ELON, N.C. – Despite a three-run home run by freshman Grace Kiser, the Elon University softball team was doomed by an eight-run top of the seventh inning at the hands of UNCG as the Phoenix fell to the Spartans, 13-3, on Wednesday, March 10, at Hunt Softball Park.
The Spartans (8-4), who came into the game ranked 14th in the nation in home runs per game, had five round trippers in top of the seventh and six total in the contest. The setback moved the Phoenix’s record to 3-7.
At the Plate
The Phoenix had six hits in the contest, each by six different players. Kiser came off the bench in the sixth frame to hit her team-best third home run of the year and drove in the only runs of the game for the Phoenix on her three-run blast. Rebecca Murray also registered a hit to extend her hit streak to six games.
In the Circle
McKenzie Weber started the game for Elon and was issued the loss to drop to 0-2. The Overland Park, Kan., native surrendered five runs, three earned, in 5.0 innings and struck out four batters.
The Spartans took the lead with a one-out, solo home run in the top of the first to put the Phoenix in a 1-0 deficit. Elon had a chance to respond in its home half of the frame as Murray and Ally Repko reached on a single and a walk, respectively. A strikeout however ended the threat to leave the runners stranded for Elon.
UNCG added three more runs in the top of the second behind three hits and a Phoenix error. Elon was set down in order in its home half as the Spartans took a 4-0 lead into the third.
Weber settled into the contest as she threw a pair of scoreless frames in the third and fourth, but Elon could not get its offense going as UNCG’s Morgan Scott held the Phoenix without a hit going into the fifth.
A Phoenix fielding error led to another run being scored by the Spartans in the fifth, swelling their lead to 5-0. Elon attempted to answer in the bottom of the fifth as Gabi Schaal ripped a leadoff double to right center and advanced to third on a ground out. Mekayla Frazier joined Schaal on the bases after drawing a walk and stole second to give the Phoenix runners in scoring position with only one out, but UNCG induced the next two outs on a strikeout and a groundout to escape the inning unharmed.
Elon finally got on the scoreboard in its home half of the sixth. Megan Grant led off with a single before being replaced on the bases by Allie Eith. Repko then singled to right field with one out and was able to advance to second on the play as she and Eith moved into scoring position with Kiser coming to the plate. The Pilot Mountain, N.C., native drove an 0-2 pitch to left for her third homer of the season to narrow Elon’s gap to two, 5-3. The Phoenix could not continue the momentum as the next two batters were retired, but Elon looked to keep pace with the Spartans going into the seventh.
UNCG would have other plans as the Spartans put up an eight spot in the top of the seventh. The Spartans belted five home runs in the frame and ballooned their lead to 10, 13-3, before the end of the inning.
Elon got a runner on base in the bottom of the seventh on a single by Frazier but could not add to it as the Phoenix fell to its longtime rival, 13-3.
Elon returns to the diamond this Saturday, March 13, hosting North Carolina Central at 4:30 p.m. to begin a three-game set.