ELON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team’s offense delivered in clutch situations while the Phoenix’s pitching duo of Kenna Quinn and Alexa Nemeth did the job as Elon swept College of Charleston in its doubleheader on Sunday, April 25, earning the overall series sweep over the Cougars at Hunt Softball Park.
Elon (16-17, 9-6 Colonial Athletic Association) took the opening game, 4-0, behind a complete-game shutout from Quinn. The Phoenix then won the nightcap, 3-1, for its seventh straight win over the Cougars (6-32, 0-15 CAA) while moving to second in the South Division standings.
“We knew we had to take care of business today and I think the players did a great job on focusing on one inning at a time,” said Elon head coach Kathy Bocock. “I thought Kenna pitched a great opening game to help us before things fell into place for us offensively. Then Alexa came out in the second game and also did well and I liked how our team was able to answer the call to get the wins today.”
Game One: Elon 4, College of Charleston 0
Game One Box
Pitching in her final game at Hunt Softball Park, Quinn kept the Phoenix in the contest as its offense struggled at the outset in the opening game against the Cougars. Both teams were mired in a pitchers’ duel as CofC’s Carli McCants went toe-to-toe with Quinn to hold Elon scoreless in the first five innings.
Quinn found herself in a jam in the third inning. Charleston reached on a leadoff walked before the runner moved all the way to third on a grounder and a single. With runners at the corners with only one out, Quinn induced the next two batters on a strikeout and a popup to first to escape the inning unharmed.
Elon’s offense finally got on track in the home half of the sixth. Rebecca Murray led off with a single and was joined on the bases by Ally Repko on another single to give the Phoenix two on with no outs. After a flyout to center, Megan Grant produced the first run of the contest on her single to right center, scoring Murray from second and advancing Repko to third. The Phoenix however was in threat to leave runners stranded as McCants recorded the second out with Megan White coming to the plate to pinch hit. The junior worked a full count before coming through with a three-run home run on the 10th pitch at the plate to put Elon ahead 4-0.
That would be enough support for Quinn, as the Boiling Springs, S.C., native retired the side in order in the following inning to secure the win. It was the first shutout of the season for Quinn (9-8), who allowed five hits and struck out a season-high eight batters.
Offensively, Elon also had five hits with Grant and White both having RBIs to lead the Phoenix bats. White’s homer was the first of the year for the Creedmoor, N.C., native.
Game Two: Elon 3, Charleston 1
Game Two Box
It was more of the same in game two as Nemeth dominated the circle for the Phoenix overall, but had some early trouble against the Cougars. CofC’s Shealyn Starks reached to open the second on a Phoenix error and moved to second on a passed ball. She would eventually move to third with two outs, but a grounder to the shortstop ended the threat.
The Phoenix would plate the first run of the game in the bottom of the third. Elon loaded the bases after Grace Kiser drew a walk with two outs before a wild pitch enabled Gabi Schaal to score from third to make the score 1-0. Another walk loaded the bases again for the Phoenix as Charleston went with a pitching change, but a free pass to Carley Davis allowed another run to cross the dish to put Elon up 2-0.
Elon added another run on a Charleston miscue in the bottom of the fourth. Allie Eith reached on a single to open the frame and stole second to move into scoring position. A fly out advanced Eith to third, but an errant throw by the right fielder went into Charleston’s dugout, allowing Eith to advance home as Elon took a 3-0 advantage.
Charleston answered to get on the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. A pair of errors by the Phoenix allowed the Cougars to score a run with no outs while giving CofC a runner on third and the tying run at the plate. Nemeth and the Phoenix defense stepped up as the next batter grounded out before the inning ended on a 9-2-5 double play to keep Elon’s 3-1 lead intact.
Nemeth quickly retired the side in the top of the seventh to earn her fifth win of the season to improve to 5-4. The graduate student from Mooresville, N.C., allowed three hits and one unearned run on the day with a pair of strikeouts.
Elon closes out the regular season next weekend, May 1-2, at UNCW. The Phoenix and the Seahawks open the three-game set with a doubleheader next Saturday at noon followed by the series finale on Sunday starting at 12 p.m.