The Elon University baseball team kicked off its three game home series against the University of North Carolina Asheville Bulldogs with a 6-3 win.

Although the team suffered a 7-1 loss to East Carolina University earlier this week, head coach Mike Kennedy said this four-game step away from Colonial Athletic Association play could be beneficial for the team.  

“Starting conference play has been a little tough, it hasn’t been what they expected,” Kennedy said. “This game allowed them to take a deep breath and relax a little bit.”

Asheville started the game strong, leading 2-0 after the first inning. Redshirt junior second baseman Carlos Marte put Elon on the board in the second, hitting a double to bring home redshirt freshman shortstop Will Vergantino. Freshman left fielder Charlie Granatell tied the game with a single that brought home Marte to finish off the inning. 

After throwing two walks in the second inning, Elon switched starting pitcher Ian Evans for redshirt sophomore Joe Savino, who allowed just three hits in four innings pitched. 

No more runs were put on the board for either team until the bottom of the fourth when sophomore first baseman Cole Reynolds hit a double, stole third base and scored after a single from graduate student third baseman Samuel Frontino to put Elon ahead by one. At the top of the fifth, Asheville responded with two strong hits back-to-back, resulting in a run to tie the game.  

According to Kennedy, Elon planned to slow the game down and play with patience. In the fifth inning, this plan paid off, as with runners on first and second base, sophomore center fielder Justin Cassella hit a home run bringing both runners home, putting Elon ahead 6-3.

Asheville switched to its third pitcher of the game after the Cassella home run. Elon also made a switch from Savino to redshirt sophomore Trevor Kirk to start the sixth inning. 

In the bottom of the seventh, Reynolds earned a walk to get on first base and made it to second after a sacrifice bunt from redshirt sophomore right fielder Alex Iadisernia. Redshirt sophomore catcher Parker Haskin tried to bring Reynolds home but struck out to end the seventh inning. 

The Phoenix brought in sophomore Ben Simon to finish the game on the mound. Simon started off strong, striking out the Bulldogs’ first two batters of the inning and ending the game. With no runs from either team since the fifth inning, Elon ended the game with eight hits compared to Asheville’s seven.

Reynolds said the team’s strong energy helped propel Elon to the win. 

“We had a lot of energy and usually when we have a lot of energy we play really well,” Reynolds said. “We kept that up throughout the game and just kept going off of it.”

Elon will play two more games against Asheville tomorrow. The first will begin at 12 p.m.