ELON, N.C. – Senior Kenna Quinn matched her career-high in strikeouts as the Elon University softball team split its opening day games at its home tournament, the Elon Softball Classic, on Saturday, Feb. 8, at Hunt Softball Park.
Quinn’s performance in the circle helped the Phoenix (1-1) to 5-0 victory over Rhode Island in its first contest of the day. Quinn matched her personal-best with eight strikeouts in the shutout victory. The Phoenix would fall in its nightcap of the evening to Seton Hall, 17-6.
Game One: Elon 5, Rhode Island 0
Elon took advantage of a Rhode Island miscue in the opening frame to take an early lead in its contest against the Rams. Megan Grant reached on a leadoff walk and stole second with one out to move into scoring position. A pair of wild pitches eventually led her to cross the dish to put the Phoenix ahead 1-0.
The Phoenix added to its lead in the bottom of the second. Carley Davis reached on a leadoff walk before being driven to third on a one-out double down the right field line by Lauryn Clarke to give Elon a pair in scoring position. A strikeout put the two in danger of being stranded, but Grant’s two-RBI single to left field extended the Phoenix’s advantage to 3-0.
Elon added insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings on RBI from Keagan Goldwait and another from Grant. The run support would be enough for Quinn in the circle, who scattered four hits in the complete-game effort to earn the win. The Boiling Springs, S.C., native just walked two batters in the contest.
Clarke led the Phoenix at the plate with her 3-of-3 performance with a double while Grant went 2-of-3 with three RBI and a walk. Overall, Elon had eight hits on the game versus the Rams.
Game Two: Seton Hall 17, Elon 6
The Phoenix got off to a fast start in its second game of the day against the Pirates. Grant reached on a leadoff single in the first and moved to second on a hit-by-pitch to Ally Repko. A fly out moved the pair to scoring position before Goldwait’s double to left center drove them in to put the maroon and gold ahead 2-0.
The Pirates responded with a seven-run frame in its top half of the second. Seton Hall loaded the based with one out after a walk drawn by Kiana Tate, but a strikeout on the next batter induced by Kaitlin King gave the Phoenix one out away from escaping the inning. The Pirates rallied however, scoring seven runs with two outs before the turn of the inning.
Elon answered with a four-run bottom of the second to cut into its deficit. Morgan Reich reached on a one-out double and moved to third off Allie Eith’s bunt single. Eith stole second to advance into scoring position before Elon loaded the based with Grant drawing a free pass. An error on the next at bat scored Reich from third and another RBI from Repko on a fly out plated another run for the Phoenix. Seton Hall went with a pitching change, but a wild pitch and a walk with the bases loaded added two more runs for Elon, who trailed 7-6 after two.
Both teams were quiet in the third, but Elon had a chance to take the lead in its home half. Reich opened the inning with a walk and stole second with Eith coming to the plate. Eith place a perfect bunt between first and second base with Reich rounding third looking to score. The Pirates defense was able to recover quickly to tag out Reich at home and also converted the double play with Eith being thrown out trying to advance to second.
Seton Hall went on to score 10 unanswered runs over the next three innings as Elon had no answer to its offense. The Pirates also were able to hold the Phoenix bats at bay as Elon could not tally run before the contest ended in the bottom of the sixth via run-rule.
Elon was outhit, 17-7, for the contest with the maroon and gold also contributing three errors. Grant (2-of-3) and Eith (2-of-2) paced the Phoenix at the plate with Goldwait adding two RBI.
King (0-1) took the loss in the circle for Elon, going 1.2 innings with five hits and six runs allowed.
The Phoenix closes out its schedule at the tournament, hosting Longwood in a doubleheader tomorrow afternoon, Feb. 9, starting at 2 p.m. at Hunt Softball Park.