ELON, N.C. – A one-hitter tossed by redshirt junior Abby Barker highlighted the Elon University softball team’s day on the opening day at its home tournament, the Phoenix Invitational, on Saturday, March 2. The Phoenix fell in its first contest of the day, 5-4, to Oakland, but rebounded for a 9-0 shutout win versus La Salle in its nightcap at Hunt Softball Park
Elon moved to 8-6-1 overall on the season after splitting the two games. Barker threw her second-one hitter of the season in the Phoenix’s victory over the Explorers.
Game One: Oakland 5, Elon 4
Both teams were scoreless through two innings before Oakland plated the first run of the game in its half of the third. The Golden Grizzlies led off with a double to left center and advanced all the way to third on the next two putouts. Oakland had runners at the corners after a walk before a Phoenix fielding error led to the Golden Grizzlies crossing the dish for a 1-0 lead.
Elon came back in the home half of the third to take the lead. The Phoenix had two runners on with one out as Rebecca Murray came to the plate. The freshman took a 3-2 pitch and sent it over the fence down the left field line for her first career homer as the three-run shot moved Elon up 3-1.
Oakland came back to tie the game in the top of the fifth. A one-out, RBI double pushed across the second run of the contest for the Golden Grizzlies, but the Phoenix struck out the next batter and looked to escape the inning. However, an Elon fielding miscue led to the tying run coming across the plate and knotting the game at 3-3.
The Golden Grizzlies went back in front in the top of the sixth courtesy of more errors by the Phoenix. Oakland led off the inning on a single before scoring thanks to an errant throw from the catcher on a bunt attempt to first. The Phoenix’s deficit was pushed to two after an RBI single made the score 5-3.
Elon would continue to battle back to its final out in the bottom of the seventh. The Phoenix quickly saw its first two batters get set down on a pop up and a strikeout before Ally Repko doubled to right center to give the Phoenix a runner in scoring position. A fielding error on the next at bat aided Repko to score and pull the Phoenix within one, 5-4, with a runner on first. Ashtyn Foddrell kept the rally alive on a single to left center that moved the lead runner to third. Foddrell advanced to second on the throw as the Phoenix had runners in scoring position looking for the tying or walk-off run. A grounder back to the pitcher on the next at bat would end the rally as the Phoenix fell to Oakland, 5-4.
Elon had eight total hits in the game with Erica Serafini (2-of-4) and Foddrell (2-of-4) leading the Phoenix with multi-hit efforts. Murray had three RBI on her homerun while Repko and Foddrell added a double to their stat lines.
Kenna Quinn (3-3) was given the loss in the circle for Elon. The junior pitched 5.0 innings and allowed 10 hits, five runs, three earned, and struck out two. Hailey Jomp threw 2.0 scoreless innings in relief.
Game Two: Elon 9, La Salle 0 (5)
A six-spot in the second inning opened the scoring for the Phoenix in its second contest of the day against the Explorers. The Phoenix loaded the bases after a Morgan Reich single before a fielding error on the pitcher allowed the first run of the game. Keagan Goldwait’s one-out RBI single to third drove in the second run of the contest to put Elon up 2-0. With the bases still loaded, Repko cleared them on a triple down the right field line that put the Phoenix up 5-0. Another run crossed the dish on another fielding error and Elon took a 6-0 advantage over the Explorers.
Elon added three more runs in the bottom of the third. Lauryn Clarke led off with a walk and moved to second on a passed ball. Another free pass drawn by Megan White gave the Phoenix two runners on along with Clarke advancing to third on a passed ball. The bases were loaded on a hit-by-pitch drawn by Reich before another walk added the seventh run of the contest from Allie Eith. Serafini’s sacrifice fly moved the Phoenix up 8-0 before Elon added its final tally on a wild pitch.
That would be more than enough run support for Barker in the contest. The Granville, Ohio, native allowed the first base runner on via a hit-by-pitch in the first, but quickly recovered and did not allow another runner on until the top of the fourth.
Barker would lose out on a no-hitter in the top of the fifth as a one-out single over the shortstop gave La Salle its third base runner of the contest. Unfazed, Barker promptly retired the next two batters via a grounder and a strikeout to come away with the 9-0, run-rule victory.
Barker threw 5.0 innings with the one hit allowed and struck out three and improved to 5-2 on the season. The Phoenix only had five hits in the game against the Explorers by five different players. Repko had three RBI on her triple to stand out at the plate for Elon
The Phoenix is scheduled to close out its tournament with a contest versus Lafayette on Sunday, March 3. That game is slated for a 11 a.m. start time.