ELON, N.C. – Timely hitting by No. 14 Duke was the difference as the Elon University softball team’s valiant effort fell short against the Blue Devils as the Phoenix dropped a 3-0 decision on Wednesday evening, March 17, at Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix (6-8) held the Blue Devils (20-1) to tie its lowest run total of the season, but Duke was able to keep Elon’s offense from crossing the dish. The win also improved Duke’s overall series record against the Phoenix to 3-1.
At the Plate
Elon mustered a pair of hits in the game against the Blue Devils. Ally Repko and Gabi Schaal both ended the game going 1-for-3 with Schaal recording her second double of the season. The Phoenix also drew a pair of walks but left four runners on base.
In the Circle
Kenna Quinn (5-4) threw her fifth complete game of the season as the Boiling Springs, S.C., native gave up five hits and allowed three runs. She also struck out four batters.
Quinn was able to get out of a couple of jams in the first two innings. The Blue Devils’ Deja Davis led off the opening frame with a single and stole second to move into scoring position. Quinn though induced the next two outs to leave her stranded.
In the top of the second, Duke had another runner reach second with one out on a stolen base and advance to third on a fly out to center. Quinn and the Phoenix escaped the frame unharmed as a foul out to third ended the threat.
The Phoenix had its first best chance to score in the home half of the second. A fielding error on the shortstop allowed Grace Kiser to reach with one out before a wild pitch advanced her to second. Blair Rhodes replaced Kiser on the bases and moved to third on another wild pitch. Elon could not move her however as a line out and a grounder to second ended the inning.
After a scoreless third, Duke broke the stalemate with a solo home run in the top of the fourth. Quinn set down the first two batters of the inning, but the Blue Devils’ Kristina Foreman took the first pitch she saw over the wall in left center, putting Duke on the scoreboard, 1-0.
The Blue Devils added another run in the top of the fifth to expand its lead. Davis lined a single to left field, scoring a runner from second to put the Phoenix in a 2-0 deficit.
Elon looked to respond in the bottom of the fifth as Schaal reached on the Phoenix’s first hit of the day on a leadoff double to left center. A one-out wild pitch moved her to third as the Phoenix had the tying run at the plate. Duke got out of the jam as the next two batters were set down in order to leave Schaal stranded.
Duke added one final insurance run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to go up 3-0. Elon had one more runner reach base in the final two innings with Repko getting on via a leadoff single to center in the seventh, but the next three Phoenix batters were all set down in order on strikeouts to end the game.
The Phoenix faces UNCG in a pair of home-and-home doubleheaders this weekend, March 20-21. Elon will travel to Greensboro on Saturday for a twin bill at 1 p.m. before welcoming the Spartans to its home diamond on Sunday, also scheduled for a 1 p.m. start.