits while going 3-for-4. Martin was 2-for-3 with her second home run of the season while Olson was 2-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored.
Abby Barker (6-4) was credited with the win as the Granville, Ohio, native surrendered only one hit through 3.0 innings. Kenna Quinn pitched the remaining 2.0 innings in relief with a walk and a strikeout.
Game Two: College of Charleston 13, Elon 5 (6)
Four innings into the second game of the day, the Phoenix was tied with the Cougars at 3-3 after battling behind from an early deficit. CofC however plated 10 runs between the fifth and sixth frames, depleting the Phoenix’s momentum in its setback in the series finale.
After Charleston scored two runs in the top of the first and added another in the opening of the third to take an early 3-0 lead, Elon responded to knot the game over the bottom of the third and fourth. Shutt and Olson reached in the bottom of the third on back-to-back one-out singles before Erica Serafini put the Phoenix on the scoreboard with a RBI single to right field, scoring Shutt. Olson and Serafini moved into scoring position on the play as Ashtyn Foddrell’s sacrifice fly to left field enabled Olson to bring the Phoenix within one, 3-2.
In the following inning, Elon tied the game thanks to Shutt’s record-breaking hit. As the Phoenix had a runner on with two outs, Shutt stepped into the batter’s box and connected on her 52nd career double to score Tia Mitchell, who reached earlier on a fielder’s choice, to tie the game at three-all. Shutt’s two-bagger broke a tie with Carleigh Nester ’14 for the program’s all-time career mark while putting the Phoenix back into the contest with the Cougars.
CofC responded with a two-spot in the top of the fifth to regain the lead and answered loudly in the top of the sixth with eight more runs. The Cougars were able to find some clutch hits with two outs in the fifth to score its two runs to take a 5-3 advantage. The Phoenix could not respond in its home half as the maroon and gold were retired in order.
Although the game was still within reach, CofC broke loose to take control of the contest in its top half of the sixth. The Cougars opened the frame with four straight hits with the latter coming on a bases loaded single through the left side, scoring a run for College of Charleston to push its lead to three, 6-3. After a Phoenix pitching change, CofC continued its onslaught with a grand slam on the next at bat to make the score 10-3 in favor of the Cougars. Three more runs came across the dish on a another homer as CofC stood in front, 13-3.
Still fighting, Shutt drove in two more runs in the bottom of the sixth for the Phoenix. Ally Repko led off the inning with a single and moved to second on a one-out single to center by pinch hitter Kristin Hoover. A grounder pushed both runners to scoring position where Shutt drove them in on a single up the middle. The short rally wasn’t enough to overcome the heavy deficit as Elon fell, 13-5.
Shutt had her second straight three hit game after going 3-for-4 with three RBI and a double, her 10th of the season. Olson (2-for-4) and Serafini (2-for-3) also had multi-hit efforts for the Phoenix.
Kenna Quinn (3-4) was tagged with the loss for Elon after the sophomore came on in relief for starter Kiandra Mitchum in the top of the fourth. Overall, four Phoenix pitchers saw action in the contest as Elon allowed its highest hit total (16) and first double-digit run total this season.
Notes: Shutt is now only one hit away from tying Nester for fifth all-time on the program’s all-time career hits list as she sits with 220…Elon joined Hofstra (3-0) and James Madison (3-0) as the CAA teams this weekend that won their league opening series.
The Phoenix has a quick turnaround as Elon travels to Greensboro, N.C., to face longtime Triad rival North Carolina A&T on Tuesday, March 27. That game is scheduled for a 4:30 p.m. start.