WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Elon University softball team split its doubleheader at UNCW on Saturday, May 1, at Boseman Field. The Phoenix fell in the opener to the Seahawks, 3-2, but rebounded with a 6-2 victory in the nightcap.
Elon moves to 17-18 overall and has a 10-7 ledger during Colonial Athletic Association play. The game two win over the Seahawks (14-23, 8-9 CAA) ensures the Phoenix to finish second in the South Division in which the top two teams in each division are granted an automatic bid to the CAA Tournament.
Game One: UNCW 3, Elon 2
The Seahawks found themselves on the board early in the first game, taking a 1-0 lead. A sacrifice fly from Janel Gamache in the first inning scored Gabriela Hessenthaler, who reached earlier in the frame on a leadoff single.
Both teams battled through four scoreless innings as pitchers Kenna Quinn of Elon and UNCW’s Rylee Pate continued to hold both offenses at bay. Elon however took the lead in the top of the sixth as Carley Davis drove an two-RBI single to right center, scoring Ally Repko, who reached earlier on a single. That put the Phoenix up 2-1 going to the bottom of the frame.
The Seahawks answered in its home half of the sixth on a two-run home run from Jada Santiago. The catcher took a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center for her third round tripper of the season to give the Phoenix a 3-2 deficit.
Elon got the tying run on base in the top of the seventh, but UNCW was able to get out of the jam with a pop up and a double play to secure the game one win.
The Phoenix outhit the Seahawks, 8-4, but left six runners on base. Davis and Repko both went 2-for-2 to lead Elon offensively. Quinn took the loss in the circle, falling to 9-9 after she gave up four hits and three runs, but only one earned.
Game Two: Elon 6, UNCW
The Phoenix did not wait long to go in front of the Seahawks in the beginning of the second game. Repko connected on her ninth homer of the season in the top of the first, a two-run blast to right field to put Elon up 2-0.
UNCW responded in the bottom of the first as Santiago hit a two-out single to center field, scoring Tayler Vitola from second. That brought UNCW closer at 2-1 after the first.
Elon came back with a three-run top of the fourth to increase its advantage. Drew Menscer singled to center field to score Bella Devesa, who opened the frame with a walk. The Phoenix then had runners in scoring position after Menscer stole second before another run crossed the dish on a sacrifice fly to left field from Gabi Schaal. Menscer then crossed home plate on a UNCW error as Elon moved ahead 5-1.
Both teams traded runs in the seventh inning. Another UNCW error led to the Phoenix plating its sixth run of the contest, giving the maroon and gold some insurance. Santiago came back with her second RBI of the game in the Seahawks’ home half of the inning with two outs, but Elom induced the final out on a strikeout to end the game and earn the 6-2 win.
The Phoenix recorded 12 hits in the contest with Claudia Penny going 3-for-4 at the plate to lead Elon. Repko had two RBI on her home run, the 27th in her career. That moves her into sole possession of third-place in school history.
Alexa Nemeth took the win in the circle for Elon, going to 6-4. The graduate student allowed only one earned run off five hits and struck out four.
Both teams return to the diamond for the rubber match tomorrow, May 2, with the opening pitch slated for 12 p.m.