The Elon University baseball team had a tough 5-1 loss this Wednesday, March 8, at home against East Carolina University.

The Phoenix came off a hot series the past weekend against Quinnipiac University with a three-game sweep against the Bobcats. But, that power and pitching skill did not translate into today’s matchup against the Pirates. 

The Phoenix had a few major issues throughout the game, and head coach Mike Kennedy said the biggest was pitch selection. 

“Right out of the gate we got way too fast and swung on a lot of pitches that were out of the zone,” Kennedy said. “We didn't with pitches that we could’ve done anything with. We did that in the first inning and we never looked back and made adjustments.”

Elon got off to a rough start with its starting pitcher, junior left-hander Cole Reynolds giving up a home run in the top of the first and two runs in the top of the second. Elon’s only run scored came in the fourth off of junior center fielder Justin Cassella’s RBI single, but it would not be enough to get the offense going, as the team was shutout for the remainder of the game.

One player that stood out was freshman second baseman Ryan Sprock. He pitched a strong six innings against Quinnipiac University on March 5, only giving up one run. Today, he started at second and hit fifth in the lineup, where he went 3-4, scoring the Phoenix’s only run, the most hits of the entire lineup. 

Sprock said he has been proud of his performance throughout this season and is looking forward to continued improvement.

“We still have around 40 games left in the season, plus more if we play how we know we can play,” Sprock said. “It’s nice to get my feet wet a little and have a bit of confidence going into that but it’s always something I want to build on every day.”

Relief pitcher graduate student right-hander Joe Sprake and redshirt freshman left-hander Itai Spinoza each gave up one run in their short innings pitched to bring the final score to 5-1 in favor of ECU.

ECU fans showed up for this game at Latham Park in Elon. Folks dressed in purple and gold and Pirate merch packed the stands almost full, and they were quite the rowdy crowd: screaming at umpires, cheering at every good hit and pitch, and doing school chants from beginning to end. But Kennedy said that did not shake his players a bit.

The team has an exciting weekend ahead as it begins its first series against a Colonial Athletic Association team. The Phoenix will take on the Northeastern University Huskies March 10 to 12 at home. Kennedy said a conference game is always a big deal and counts heavily toward the team’s success this season.

“We have a big weekend this weekend and we want to try and have a short memory with this one game,” Kennedy said. “We’ve got to get better defensively, that's no secret. We’ll get to work and keep trying to get better in that area, and if we can clean that up we have a chance to do some really good things this season.”