ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team combined to hit five home runs in its two victories on the second day of its home tournament, the Phoenix Invitational, on Saturday, Feb. 15. Elon used the longball to defeat Morgan State, 8-5, in the opening game, before closing with a 7-3 win over Siena at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (6-1) improved to 3-0 at its home tournament so far this weekend and has won five straight. Morgan State and Siena both moved to 0-2.
Game One: Elon 8, Morgan State 5
The Phoenix found itself in a hole early in the second inning. The Bears had its first two batters reach on a walk and a hit-by-pitch before both moved into scoring position off a sacrifice bunt. Elon’s Alexa Nemeth struck out the next batter, but a fielding error by the Phoenix on the next play led to a run scoring for Morgan State. A pair of RBI singles added to the Bears’ lead as Elon trailed 3-0.
In the bottom of the third, the Phoenix offense came alive to take the lead. Ally Repko led off with a solo home run to right center to put the maroon and gold on the scoreboard. Megan White followed with a double to left and was joined on the bases by Keagan Goldwait, who drew a walk, and Lauryn Clarke on a single. Elon cut the lead down to one after a Carley Davis two-RBI single to left center which gave Elon the Phoenix runners on the corners. Morgan State made a pitching change, but a double steal led Clarke to swipe home and tie the game at 4-4.
Morgan State answered with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth. Jalian Young reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second to move into scoring position. Elon struck out the next batter, but a dropped ball on the strikeout caused the batter to reach first with Young racing all around to score at home. A single and another fielder’s choice added another run for the Bears, who moved back in front, 5-4.
After two scoreless innings, Elon went into its half of the sixth needing to respond. Pinch hitter Claudia Penny did just that, starting off the frame with a solo round tripper to right center to knot the contest at five-all. A walk drawn by Megan Grant and a single from Rebecca Murray gave the Phoenix runners on with no one out before Repko added her second home run of the contest on a three-run shot to left center. That gave the Phoenix the 8-5 lead going into the top of the seventh.
Down to its final three outs, the Bears managed to have a runner reach on a two-out single, but relief pitcher Kaitlin King was able to induce the final putout on a grounder to third.
Both teams had eight hits with Repko (2-of-3) and Davis (2-of-4) leading the Phoenix at the plate. Repko’s two homers were the third and fourth of the season for the junior and the third in the past two games.
King (2-1) received the win in relief after pitching 2.0 innings and allowing just two hits with a strikeout. Nemeth went 5.0 innings with six hits and five runs allowed, but none earned, and had seven strikeouts.
Game Two: Elon 7, Siena 3
A leadoff single from Grant got the Phoenix off-and-running in the opening frame. Grant stole second to move into immediate scoring position before Murray’s RBI single to right center gave the Phoenix the 1-0 advantage.
Siena came back with a two-spot in the top of the third. Three straight one-out singles loaded the bases for the Saints before Elon recorded the second out on a fly out. Siena came back with two more singles with each driving in a run to put the Saints ahead 2-1.
The Phoenix got right back to work in its home half of the third, exploding for six runs to nab a 7-2 lead. Murray started the outburst after reaching with one out via a throwing error on the third baseman and moved to second. Repko singled to join Murray on the bases before the pair moved into scoring positon on a stolen base. White later added the fourth homer of the day for the Phoenix, a three-run blast to left center that put the maroon and gold ahead. Penny then reached on another error and moved to second and third after a wild pitch. After a strikeout threatened to leave a runner stranded, Morgan Reich connected on the fifth round tripper of the day for the Phoenix with her two-run hit to left center.
Siena managed to make a dent into the Phoenix’s lead with a run in the top of the sixth. The Saints scored on a one-out single to second to make their deficit four runs, 7-3. That was as close as the opposition would get, however, as Elon finagled the final outs of the game to secure the win.
Siena outhit the Phoenix, 11-8, with Grant going 3-of-3 at the plate for Elon. White had three RBI off her second homer of the season while Reich also connected on her second home run of the year.
King (3-1) came back in relief to receive the win for the second straight contest. The Parkland, Fla., native threw 4.1 innings and allowed five hits and one unearned run. Katie Hoover started the game for the Phoenix and went 2.2 innings with six hits and two runs allowed.
Elon closes out the Phoenix Invitational with a rematch versus Morgan State tomorrow, Feb. 16, at 2 p.m.