HIGH POINT – The Elon University baseball team traveled to High Point Tuesday for a nationally televised, one game interconference meeting. Those watching ESPN+ saw Elon’s comeback heroics in the eighth and ninth innings, which propelled the Phoenix to a 7-3 victory.
Junior Cole Reynolds started for the Phoenix, his first appearance on the mound since giving up seven runs in one-third of an inning in Elon’s 20-0 loss at Wake Forest March 21. The Panthers drew first blood, scoring one in the bottom of the second off redshirt junior first baseman Cole Singsank’s RBI single.
In the top of the third, consecutive Elon batters sent balls to the warning track, and both times watched the High Point outfielders make impressive over the shoulder snags.
“We hit some balls on the button early in the game and had nothing to show for it,” head coach Mike Kennedy said. “We did a good job not panicking and hanging in there. Guys stayed with it.”
In the top of the fourth, sophomore left fielder Charlie Granatell took an inside pitch clear over the left field foul pole, tying the game at one apiece. The next pitch, freshman second baseman Ryan Sprock, did the same, only 30 feet shorter, arriving at second standing up. Fifth year catcher Luke Stephenson then singled to right, loading first and third with no outs. Reynolds hit a warning track sacrifice fly, scoring Sprock and giving Elon the 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, the Panthers answered, as Elon graduate student right-handed pitcher Joe Sprake was tasked with relieving Reynolds. Sophomore pinch hitter Miggy Echazarreta started the Panthers offense, lining an RBI single to left. Two batters later, the umpires called Sprake for a balk, scoring the go-ahead run for High Point.
The Panthers maintained that 3-2 lead all the way to the eighth inning. After two quick Elon outs, Granatell singled, putting the go-ahead run Sprock at the plate.
“I really just wanted to keep the momentum going only down one,” Sprock said. “Looking for something I could get on base with.”
Three pitches later, Sprock crushed an inside fastball over right center short fence, silencing the ballpark and drawing a roar from his teammates. The home run marked the sixth of the year for Sprock, and Kennedy said he has been proud of his performances this season.
“Sprock is so clutch. I can’t say enough about how he delivers in those big moments,” Kennedy said.
The Phoenix tacked on three more runs, scoring five in the last two innings to propel Elon to victory. As seems to be the story all season, the team stayed in it despite facing a deficit and mounted a comeback.
Sprock credited the team’s positive mindset, setting the Phoenix up for immense success.
“We have a lot of confidence in our ability,” Sprock said. “We feel like we can hang with anyone.”
The Phoenix, which has won 15 of the last 20 matches, sit atop the Colonial Athletic Association standings, one game ahead of University of North Carolina, Wilmington, with approximately six weeks of regular season play remaining. Next, the Phoenix travels to Williamsburg for a weekend series against William & Mary. The first of the three-game series will be Friday at 6 p.m.