ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team swept its Colonial Athletic Association doubleheader versus Drexel in a pair of five-inning, run-rule victories on Saturday, April 28. The Phoenix took the first game, 8-0, before closing out the day with a 9-1 win in the nightcap at Hunt Softball Park.
The wins enabled Elon (23-25, 6-11 CAA) to win its third league series of the season while also jumping back into the postseason picture. Elon is currently tied with UNCW for the fifth and final spot for the CAA Tournament in the league standings, but the Phoenix holds the tiebreaker due to its series win over the Seahawks. Drexel fell to 20-25-2 overall and 3-14 in CAA play.
Game One: Elon 8, Drexel 0 (5)
In the opening game, Elon attacked the Dragons early with a five-run bottom of the first. Kara Shutt and Hannah Olson opened with singles before another single by Ally Repko drove in Shutt for the first score of the contest. Repko would eventually steal second to give the Phoenix runners in scoring position with one out before the bags became full on a walk. Tia Mitchell then slapped a two RBI single up the middle to score Olson and Repko while advancing to second on the play to make the score 3-0. The Phoenix would score on a fielder’s choice on the next at bat before an RBI single from Kristin Hoover built a commanding 5-0 lead for Elon after one.
Drexel looked to answer in the top of the second loading the bases. The Dragons had a runner reach on a one-out bunt single before another joined the bases thanks to another single. An error on the play led to both runners advancing into scoring position with two outs. Drexel drew a walk to load the bags, but sophomore Kenna Quinn finagled the final out on a fielder’s choice.
Elon was quiet offensively until the bottom of the fifth. Repko belted her second single of the contest into left center before moving to second with one out on a wild pitch. A walk drawn by Ashtyn Foddrell gave the Phoenix two runners on and the potential walkoff run at the plate in Mitchell. That would be the case as Mitchell drove a bunt towards the third baseman who then fired it to first as Mitchell was reaching the bag. No one was covering first however as the ball sailed into the outfield down the right field line as all three runners scored off the errant throw and helped Elon to an 8-0 game one victory.
The Phoenix had eight hits in the game with Repko and Mitchell leading the way with two each. Mitchell also ended the game with her two RBI. Quinn improved to 7-7 on the season with a complete game shutout in which she allowed five hits.
Game Two: Elon 9, Drexel 1 (5)
The start of the second game was much like the first as Elon started with a big inning in the opening frame. Shutt led off the game with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A popup to the shortstop left her in danger of being stranded before the bases were loaded with free passes given to the next two at bats and Mitchell stepping to the plate. Mitchell pushed across all three runs on a triple to center field to make it 3-0. Mitchell would later plate a run herself on a RBI single from Katrina Martin to help the Phoenix go up 4-0.
Drexel threatened again in the top of the second, but this time was able to answer. The Dragons’ Elena Woulfe walked to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A single up the middle moved her to third before she crossed home plate thanks to a Reilly Jo Swanson’s RBI single up the middle. Drexel would have runners reach scoring position on another wild pitch with still no outs in the frame. The Dragons attempted to add its second run of the game on a fielder’s choice to the pitcher, but Elon was able to tag out the runner at the plate in time. Drexel loaded the bases again with just one out and the top of its lineup coming up, but Elon induced the next two outs to escape the jam.
Elon took the game and the series with a five-run bottom of the fourth. Walker Barbee reached on a fielding error to lead off the inning before Erica Serafini also joined her on the base paths eventually on a walk with one out. A Shutt single loaded the bases before Olson cleared them all on a three RBI double into right center to make the score 7-1. Elon added two more runs in the frame to take a 9-1 advantage going to the fifth.
Drexel saw its first two batters retired in the top of the fifth before having a runner reach on a single. However, that player was not reentered back into the prior to that play, forcing the officials to call her out and end the game with the Phoenix’s 9-1 victory.
Elon had eight hits again in the second game with Mitchell and Foddrell having two each. Mitchell ended the second game with four RBI while Olson had three. Olson also doubled for the 14th time this season and the 40th in her career, moving her into a tie with Debbie Zeigler ’08 for sixth all-time in school history.
Freshman Jamie Finnical (1-2) earned her first career win as the Reistertown, Md., native threw 4.0 innings with four hits given up along with one run. Hailey Jomp pitched the final frame in relief.
The Phoenix and Dragons will play the series finale tomorrow, April 29, at 1 p.m. Prior to the game, Elon will honor its five-member senior class of Hoover, Olson, Shutt, Madison Kadlic and Kiandra Mitchum.