The Elon bats fell silent on Wednesday night as the visiting Pirates of East Carolina University shutout the Phoenix for the first time this season, 3-0.
The Phoenix were attempting to avenge a loss earlier this year when visiting Greenville, North Carolina 2-1. Elon lost on a walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth.
ECU set the tone early, as Elon sophomore starter Mason Daniels was taken deep by ECU Sophomore Bryant Packard on the first pitch of the game.
“It was supposed to be a fastball outside,” Daniels said of the opening pitch. “But the kid put a good swing on it, you kind of just have to tip the hat… you just have to flush it and get ready to go, there’s a lot of game left to be played”.
Following a great defensive play out in left field to end the first inning, the Phoenix corrected course and were able to hang tough with the nationally ranked, in-state rival. A pitching duel broke out from there, seeing six Phoenix take the bump throughout the game with none of them pitching more than 2.0 innings.
“We try to get a lot of guys going during the weekday games” Daniels said of the amount of pitchers Elon ran out today. “I’m happy with my two innings today and our pitching staff did really well today.”
After Elon got out of the first inning they matched zeros with ECU until the seventh inning. ECU was able to scratch across two more runs in the seventh to give themselves a three run cushion. It was all they needed as their pitching was able to shut the door on the Phoenix, holding Elon without a run for the first time in the 33 games played thus far.
Elon’s 16 strikeouts at the plate were the highest from the team all year. That eclipsed their previous high which was done twice this year. Elon was also held to just two hits on the night, their lowest total to date this year.
“The big problem is we have a lot of guys struggling a the same time.” Head coach Mike Kennedy said of the team’s offensive woes. “All of the sudden we’re swinging out of the zone a little bit too much… we have a lot of guys swinging and chasing and doing some uncharacteristic things.”
“Hitting will come through and we’re going to play well this weekend, so that’s something to look forward to.” Daniels said looking forward to this weekend.
This is now Elon’s fourth straight loss after being swept on the road against the Northeastern University Huskies this past weekend.
Elon will host Hofstra University this weekend in another Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) conference series attempting to stop the four-game skid. First pitch is slated for 6 p.m. on Friday April 13.