The Elon University softball team completed its season-opening weekend with a sweep of Hampton University Saturday afternoon, taking each game of the doubleheader by two runs.
The first of three games took place Friday and had the most drama of the weekend. Elon trailed 5-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but a two-run double from senior infielder Emily Roper tied the game. Senior catcher Carey Million stepped up next and ripped a single down the third base line to score Roper and give Elon a 6-5 walk-off victory.
“It really felt good just to do my job,” Million said. “I wasn’t having positive results in my first three at bats so it was nice to have people on [base], and my one successful at bat helped us win the game.”
Saturday saw Elon in two more tough games against Hampton, but Elon was able to pull out two-run wins in each game, 2-0 and 5-3, much to the liking of head coach Kathy Bocock.
“I think we had really good chemistry with the team,” Bocock said. “I think they worked together and talked to each other, and even when we were down a little bit they kept working together as a team, and that was huge.”
In the first game, freshman pitcher Kenna Quinn's first-ever collegiate outing was a complete game shutout, striking out five over the seven innings while allowing just three hits and three walks.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure,” Quinn said. “It was the first game, I just have to prove what I can do. I came in there and I was relaxed the whole time.”
The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when sophomore infielder Ashtyn Foddrell smashed a double to left-center field to drive home the game’s only two runs.
Elon struggled early in the second game, as junior pitcher and staff ace Kiandra Mitchum gave up two in the second and another run in the fifth. At that point, Bocock decided to go back to her star freshman pitcher from the first game, hoping she could stop the bleeding. While Quinn gave up four hits and walked two in 2.2 innings, she kept the Pirates off the board.
“I saw that they had been working good the whole time, so I trusted by defense,” Quinn said. “I tend to work better under pressure, so it was easy and I’m just glad it turned out like it did.”
And for the second straight game, Elon used a two-run bottom of the sixth to take the decisive lead, with junior outfielder Kristin Hoover's RBI double to left-center proving the be the game-winning hit.
Over the weekend, junior outfielder Kara Shutt proved why she is considered one of the best hitters in the Colonial Athletic Association, batting 5-for-11 with a double and a stolen base. Roper also swung the bat well, hitting Elon's lone home run of the weekend Friday night in addition to the tying double.
With the weekend sweep putting Elon at 3-0, the Phoenix will look to continue its winning ways on 4 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15 when it travels to face the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.