ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team closed out its opening weekend with a doubleheader sweep of Longwood on Sunday, Feb. 9, to close out the final day of the Elon Softball Classic at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix took the opening contest, 4-2, before earning the twin bill sweep with a 13-3 result in the nightcap.
Elon went 3-1 on the weekend at its home tournament while Longwood fell to 2-2.
Game One: Elon 4, Longwood 2
The Phoenix started its opening game against the Lancers with the early lead in the bottom of the first. Rebecca Murray and Ally Repko tallied back-to-back one-out singles to give the Phoenix runners in scoring position and Megan White coming to the plate. White then lined a double into left field, scoring Murray and Repko as Elon went up 2-0.
Elon added another run in its home half of the third. Repko provided the score on a two-out, solo home run as the junior took a 1-2 offering and sent it over the left field fence for a 3-0 Phoenix lead.
Longwood was able to respond in the top of the fifth, partly due to some Phoenix miscues in the inning. Elon recorded three errors in the frame which enabled the Lancers to score a pair of runs and cut the Phoenix’s lead to one, 3-2.
The Phoenix added a run back in the bottom of the fifth. Murray opened the frame on a leadoff single then stole second to move into scoring position. Two batters later, Keagan Goldwait moved Murray across the dish on a one-out single to right field to put the maroon and gold ahead 4-2.
From that point, the contest became a pitcher’s duel between the Phoenix’s Kenna Quinn and Longwood’s Sydney Backstrom. Quinn tossed a scoreless sixth frame and looked to close out the contest in the top of the seventh, but the Lancers opened the inning with a single to put the tying run at the plate. After a fielder’s choice induced the first out, Quinn struck out the next batter, her fifth strikeout of the game. Down to its final out, Longwood attempted to steal second to move a runner into scoring position, but White was able to make the perfect throw to second to catch the runner stealing for the final out.
Quinn moved to 2-0 on the season and pitched her second complete game of the weekend. The senior allowed four hits and two runs – none earned – with two walks as she outdueled Backstrom (1-1) in the circle. Backstrom, the Big South Preseason Pitcher of the Year, allowed eight hits with four earned runs and had eight strikeouts.
Repko (2-of-3) and Murray (2-of-4) led the Phoenix at the plate while White had a pair of RBI.
Game Two: Elon 13, Longwood 3 (5)
Elon again jumped out to the early lead, plating a run in the bottom of the first. Murray reached on a one-out walk and moved to second on a stolen base. White drove Murray home on a two-out single to left center to make the score 1-0.
Longwood answered with a solo home run in the top of the second to knot the game at one-all. Sydney Jacobsen worked a 3-0 count before lining a hit to right field for the Lancers’ first score of the afternoon.
Longwood continued its momentum in the top of the third, adding two more runs. A few costly mistakes by the Phoenix contributed to the Lancers taking a 3-1 lead over the maroon and gold after the top of the frame.
The Phoenix regained composure to tie things up in the home half of the third. Murray and Repko both reached with one out on a single and a double, respectively, before Longwood loaded the bases on an intentional walk to White. The strategy backfired as a hit-by-pitch to Goldwait enabled a run for Elon closing its deficit to one. An RBI on a fielder’s choice by Carley Davis tied the contest at 3-3 going into the fourth.
Elon broke open the game with a five-run bottom of the fourth. Longwood allowed the leadoff runner to reach for the Phoenix on a walk, but was able to finagle the next two outs with Murray coming to the plate and a runner at third. Murray sent a ball to first, but the defender had trouble containing it, allowing Murray to reach and the Phoenix to score to break the tie. Murray then stole second with Repko joining her on the bases on a walk with White coming up. Longwood chose to pitch White, which resulted in the sophomore connecting on her first home run of the season with the three-run blast to right center, moving Elon up 7-3. Another RBI from Morgan Reich, who originally opened the inning, plated the fifth run of the inning to put the score 8-3.
The Phoenix added five more runs between the fifth and sixth innings, including a four-run bottom of the sixth. Reich provided three of those runs with a three-run homer to left center, which sealed the win for Elon with the 13-3 victory via run-rule.
Reich and White each went 2-of-3 with a homer and four RBI in the contest for Elon, who had seven total hits against the Lancers. Freshman Kaitlin King went the distance for the Phoenix in the circle, moving to 1-1 after allowing four hits, three runs, two earned, with a strikeout.
Elon hosts North Carolina A&T on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at Hunt Softball Park. That contest is scheduled for a 4 p.m. start.