CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Despite a five-run rally in the top of the seventh inning, the Elon University softball team fell short of a comeback at intrastate foe North Carolina on Saturday, March 6, as the Phoenix fell to the Tar Heels, 7-5, at Anderson Softball Stadium.
The loss was the Phoenix’s sixth in a row, dropping its record to 2-6. North Carolina moved to 8-5 with the victory.
At the Plate
The Phoenix recorded five total hits on the day against the Tar Heels, each by five different players. Gabi Schaal had one of those base hits with her first career home run and drove in four RBI. Rebecca Murray also drove in a run while extending her hit streak to four games.
In the Circle
Kenna Quinn was handed the loss for Elon, going to 2-3 overall on the year. Quinn was one of three pitchers that saw time today in the circle for the maroon and gold along with Alexa Nemeth and Kaitlin King. The trio combined to allow 12 hits and seven runs with five of those earned.
UNC took an early lead in its home half of the first off a sacrifice fly from Kiersten Licea to move ahead 1-0. The Tar Heels added to their advantage with a four-run bottom of the second to put the Phoenix in an early 5-0 hole.
Elon registered its first hit of the game in the top of the fifth on a Carley Davis single, but UNC plated two more runs in its home half of the frame to move ahead 7-0 and threatened to end the contest via run-rule. The Phoenix was able to get out of the inning by retiring the next two at bats to leave a pair of runners stranded for North Carolina.
The Phoenix began to mount a comeback in the top half of the seventh. Megan Grant reached on a fielding error and advanced to second on a passed ball. Murray drove her in on a single through the left side to break the scoring stalemate for Elon. Murray later advanced to second on a single and would be eventually joined on the bases by Grace Kiser, who reached on a fielder’s choice while Murray moved to third.
Davis then earned a free pass on the next at bat to load the bases with Schaal due up at the plate. The Lakeland, Fla., native took a 1-0 pitch over the wall in left center as the grand slam narrowed the Phoenix’s gap to 7-5 with only one out in the frame.
Elon looked to continue its momentum as Mekayla Frazier reached on a single up the middle to give the Phoenix the tying run at the plate. UNC however went with a change in the circle and struck out the next batter leaving the Phoenix down to its final out. Elon would not go quietly as Drew Menscer took advantage of a Tar Heel miscue and reached on an error to give the Phoenix the tying runs on the bases.
North Carolina finagled its way out of the jam as Elon struck out looking on the final at bat to see its rally fall short to the Tar Heels.
Elon will close out the Carolina Classic tomorrow, March 7, with a rematch versus UConn at 10 a.m.