The Elon University baseball team struggled to regain momentum after beating the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks during game one. The Phoenix cut the second game close, losing the nine-inning game 7-6. The team has an overall record of 21-10, snapping the four-game winning streak.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Ryan Sprock began on the mound for the Phoenix, pitching three up and three down in the first inning. The offense responded to Sprock's quick momentum as sophomore left fielder Charlie Granatell hit a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. Junior first baseman Cole Reynolds followed Granatell's hit with his own single, advancing Granatell from first to third. Redshirt junior second baseman Tanner Holliman reached by catcher’s interference, loading the bases for junior center fielder Justin Cassella, who could not cash in any runs.
Head coach Mike Kennedy said everything was different comparing the two games.
"We didn't do anything good," Kennedy said. "We didn't execute. They gave us opportunities, but we couldn't follow through."
During the top of the second inning, Sprock gave up a leadoff solo home run to the Seahawks, putting them first on the board. Following the homerun was a hard-hit single, but the Phoenix got out of the inning with limited damage.
Junior shortstop James Broderick stepped up to the plate during the bottom of the second with two outs and responded with a solo home run of his own, tying the game 1-1.
"It felt good," Broderick said. "I've been making some adjustments to my swing, and it worked well today."
During the top of the third, the leadoff batter for the Seahawks hit a double, then scored after another double was hit off of the following Seahawks’ bat, leading 2-1. Sprock got out of the third inning clean.
Answering back the Seahawk's 2-1 lead, Reynolds stepped to the plate and crushed a solo home run, tying the game 2-2. Holliman then hit a ground ball single but was left stranded. Kennedy said he was frustrated as the Phoenix left nine runners on base throughout the game.
"We were lifeless. We had zero energy," Kennedy said.
The Seahawks led off the top of the fourth with another solo home run making it a score of 3-2, as the Phoenix made a pitching change. Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Joe Savino pitched at the end of the fourth without having the Seahawks tack on another run.
The Phoenix got off to a hot start in the bottom of the fifth. Fifth year catcher Luke Stephenson crushed a double with Sprock on first, advancing him to third. Cassella worked back in the count to walk, loading the bases for junior pinch hitter Connor Offshack. The tying run was forced in as Offshack walked.
Redshirt junior third baseman Connor Coolahan beat out an infield ground ball where the error resulted in the Phoenix leading for the first time 4-3. With the bases still loaded and two outs, a wild pitch scored one more, extending the Phoenix's lead to 5-3.
Responding to the Phoenix's offense, the Seahawks added one more during the top of the sixth, making the score 5-4. In the top of the eighth inning, the Seahawks gained offensive dominance, scoring three runs off of two home runs, taking the lead 7-5. Kennedy said watching the lead slip away was difficult after a strong stretch of games.
"It is disappointing because we've been playing well," Kennedy said. "Bad counts, not executing pitches, and we were behind quite a bit."
Broderick said the team should have run with the momentum it had in the first game.
"We didn't totally connect throughout the game," Broderick said. "We didn't put our best at-bats together."
The Phoenix scored one more during the bottom of the ninth to make it 7-6 due to Holliman’s RBI single, but could not surpass the Seahawks.
"We didn't string it together as best as we could today," Broderick said.
The Phoenix will return on the road, traveling to High Point University to face the Panthers April 11.
"We will bounce back: me and the rest of the team on Tuesday," Broderick said.