The Elon University baseball team crushed three home runs Friday at Latham Park en route to a 6-2 win against the Northeastern Huskies.
“It was one of those nights where we couldn’t get on any pitch,” Elon head coach Mike Kennedy said. “We were off-balance most of the night but the big flies really helped us out tonight.”
The biggest hit of the night came in the bottom of the eighth inning when Chris King hit a grand slam off of Huskie reliever Issac Lippert to extend the lead to 6-2.
“We had some hard hit balls,” King said. “But with the wind, we couldn’t get many over the fence.”
Though Elon had three hard hit homers, Northeastern got off to quick start offensively against Phoenix starter Matt Harris in the top of the first inning. Sophomore Cam Hanley gave the Huskies a 2-0 lead with a 2 RBI double.
But the Phoenix generated a comeback with its ability to hit the long ball and get out of defensive jams.
Elon got one run back in the bottom half of the inning on a Ryan Cooper home run. The Huskies had runners on base with less than two outs in each of the first four innings and had their best chance to add to their lead in the fourth inning. Harris walked Nolan Lang and gave up a double to Joey Scambia with one out. Kennedy went to the mound to calm Harris down. It worked.
“I thought he was wearing his emotions on his sleeve,” Kennedy said. “He didn’t have great stuff early and I think he let everyone know that. When I went out there, I said, ‘You just got to get back in this thing and get control of your mind. You’re still getting them out, so focus on that.’ After that point, I thought he really got going and got comfortable.”
Harris struck out the next two batters swinging and retired thirteen of the last fourteen he faced in his eight-inning performance. He finished the night with two runs allowed, one of which was earned, six hits, seven strikeouts and two walks.
“I started focusing on letting them hit the ball,” Harris said. “I was so focused on trying to strike them out like I did last weekend. Once I started letting them hit the ball and get themselves out, the night got easier.”
Elon couldn’t develop an offensive rhythm early in the game against Northeastern’s starter Nick Berger. But the Phoenix tied the game in the sixth on a Chris King home run to left field. King’s two homers extended his lead in the Colonial Athletic Association with 10 total homers on the season
Chris Hall closed the game for the Phoenix by retiring the Huskies in order and getting a pair of strikeouts.
With the win, Elon improves to 13-15 (5-2 CAA) while Northeastern falls to 10-17 (3-4 CAA). These teams play again on Saturday at 4 p.m. in game two of the three-game series.