In a seventh inning that lasted just over 45 minutes, the Elon University baseball team hit its second grand slam in consecutive weeks off a shot from senior Kyle Jackson to secure a conference series win over James Madison University.
Jackson faced two outs and a full-count before launching the ball to left-center field, hitting the Latham Park scoreboard in what would result in a comfortable 9-2 victory for Elon.
“I was able to kind of stay back and fight off a few pitches,” Jackson said of his situation prior to hitting the grand slam. “I tried to just get on top of the ball and hit something hard and I was able to do that which was nice.”
Senior pitcher Jordan Barrett was dominant early for the Phoenix, only giving up a solo home run to James Madison junior catcher Zach Tondi in the beginning of the seventh inning. Barrett would finish the day throwing 11 strikeouts on a whopping 113 total pitches.
“I thought he pitched great,” said Elon coach Mike Kennedy. “His issue has been command and walking guys and having those guys scoring on him, but today he was outstanding.”
“That was my goal today,” Barrett added. “Minimize those big innings, that’s what gives us a chance to win.”
Elon’s seven runs scored marks the fifth straight game in which the offense has mustered more than six runs in a single game.
In addition to Jackson, sophomore designated hitter James Venuto and junior catcher Hayden Platt each blasted two runs in off home runs of their own. Platt’s shot being the icing on the cake for the Phoenix, in what would be its final runs scored in the 8th inning.
“It’s not always great to rely on the long ball but some days like today you can get away with it,” Venuto said.
Following Barrett’s exit from the game in the seventh inning, things got tight for the Phoenix after senior pitcher Derek Pike gave up an RBI to James Madison infielder Ky Parrott. With the game at 3-2, Elon senior closer Danny Crowe halted any further damage in the seventh as he wouldn’t give up any runs for the rest of the game.
With the win, the Phoenix moves above .500 on the season and sits at 4-1 in conference play. Elon will go for its first sweep of the season when it faces James Madison again tomorrow at 1:30.