After an 18-5 victory yesterday, the Elon University baseball team looked to take the series against the Stony Brook Seawolves. Unable to recreate the same power, the Phoenix fell 8-5, losing its second straight series to a Colonial Athletic Association opponent.
Head coach Mike Kennedy said he was frustrated with the inconsistency the team has been dealing with.
“We have some good at bats, some bad at bats, we win some games and we lose some games,” Kennedy said. “We’re just not consistent, and offensively it was the same thing today.”
The starting pitcher for the Phoenix was freshman right-hander Ryan Sprock, in his shortest outing all season. Sprock retired the first batter he faced on five pitches, but then gave up a first inning home run which gave Stony Brook an early 1-0 lead.
Sprock worked into and out of trouble following the home run, but he continued to struggle on the mound, giving up two more runs in the top of the second, both with two outs.
In the top of the third inning after giving up a lead off single, Kennedy turned to his bullpen, bringing in redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Joe Savino. He retired the next three batters in order to end the inning.
Kennedy said he was impressed with his performance, prior to the trouble he got into during the seventh.
“He was super efficient, filling up the zone, executing pitches,” Kennedy said.
Elon’s first hit of the day came from junior center fielder Justin Cassella, which sailed over the fence in deep left center field, cutting the lead down to 3-1. A hit and an error would put runners at first and second, but a double play would end the inning.
The Phoenix began to find some cracks in Stony Brook’s pitching after a walk, hit and another walk loaded the bases, but all runners were stranded ending the fourth inning, something Kennedy said needs to improve.
“We’ve got to do a much better job earlier in the game with guys on base,” Kennedy said. “There’s times when we want to be big and try to get a good swing up, but there’s times you’ve just got to get a ball in play.”
In the bottom of the sixth, Elon was able to capitalize on Stony Brook’s bullpen and defensive woes, as sophomore right fielder Charlie Granatell would reach on an error and then come around to score on another error. Cassella hit an RBI double down the left field line, tying the game at three apiece and advancing to third on the play at the plate.
“I was hoping that guy from first would score, but I was thinking I gotta get to two on there,” Cassella said. “But they made that throw home to try and get that runner, and I was able to advance to third.”
Junior shortstop James Broderick hit a weak sacrifice ground ball back up to the mound which allowed Cassella to score from third, giving the Phoenix its first lead of the day.
Beginning the seventh, Savino gave up four straight hits allowing two runs to score as the Seawolves regained its prior lead. Junior left-handed pitcher Liam Dabagian would come in to get through the seventh, but gave up a run and made the score 7-4.
The top of the eighth began with two quick outs for Dabagian, but three straight hits and a single run scored, making the Phoenix down by four going into the bottom of the eighth.
After attempting to bunt to lead off the inning, Cassella hammered his second home run of the day right into the batter's eye in center field to cut the run deficit to three. This marked his tenth of the season, which he now leads the team with.
“That first guy, we knew he was attacking us with fastballs,” Cassella said. "Got up there, first ball up, fastball, so it got me on time. The next one was just a good pitch to hit, so it got me on time for that.”
After an infield single by junior first baseman Cole Reynolds, the Phoenix was retired in order to end the game 8-5, earning the series loss.
The Phoenix will look to take on No. 11 Campbell at Latham Park April 26 at 6 p.m.