HARRISONBURG, Va. – A five-run bottom of the fourth inning including a two-run home run from Keagan Goldwait helped the second seeded Elon University softball team to a 6-1 win versus third seed Towson as the Phoenix opened play at the Colonial Athletic Association Softball Championships on Wednesday, May 8, at Veterans Memorial Park.
Elon (32-18-1) advances to the semifinal round of the tournament on Thursday, May 9, and will face No. 1 seed and host James Madison at noon. The Phoenix also earned its third win of the season against the Tigers (27-26).
At the Plate: The Phoenix won the game despite being outhit by the Tigers, 9-4, in the contest…Elon drew nine walks, scoring off three of those in the fourth with the bases loaded…Goldwait added her seventh home run of the year while Lauryn Clarke contributed with her second on a solo hit in the fifth…Towson left 10 base runners on compared to six for Elon.
In the Circle: Abby Barker improved to 18-6 on the season, tying Kiandra Mitchum ’18 for the most wins by an Elon pitcher in a single-season at the Division I level…Barker pitched her 18th complete game of the year and gave up nine hits, one run and struck out four batters.
Both teams had some early chances to plate some runs. Towson had its first two batters reach in the first inning on a single and a walk with both moving to scoring position with two outs. Barker was able to finagle out of the jam with a ground out to end the inning.
Elon placed runners on the corners in the home half of the first with Erica Serafini and Ally Repko reaching on one-out free passes. A foul out deep in the corner in left field moved Serafini to third, but she would be left there as a fly out ended the inning.
A passed ball with two outs in the top of the second helped the Tigers have a runner move all the way to third. The next batter reached on a walk with Towson having runners at the corners with the top of its lineup due up. Barker was able to set down the batter on a strikeout to leave two more on for Towson.
The Phoenix had runners reach with one out in the bottom of the second. Clarke got one via a one-out walk and was joined on the bases by Rebecca Murray after a dropped ball in center field. Elon was unlucky on the next at bat, lining out into a double play to end the frame.
Both teams were relatively quiet in the third inning, but came out aggressive in the fourth frame. The Tigers had runners on first and second with two outs on a pair of singles before plating another single to center field. The ball found the glove of Murray, who fired rocket towards home with a Towson runner trying to score from second. Elon was able to get the tag at the plate and escape the inning unharmed going to its home half.
The Phoenix came out swinging in the bottom of the fourth as Callie Horn recorded Elon’s first base hit of the game on a leadoff single to left. Goldwait then stepped to the plate and took the first offering she saw over the left field fence, giving Elon a 2-0 lead on the two-run home run. The Phoenix kept threat going as the next three batters reached to load the bases before scoring two more runs on two consecutive walks. Another walk with ducks on the pond with one out increased the Phoenix’s lead to 5-0 before the end of the inning.
Elon tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth. Clarke sent a 2-1 offering to right field with the solo home run putting the Phoenix ahead 6-0 through five. Towson got a run back in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly, cutting Elon’s lead to five, 6-1.
The Tigers opened the seventh with a single and looked for a big inning of their own, but the Phoenix induced a double play on the next at bat. A fly out to center field closed out the game as Elon earned the 6-1 win.