Prior to Friday’s game between the Elon University softball team and the Michigan State University Spartans at Hunt Park, the teams shared a moment of silence to recognize the Feb. 13 shooting on the campus of Michigan State in which three students were killed. 

This was Michigan State’s first contest since the shooting. On the game’s second pitch, Michigan State freshman right fielder Mandy Esman hit a home run to left field. As Esman rounded the bases and touched home plate, the Spartans dugout emptied as her teammates surrounded her to celebrate. 

The home run set the tone for Michigan State, who went on to defeat the Phoenix 7-0. Elon kept the score 1-0 until the fourth inning but the Spartans added two more runs in the top of the fourth and three more in the top of the fifth. Michigan State outhit Elon 11-1 for the game, with the only hit coming from sophomore third baseman Allee Seering in the bottom of the second. 

Sophomore pitcher Taylor Cherry started for Elon, allowing four hits and three earned runs. Junior Meredith Wells and freshman Michaela Hobson finished the game for the Phoenix, with Wells allowing the game’s final four runs. 

The loss came after a 3-1 win against Fordham University earlier in the day. Sophomore pitcher McKenna McCard started for Elon and got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the first inning to keep the Rams off the scoreboard.

The Phoenix loaded the bases twice in the first four innings itself but could not score a run. Fordham finally broke the scoreless tie in the top of the fifth with a run against senior pitcher Kaitlin King, who relieved McCard in the fifth. 

Elon wasted little time responding, as Seering launched a home run to left field to tie the game at 1-1. Senior first baseman Claudia Penny gave the Phoenix its first lead of the game later in the inning with an RBI single that scored senior shortstop Bella Devesa

After a lead-off walk by Fordham in the top of the sixth, Wells entered to relieve King. The Rams singled on Wells’ first at-bat but grounded into a double-play in the plate appearance. Wells ended the inning with a pop-up out. 

Elon added another run in the bottom of the frame as sophomore left fielder Reagan Hartley scored on a throwing error by the Rams. Wells allowed one hit in the top of the seventh but secured the final two outs without allowing another base runner to secure the 3-1 Phoenix win. 

The Phoenix outhit the Rams 10-4 and had four players register multiple hits. The 10 hits were just one short of the team’s season-high 11 which came Feb. 15 against the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. 

Elon continues the Elon Softball Phoenix Invitational tomorrow with a game against Saint Francis University at noon.