Elon University’s softball team won two games on Feb. 12, defeating both the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Jaguars and the Saint Francis Red Flash to become 3-0 on the season.
Just like in the game on Friday against IUPUI, the Phoenix wasted no time offensively. In the first inning against the Jaguars, junior leadoff hitter Megan Grant scored off of a sacrifice fly from senior catcher Megan White. Two batters later, with senior outfielder Rebecca Murray on third, senior infielder Keagan Goldwait stole second. An error in the next at-bat by the IUPUI shortstop allowed Murray to score, giving Elon a two run lead headed into the second inning.
The Elon pitching staff kept the Jaguars at bay, allowing only two runs. Redshirt senior McKenzie Weber plated the final five innings, allowing just four hits.
In the fourth inning, the Jaguars finally got on the board, closing the gap to two. However, in the bottom of the inning, the Phoenix answered with a run of its own off of another sacrifice fly.
In the bottom of the seventh, IUPUI was looking to stage a comeback. With one out, a single up the middle scored one run. IUPUI trailed by two runs with two outs to go. A walk and a passed ball put two IUPUI runners in scoring position, with the tying run on second. However, Weber forced two straight groundouts to get out of the jam and end the game, as the Phoenix won 4-2.
The second game was no cakewalk for the Phoenix. The Saint Francis Red Flash have won four straight Northeastern conference championships and are heavily favored to capture their fifth.
In the bottom of the first, Elon had an opportunity to continue its trend of scoring early with the bases loaded and two outs, but freshman left fielder Kaitlyn Wells grounded out to first to end the inning.
Saint Francis struck first, when Rachel Mardsen of the Red Flash hit a home run down the left field line. A double followed, but freshman pitcher Taylor Cherry was able to limit the damage and get out of the inning with just one run allowed.
Despite Elon having zero hits through the first four innings, Cherry kept the Phoenix in it, not allowing another run after the second inning.
Head coach Kathy Bocock said she was impressed by the play of her freshman pitcher for the second straight day.
“She is a competitor,” Bocock said. “She’s been in these moments in high school winning the state championship. The girls feel confident with her there and we knew she could do it.”
Cherry’s efforts did not go unanswered by Elon’s offense, as following a walk in the bottom of the fifth inning, sophomore infielder Gabi Schaal hit a two run home run to left field to put the Phoenix ahead 2-1.
Inspired by the teams first hit, Murray singled, then stole second. Goldwait singled up the middle, scoring Murray to give Elon a 3-1 lead.
Saint Francis added a run in the top of the seventh inning but could not tie the score, as Cherry ended the game with her eighth strikeout to give Elon a 3-2 win.
Elon looks to stay undefeated Sunday against the Appalachian State University Mountaineers. The game at Hunt Park will begin at approximately 2:30 p.m.