It was an ugly day for the Elon University baseball team.
An impressive offensive showing by the Phoenix was undermined by it giving up 25 runs to Wake Forest University in a blowout 25-12 loss at Latham Park Wednesday evening.
“We didn’t locate tonight,” said associate head baseball coach Greg Starbuck who stood in for the suspended Mike Kennedy. “Every ball we left over the plate, [Wake Forest] put over the wall. They made us pay for every mistake.”
Elon got off to a good start in the first inning when senior first baseman Casey Jones hit his first home run of the season to tie things up at 1-all after Wake had scored earlier. Jones had a good day at the plate for the Phoenix in light of the loss, scoring four runs with three hits and two RBI.
The Demon Deacons immediately responded in the next three innings by scoring nine runs off of five homers. Both teams combined for eight home runs in the high scoring game that produced 37 total runs.
“We hit the ball,” Casey Jones said. “They put up 25. That doesn’t really happen a lot, you have to tip your hat to them. They got out early and when you do that, you have a great chance to win the game.”
With Wake Forest up 10-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Phoenix responded with three runs of its own with RBI from freshman DH James Venuto and sophomore right fielder Nick Zammarelli to chip at the Wake lead.
In the next two innings, Wake would score 10 runs to pull away from the Phoenix for good.
“We just didn’t pitch the ball well,” said senior pitcher John Antonelli who pitched two innings, giving up five earned runs. “They took advantage of every mistake we made on the mound and a couple few things on the field. It blows up quickly on you.”
In the fifth inning, Zammarelli hit a 3-run homer to center field which made it a 13-8 game. Senior catcher Chris King hit the first grand slam of his career in the sixth inning, scoring Casey Jones, junior third baseman Joey Tomko and senior center fielder Quinn Bower.
The slam tightened the Wake lead to eight before the Demon Deacons scored the final five runs of the game to finish off Elon in a nearly four-hour game.
“When you get beat like this you put in the rear-view mirror,” Starbuck said. “But it’s college baseball, you play 56 to 65 games so you don’t have a whole lot of time to dwell on them.”
Senior pitcher Jake Stalzer earned the loss for the Phoenix after pitching two innings, giving up six earned runs while freshman pitcher Paul Kirkpatrick earned the win for Wake Forest after pitching 4 innings and giving up four earned runs.
Elon will travel to Winston-Salem tomorrow for a second game against Wake Forest at 6 p.m. Senior pitcher Lucas Bakker is set to take the mound for the Phoenix.