ELON, N.C. – Senior Kara Shutt became the Colonial Athletic Association’s new career leader in doubles to cap off her Senior Day for the Elon University softball team as the Phoenix earned a 17-10 victory over Drexel in the series finale on Sunday, April 29, at Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix (24-25, 7-11 CAA) completed the sweep of the Dragons (20-26-2, 3-15 CAA) for its fourth straight win overall. The victory also placed Elon fifth in the league standings and in position for a postseason berth at the five-team CAA Tournament going into next weekend at Delaware.
At the Plate: Elon’s 17 runs was its highest run total of the season and the most since plating 15 versus Princeton earlier this season…The Phoenix also belted four homeruns, also a season-best…Elon had 17 hits in the game, its single-game best this year…Ten players for Elon plated at least one base hit with Shutt leading the way by going 3-for-4 at the plate…Shutt had two doubles in the game as she became the CAA’s all-time career leader with 62 total for her career…Ashtyn Foddrell drove in a season-best four RBI and had one of the four homeruns for the Phoenix…Katrina Martin, Walker Barbee and Elise Walton also homered for the Phoenix…Shutt ended the day with two doubles, giving her 20 on the season and one shy of tying her own single-season program record.
In the Circle: Elon’s Kenna Quinn was credited with the win to improve to 8-7 on the season…The sophomore pitched 4.1 innings and allowed seven runs on 12 hits with a couple of strikeouts…Hailey Jomp and Jamie Finnical also pitched in relief for Elon.
The high-scoring affair got started at the beginning in the first with Drexel putting up a four-spot in the opening frame. The Dragons had its first two batters reach on singles before Elon recorded the first out on a fly out to right field. Kristi DiMeo responded with a three-run homerun to left center to give the Dragons a 3-0 advantage. After a strikeout induced the second out, a hit-by-pitch and a single gave Drexel two runners on before a RBI single added another run to put the Phoenix in an early four-run disadvantage.
Elon nearly got all of those runs back in its home half of the first thanks to Foddrell’s bat. Hannah Olson drew a one-out hit-by-pitch and was joined on the bases by Ally Repko on a walk. A foul out would put the Dragons one out away from escaping the inning unharmed, but Foddrell would have other plans as the Warrenton, Va., native connected with her fifth homer of the season on a three-run blast to left center. That would cut Drexel’s lead to one, 4-3, going to the second.
Drexel added a run back in the top of the second. The Dragons opened the frame with a double down the left field line before eventually scoring on another double down the left field line with one out. The play put the Dragons ahead by two, 5-3, before the inning turned over to the Phoenix’s home half.
A four-run bottom of the second gave the Phoenix the lead highlighted by Shutt’s record-breaking double. Erica Serafini drew a one-out walk for the Phoenix before Shutt made league history with a RBI double into the gap in right center. Shutt’s 61st career double moved her past James Madison’s Erica Field (2013-16) for the CAA career doubles crown while also bringing the Phoenix within one, 5-4. Shutt then stole third to move 60 feet away from tying the game, which she did on a RBI on a fielder’s choice from Olson. Olson moved to second on a Repko single before the bases were loaded on a Walton single. The Phoenix went in front on Foddrell’s sacrifice fly to left, 6-5, to score a run from third before Tia Mitchell added another run on a RBI double to put Elon ahead 7-5 before the end of the inning.
Elon held the Dragons scoreless over the next two frames while scoring four runs of its own including three in the bottom of the fourth. The Phoenix’s first two batters of the inning were retired on ground outs before Foddrell and Mitchell reached on a walk and a single, respectively. Martin stepped into the batter’s box and took the first pitch she saw for a three-run blast over left field that increased the Phoenix’s lead to six, 11-5.
Drexel slowed the momentum with a two-run top of the fifth to pull itself back within four. The Dragons loaded the bases with no outs after a single to left center before plating another run on a single to center on the next at bat. A wild pitch added another run for the Dragons, who then loaded the bases with two outs after Elon intentionally walked DiMeo. Despite giving Drexel the tying run at the plate, the strategy paid off as a fielder’s choice to third ended the threat with Elon up 11-7.
The Phoenix added its third three-run homerun of the game in the bottom of the fifth. As Elon had runners at the corners with two outs, Barbee took a 2-2 pitch to left field for her first career homer and gave the Phoenix some cushion with a seven-run advantage at 14-7.
The Dragons would not go away as Drexel nipped at Elon’s lead again in the top of the sixth. A two-out, three RBI double brought the Dragons within four again, 14-10, as Drexel threatened, but Elon eventually induced the final out on a foul out to keep its lead at four.
In the home half of the sixth, Elon got those three runs back on its fourth round tripper of the day. Shutt and Olson reached on one-out singles to give the Phoenix runners on, but a foul out put them an out away from being stranded. The pair was able to cross the dish thanks to Walton’s first career homerun off a 1-0 pitch to left field. That gave the Phoenix some much needed insurance runs going to the seventh.
Drexel loaded the bags once more in the top of the seventh looking to keep its chances alive. The Dragons had a runner reach on a fielder’s choice before two singles eventually loaded the bases with two outs. Elon held off the final rally attempt as the game ended after a fielder’s choice to the shortstop for a 17-10 Phoenix victory.
Elon closes out its regular-season schedule with a visit to Delaware for a crucial three-game CAA set. The series begins with a twin bill on Friday, May 4, at 3 p.m. followed with the series and season finale on Saturday, May 5, at noon.