ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team saw its rally fall short in its two doubleheader games versus UNCG on Sunday, March 21 at Hunt Softball Park. The Phoenix fell to the Spartans in the opening game, 15-7, before coming up short in the nightcap, 9-6, to conclude its four-game set.
UNCG improved to 13-6 on the year and moved to 4-1 overall in the five games against the Phoenix this season. Elon moved to 7-11 with the two setbacks today.
Game One: UNCG 15, Elon 7 (6)
Neither team scored until the third inning of the opening game. UNCG belted a solo home run by Delaney Cumbie to strike first on the scoreboard in its half of the frame.
Elon responded with a two-spot in the home half of the inning. Mekayla Frazier drew a one-out walk before scoring a double to left center by Rebecca Murray. Murray later crossed the dish on an RBI single from Ally Repko to put the Phoenix ahead 2-1.
A six-run top of the fourth for the Spartans broke the game open. UNCG took advantage of a couple of Elon miscues which saw the Phoenix’s deficit swell to five, 7-2, after the top of the inning.
UNCG added eight more runs in the fifth and sixth frames combined to push its lead to 15-2 going into the bottom of the sixth. The game seemed to head for a quick ending in the bottom of the sixth as the Phoenix’s first two batters were set down before Megan Grant came to the plate. The sophomore drew a walk before being joined on the bases by Grace Kiser, who reached on a single to center. Grant later scored on an RBI single from Allie Eith which gave the Phoenix two runners on with two outs. Another RBI single by Frazier plated another run before a three-run dinger from Gabi Schaal made things interesting for the Phoenix, who trailed 15-7, and needed one more run to keep the game going. UNCG however induced the final out on a fly out to end the game via run rule.
Elon tallied nine hits in the contest with three players – Frazier (2-for-3), Schaal (2-for-4) and Murray (2-for-4) accounting for six of those totals. Schaal’s home run was her third of the year for the Lakeland, Fla., native.
Game Two: UNCG 9, Elon 6
The Phoenix took an early 2-0 lead after the first two frames. Frazier opened the bottom of the first on a double to left field and scored on Schaal’s two-bagger to left to put the Phoenix ahead 1-0. After Murray reached on a walk, Elon had a chance to break the game open with no outs, but UNCG retired the heart of the Phoenix’s lineup in order to escape with minimal damage.
Elon doubled its lead in the home half of the second. Schaal again provided the offensive punch as the rookie lined an infield single to the shortstop that scored Lauryn Clarke, who reached earlier on a walk. The Phoenix loaded the bases with one out, but UNCG finagled its way out of the jam to keep the score at 2-0.
The Spartans finally answered with a five-run top of the third. UNCG rallied with two outs in the inning with most of the damage coming off a three-run home run by Maycin Brown to put the Spartans ahead 5-2.
Elon came back to tie the game in the bottom of the third. Down to its last out of the frame with the bases loaded, Frazier cleared them on a triple to right center that knotted the game at five-all.
UNCG however broke the tie with a two-run top of the fourth and kept expanding its lead with a run in the fifth and sixth inning to push its advantage to 9-5 after the top of the sixth. The Spartans then set down the top of the Phoenix’s lineup in order in the bottom half before the game moved to the seventh and final frame.
After Elon returned the favor and retired UNCG’s bats in order in the top of the seventh, Kiser brought the Phoenix closer with a solo home run to lead off the inning. Elon then got another runner on the bases on a Raelyn McGarry one-out single before a pair of walks to Grant and Eith loaded the bases. UNCG went with a pitching change as Morgan Scott took over for Alina Varga in the circle. Scott was able to retire the next two Phoenix batters on looking strikeouts as the game came to a close with a Spartans’ win, 9-6.
Frazier went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a triple to lead Elon at the plate. Schaal also had another standout performance with her bat, going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI. Overall, Elon had eight hits, but also left 11 baserunners stranded.
The Phoenix starts Colonial Athletic Association play next Saturday, March 27, hosting James Madison at Hunt Softball Park for a three-game series.