It finally looked like the Elon University baseball team was getting on the right track.
The Phoenix led 6-1 after five innings over Furman University May 11 and was close to snapping a five-game losing streak. But the Paladins plated six runs in the eighth to steal a 9-7 win and complete the three-game sweep.
Elon (26-25 overall) finishes its final campaign in the Southern Conference with a 12-15 record, its worst in 12 years as a member. The Phoenix has lost nine straight road games and has won just three away from home. Dating back to April 19, Elon has lost 11 of 13.
With Elon ahead 7-3 entering the bottom half of the eighth inning, Elon freshman Chris Hall allowed a lead-off double and a triple that followed to surrender one run. In came senior closer Ryan Pennell, who had his worst outing of the season. In one full inning, he was charged with four runs, three hits and the loss. A Furman single and a groundout each scored a run, and it was a 3-RBI triple by Hunter Burton supplied the go-ahead and winning runs.
Elon was retired in order in the ninth to end the game.
The Phoenix got on the board with a two-run home run by junior Blaine Bower in the third. Junior Casey Jones hit a lead-off solo shot to start the fourth to put Elon up 3-0. Furman got one back on a sacrifice fly in the last of the fourth.
Elon took its biggest advantage of the game when Jones ripped a 3-RBI triple in the fifth. Furman added two in the bottom of the sixth on a single and a sacrifice fly, while junior Chris King brought in a run for Elon on a groundout in the eighth.
Junior Jake Stalzer started on the mound for Elon and went 6.1 innings, surrendering three runs on three hits with five strikeouts.
Elon has one final regular season game, a trip to Liberty University May 13. The SoCon Tournament will begin May 20 in Charleston, S.C.