The Elon University softball team kicked off its second home tournament in as many weekends by sweeping Friday’s doubleheader, beating Fairleigh Dickinson University 8-1 before edging Norfolk State 7-5 at Hunt Softball Park.
In the first game, junior pitcher Kiandra Mitchum finished a complete game with a career-high 11 strikeouts, becoming the first Phoenix pitcher in six years to have double-digit strikeouts. She finished the game allowing just four hits, one walk and one run, attributing her success to recent work with assistant coach Jess Jacobson.
“I try to not think and just throw,” Mitchum said. “I guess it was just a good day.”
The Phoenix offense struck right out of the gate with a four-run first, highlighted by senior catcher Carey Million’s two-run single. She finished the day 2-for-2 with four RBI. Junior outfielder Kara Shutt added two hits of her own in going 2-for-3, her first two-hit day in two and a half weeks.
Elon’s bats busted out with another big first inning in the second game against Norfolk State, with junior outfielder Kristin Hoover’s two-run single capping off a three-run first. The Spartans and Phoenix each put up two runs in the third, with Hoover knocking a double and scoring on sophomore infielder Erica Serafini’s triple.
The Spartans cut the lead back down to one in the fifth on sophomore pitcher Hunter Halford’s two-run homer, but Hoover got her third and final hit of the game in the bottom half, drilling a home run to left.
“I think it helped lift our spirits a little,” Hoover said. “I think it was the boost we needed to keep pushing and pull out the win.”
Freshman pitcher Kenna Quinn earned the win in the nightcap, allowing seven hits and four run while striking out four in 4.1 innings. For head coach Kathy Bocock, the sweep of the doubleheader — and with another to come tomorrow — will help Elon prepare for the Colonial Athletic Association.
“We had some trouble a couple of times [today], but that happens,” Bocock said.
The Phoenix faces off with Presbyterian College at 2:30 p.m. today with another game against Norfolk State starting right after that one.