GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Elon University baseball team’s offensive woes continued, scoring just one run in a 4-1 defeat at University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
After a perfect first inning by both junior right-handed pitcher Ben Sieracki and UNCG junior right-handed pitcher Caleb Cozart, the Phoenix earned runners on first and second in the top of the second, but a pair of strikeouts — one looking and one swinging — quieted its scoring threat. In the bottom of the inning, UNCG junior right fielder and cleanup hitter Dosi Jonas piped a ball to the right-center warning track, reaching second standing up. One groundout later, a sacrifice fly by UNCG junior first baseman GC Jarman gave the Spartans the early 1-0 advantage.
Following a UNC walk and single in the third, Elon’s head coach Mike Kennedy elected to pull Sieracki for redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Joe Savino. Savino, entering the game with runners on first and third with one out, watched UNCG redshirt junior catcher Mitchell Smith pull a double down the third base line, clearing the bases and bringing the score to 3-0.
After Savino retired three straight batters to close the fifth, the Phoenix caught a second wind. Junior pinch hitter Justin Cassella led off and singled to right, stole second, reached third on a flyout and scored on a sacrifice groundout by junior left fielder Connor Offshack. Unfortunately for the Phoenix, Cassella would be the first and last run scored.
Kennedy said he was disappointed in the at-bats strung together by the Phoenix.
“Almost like the game has sped up on us a little bit,” said coach Kennedy. “Especially offensively, we’re swinging at bad pitches and pitches out of the zone. Not making any in-game adjustments at the plate.”
After working to grind out a run in the top of the inning, the first pitch Savino threw in the bottom of the sixth to UNCG sophomore third baseman Rowan Watt was cranked over the Bojangles sign in left field. The bad luck continued for Elon, as a comebacker to redshirt junior left-handed pitcher Liam Dabagian ricocheted into short left field, putting runners at second and third. Fortunately, Dabagian trusted his defense, and Cassella chased down a fly ball to end the inning.
“Made some plays defensively,” Kennedy said. “Offensively we’re just not in sync right now.”
The UNCG Spartans took the lead early and cruised, shutting down the Elon offensive efforts on the way to a 4-1 victory. However, the Phoenix are not demoralized.
Junior first baseman Cole Reynolds, who had two of the team’s six hits, said he’s hoping for the team to make a turnaround over its next series.
“It’s pretty frustrating but we're not gonna let it affect our next series,” Reynolds said.”I know we can get back. I’ve seen this team at its best and I’m pretty confident we're gonna turn it around quick.”
The Phoenix look forward to their weekend series at home against Quinnipiac University. The first game of the three game set is at 4 p.m. Friday.