With the Elon University baseball team tied entering the bottom of the eighth, senior infielder Danny Lynch stepped up to lead off the inning.
“Sometimes, when you don’t try to do too much, good stuff happens,” Lynch said. “I’m pretty glad I did.”
Lynch swung at a pitch above the letters and blasted it to right-center, hitting his third homer of the season to put Elon ahead for good in a 5-3 victory Saturday afternoon.
“Definitely a mistake by the pitcher,” Lynch said. “Right off the bat, I knew it, and I was excited … Ball looked huge to me.”
Freshman pinch-hitter Ryne Ogren singled home freshman pinch-runner Liam O’Regan to add an insurance run in the eighth after Lynch’s home run. It ended an 0-23 skid for Ogren, his first hit since Feb. 26 against La Salle University.
“You guys probably thought I was pretty stupid to pinch hit him there,” said head coach Mike Kennedy. “They brought a left-hander in, [senior infielder Brent] Guba is struggling a little bit, and he historically hadn’t hit lefthanders. We only had two guys on the bench, and we figured we had to run one of them, so let’s hit the other one.”
Guba had been starting consistently for the injury-riddled Phoenix, but Kennedy felt like he needed a day off. Ogren said it helped.
“It was a relaxing day, but I still wanted to help the team out,” Ogren said. “I’m an intense person. [Kennedy] definitely helped me ease into it. As a freshman, it’s a lot to take in.”
Elon opened the scoring with three runs in the fifth, as junior outfielder Kyle Jackson, senior infielder Danny Lynch and senior infielder Tyler McVicar hit two-out RBI singles in succession.
Junior pitcher Jordan Barrett started strong for Elon, throwing five scoreless innings. He gave up an unearned run in the sixth and one run in the seventh before getting pulled with one out. After another run was charged to him in the seventh, his final line was 6.1 innings, six hits, three runs (two earned), two walks and seven strikeouts.
Freshman pitcher Ryan Conroy earned the win with 1.2 innings in relief of Barrett, which is his first win of the season. Junior pitcher Chris Hall earned his fourth save.
“We’re in a good place when we can get to Conroy and Hall,” Kennedy said. “Every time we do that, I feel like we win. We’re in a good place when we can turn the ball over to those guys.”