GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Elon University softball team split its doubleheader at UNCG on Saturday, March 20 at UNCG Softball Stadium. The Spartans took the first game, 11-3, before the Phoenix rebounded with a 6-4 decision in the nightcap.
Elon moved to 7-9 overall on the season while the Spartans moved to 11-6.
Game One: UNCG 11, Elon 3 (6)
The Spartans loaded the bases in the bottom of the second and capitalized on the bags being full as Makenna Matthijs hit a grand slam to left field to put UNCG ahead 4-0. A solo home run on the next at bat by Delaney Cumbie added to the Spartans’ advantage as Elon faced a 5-0 disadvantage after the second.
The Phoenix was able to get a run back in its half of the fourth. Rebecca Murray reached on a single to left to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a walk to Ally Repko. Murray crossed the dish in the inning on a UNCG error to trim the Phoenix’s deficit to four, 5-1.
An Elon miscue in the bottom of the fourth got a run back for the Spartans. A two-out wild pitch scored a UNCG run from third, putting the Spartans back in front by five, 6-1.
A pair of solo home runs from the Phoenix narrowed the gap in the top of the fifth. Mekayla Frazier led off the frame with a solo shot to left center, her third of the year. Murray then followed with a two-out dinger straight on to center to pull the maroon and gold within three, 6-3.
The Spartans however added five more runs over the next two innings to pull away from the Phoenix. An Elon fielding error and an RBI single from Cumbie brought in three runs in the bottom of the fifth for UNCG. A two-RBI double to left field from Maycin Brown added the final runs of the contest for the run-rule victory.
Elon had five hits in the game with Murray going 2-for-2 with a home run and a pair of runs scored to lead the Phoenix at the plate. Kenna Quinn received the loss, going to 5-5 on the season after going 1.1 innings with five runs and four hits allowed.
Game Two: Elon 6, UNCG 4
Elon jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after the top of the first. Gabi Schaal drove in Frazier on a single to left field after Frazier led off the inning with a single and then stole second to move into scoring position. Schaal herself later scored on a UNCG error to plate Elon’s second run of the inning.
UNCG tied the game at two-all in the bottom of the second. The Spartans opened the inning with a solo leadoff home run and then tied the contest on an RBI single to right field.
The Phoenix retook the lead with a three-spot in the top of the third. Frazier reached on a hit-by-pitch to open the frame and advanced to second on a stolen base. Schaal then drove a single to left which enabled Frazier to get to third before a UNCG error allowed her to score. Another UNCG error led to Schaal scoring on the next at bat while a two-out RBI single by Claudia Penny gave the maroon and gold a 5-2 lead after the third.
Frazier pushed the Phoenix’s lead to four in the top of the fourth. The Miami, Fla., native drove a one-out double down the left field line, scoring Megan Grant, who reached earlier in the inning on a single.
The Spartans threatened in the final two innings to get back into the game. UNCG scored a run with two outs on a single to center field to trim its deficit to three, 6-3.
In the bottom of the seventh, UNCG looked for a chance to walk it off with the bases loaded and one out. The Spartans reached on a one-out error before having a pair in scoring position on a double to right field. A hit-by-pitch on the next at bat loaded the bases before UNCG plated a run on a single through the right side. Elon was able to finagle its way out of the jam as Phoenix pitcher Alexa Nemeth struck out the next batter before inducing the final out on a ground out to second to secure the Elon win.
Nemeth earned her first win of the season to move to 1-2 after pitching the full 7.0 innings and giving up eight hits, four runs, two earned and struck out eight batters.
Offensively, Elon had eight total hits with Frazier (2-for-3), Murray (2-for-4) and Schaal (2-for-4) all having multi-hit efforts.
Both teams are back in action tomorrow, March 21, with another doubleheader in Elon with the contest scheduled for a 1 p.m. opening pitch.