The Elon University baseball team was unable to break the tie in its weekend series against the University of Kentucky, as the Phoenix fell 4-0 to the Wildcats in the last game of the series on Sunday. After a 2-0 shutout win Feb. 17, the Phoenix couldn’t keep the momentum going through the weekend. The Wildcats turned the tables on the Phoenix and went on to win Feb. 18 5-1.
Offensive struggles occurred all weekend, with only three runs being scored all weekend compared to the Wildcats’ nine. Head coach Mike Kennedy said he is hoping to wipe away these issues in the next couple of series.
“Opening weekend offensively was a huge struggle for us,” Kennedy said. “We knew it might be a challenge.”
Freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Sprock had a rough start for the Phoenix, pitching a single RBI to Wildcat sophomore second baseman Emilien Pitre, bringing home sophomore left fielder Ryan Waldschmidt in the first inning. However, one comfortable Sprock shutout the Wildcats for three innings straight.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Sam DiLella was brought in at the top of the fifth inning when Wildcat redshirt sophomore catcher Devin Burkes hit an opposite field home run. The RBI brought home Waldschmidt again making the score 3-0. The Phoenix, still not on the board, struggled offensively and got shut out by double plays from the Wildcats.
“You’re playing an SEC school that has good arms and good stuff, so I’m not gonna hit the panic button by any means,” Kennedy said. “We just might have to play some different baseball.”
A Phoenix error at the top of the eighth by junior right-handed pitcher Ben Sieracki got redshirt senior first baseman Hunter Gilliam to third, to then be brought home on an RBI single by senior center fielder Jackson Gray. The Phoenix tried to recover with some last minute hits from junior first baseman Cole Reynolds and redshirt junior third baseman Connor Coolahan in the bottom of the eighth and ninth,but each was left stranded on the basepaths.The Phoenix ended the game 4-0.
Looking into next weekend's series against Akron, Kennedy said he has faith that the team will improve.
“I think the biggest thing we’ll take from it is we’re going to be competitive on the mound,” Kennedy said. “I think we’re going to play pretty good defense, we did that all weekend.”
The Phoenix will travel to face Gardner-Webb University Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. and return to Latham Park to face the University of Akron Zips Feb. 25 at 4 p.m.