ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team saw its early lead evaporate as James Madison scored 10 unanswered runs to earn a 10-3 victory over the Phoenix in a Colonial Athletic Association rubber match on Sunday, March 28, at Hunt Softball Park.
The Phoenix (8-13, 1-2 CAA) looked to earn its first-ever series win over the Dukes (11-1, 2-1 CAA), but a seven-run top of the seventh by JMU doomed the maroon and gold’s quest. Elon moved to 8-20 all-time against James Madison.
At the Plate
The Phoenix registered six hits in the contest with Megan Grant going 2-for-4 to lead the maroon and gold. She also scored a run along with Carley Davis and Mekayla Frazier. Rebecca Murray had the lone RBI in the game for Elon.
In the Circle
Kenna Quinn was saddled with the loss, moving to 5-8 on the season. Quinn pitched in relief and gave up five hits, seven runs, four earned with a pair of strikeouts in 2.0 innings. McKenzie Weber started the game for Elon pitched 4.0 innings and gave up one hit and three runs.
Elon took the early lead in the first frame on an RBI double from Murray. Frazier drew a leadoff walk to give the Phoenix a runner on before eventually scoring on Murray’s two-bagger down the left field line with one out. Murray herself could not move past second as the next two Phoenix batters were retired on strikeouts.
In the bottom of the second, Elon pushed its lead to 3-0 off a miscue from the Dukes. Grant led off on a single to right and advanced to third on a walk and a sacrifice bunt. Grant would score off a fielder’s choice to third as she beat out a tag at home during a rundown as the pitcher lost control of the ball. The error helped Davis cross the dish as Elon increased its advantage to 3-0.
JMU however responded to tie the game in the top of the fifth. The Dukes loaded the bases on a pair of walks and a single before scoring its first run of the contest on another walk. Elon went with a change in the circle as Kaitlin King came on for Weber, but JMU added another run on a sacrifice fly to left before tying the game at three-all in another RBI single.
The Dukes took the lead with a seven spot in the top of the seventh. Elon retired the first batter of the frame, but JMU was able to load the bases on a double and a pair of walks with one out. Another double scored two runs before a Phoenix error added another run for JMU. James Madison continued to add runs on a couple of RBI singles and a two-RBI double to take a 10-3 after the top of the frame.
The Phoenix rallied to get a couple of runners on with two outs in the home half of the seventh as Grace Kiser and Grant reached on singles. The Dukes however induced the final out on a fly out to left to secure the win and the series victory.
Elon continues its homestand to start league play, hosting UNCW next weekend, April 3-4, with the three-game set slated to begin with a single-game on Saturday, April 3, at noon.