WILMINGTON, Va. – Senior Kara Shutt moved to second all-time in school history in career hits as the Elon University softball took its Colonial Athletic Association series at UNCW on Sunday, April 8. The Phoenix won game one of its doubleheader versus the Seahawks, 4-0, to clinch the series, but saw a late lead evaporate as UNCW took a 5-4 decision in the finale at Boseman Field.
Elon (20-18, 4-5 CAA) moved to fourth in the league standings with its second CAA series victory. UNCW fell to 2-7 during CAA play and 12-21 overall. This was also the first league series win for the Phoenix over the Seahawks since 2015.
Shutt moved past Alaina Hall ’17 for second on the program’s all-time career hits list with her six-hit outing between the two games. The Greensboro, N.C., native now has 236 career hits and trails only Tomeka Watson ’13 on the program’s all-time career list at 258.
Game One: Elon 4, UNCW 0
The Phoenix took the early lead in the top of the opening frame. Shutt led off with a double to right center before she crossed home plate on a one-out RBI single from Ally Repko. Repko would advance to second on the play via a UNCW error, but she would not move any further as the Seahawks recovered to induce the next two outs.
Elon added its second run in the top of the second. After the first two batters were quickly retired by the Seahawks, the Phoenix had runners reach on a walk and a hit-by-pitch. Shutt provided the second run of the game for the Phoenix on a base hit to right center, scoring Walker Barbee as Elon took a 2-0 advantage.
A third run was plated on the scoreboard for the Phoenix in the top of the third. Elon answered with two outs again as Erica Serafini took a 2-2 pitch and blasted her second home run of the season on a solo shot to left field. The round tripper put the Phoenix ahead 3-0 over the Seahawks before the end of the third.
Elon continued its theme of plating a run with two outs in the top of the fourth. Katrina Martin reached on a leadoff double to right center before eventually moving to third on a fly out to center. Shutt came through again on a RBI single to center, enabling Martin to score and put the Phoenix ahead 4-0.
That would be enough run support for Phoenix starter Kenna Quinn. The sophomore righty held the Seahawks’ offense from making any real threats in the opening game, scattering four hits in the complete-game shutout. She also added four strikeouts while improving to 5-4 on the season.
Shutt went 4-for-4 with a double, her 13th of the season, and two RBI. It was her second four-hit game out of the last three contests. Repko had a season-high three hits going 3-for-4 while Serafni added her second home run of the season. Overall, the Phoenix had 10 hits in the game, its seventh double-digit game of the year.
Game Two: UNCW 5, Elon 4
A two-run top of the third opened the scoring for the Phoenix in the nightcap. Tia Mitchell opened with a single to right field to give Elon a runner on. Shutt drove a double into right center pushing Mitchell across the dish for the first run of the game. Shutt advanced to third on the throw to put her closer into scoring position. It would pay off on the next at bat as Hannah Olson’s single to left put the Phoenix ahead 2-0.
UNCW got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth. The Seahawks had two runners on after a two-out walk with Lacey Fox coming to the plate. Fox roped a ball to left field where it dropped and allowed UNCW to score a run to bring its deficit to one with runners advancing to scoring position. Elon would recover to force the final out on a fly out to second, but saw its lead sliced in half after the fifth.
The Phoenix added two runs in the top of the seventh. Shutt reached on a one-out double and moved to third on an Olson single. Olson moved to second on the play to give the Phoenix runners in scoring position. Repko drove in Shutt on a RBI single through the left side to push the Phoenix’s lead back to two, 3-1, before a fielder’s choice added another run to give Elon a 4-1 advantage going to UNCW’s home half of the frame.
The Seahawks rallied with a four-run bottom of the seventh to prevent the sweep. UNCW led off with a single before back-to-back RBI doubles brought the Seahawks within one, 4-3. A bunt single gave UNCW runners at the corners before the game was tied at four-all on a single up the middle. A sacrifice bunt moved runners into scoring positon before the Seahawks earned the walk-off on a fielder’s choice to complete the comeback, 5-4.
Both teams were tied with 10 hits each in the game. Shutt, Olson, Repko and Martin had two hits to led the Phoenix at the plate. Shutt added two more doubles in the game increasing her season total to 15 and her career total to 57, three shy of tying the all-time CAA career record.
Hailey Jomp (0-1) took the loss in the circle for Elon after relieving starter Abby Barker in the bottom of the seventh. Barker threw 6.0 innings and surrendered six hits and two runs with a strikeout.
Elon continues its road trip with a visit to Duke on Wednesday, April 11, with its first-ever meeting on the softball diamond versus the Blue Devils. That game is scheduled for a 5:30 p.m. start.