ELON, N.C. – Behind the best outing of the season so far from rookie Walker Barbee, the Elon University softball team earned its third straight win overall as the Phoenix defeated Triad rival UNCG, 7-2, on Wednesday evening, April 19, at Hunt Softball Park.
The win for the Phoenix (29-15) was the third out four meetings this season against the Spartans (23-19). It was also the fourth victory out of the last five for Elon against its longtime I-40 foe in the 77th meeting all-time between the two programs.
At the Plate: Barbee had two of Elon’s eight hits on the day, going 2-for-4 at the plate…The Oakboro, N.C., native also drove in three RBI and added a run to her stat line…Senior Alaina Hall also plated two hits (2-for-3), one of them being a homerun, her second of the season…Hall also scored a team-high three runs…Hannah Olson was 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles…Emily Roper also had a pair of RBI for the Phoenix.
In the Circle: Fellow rookie Kenna Quinn (11-4) was credited with the win in relief after pitching 4.0 innings while giving up four hits and two runs with a pair of strikeouts…Starter Kiandra Mitchum pitched 3.0 scoreless frames and allowed one hit with three strikeouts…Mitchum now has 154 strikeouts on the season, tying her for the second-best single-season performance in school history with Donna Leigh (1990-93) in 1990.
The Rundown: The scoring started in the bottom of the second inning. Erica Serafini reached on a leadoff single and advanced to second with two outs on a sacrifice bunt. Roper then singled up the middle to drive her in and gave the Phoenix a 1-0 lead.
Elon added to its lead in the bottom of the third. Olson doubled to open the inning and moved to third on Hall’s bunt single. Olson however would be called out in a rundown between third and home, but it enabled Hall to advance to third with one out. Barbee took advantage and singled through the left side, scoring Hall and moving Elon ahead 2-0.
UNCG had an answer though in the top of the fourth. Quinn came on in relief of Mitchum to start the inning and induced the first out on a grounder. The Spartans came right back on the next at bat with a solo homerun to left field by Marisa Sholtes. The round-tripper cut into the Phoenix’s lead as UNCG continued to threaten in the frame with two more runners reaching with one out. Quinn recovered and set down the next two batters to escape the jam.
The Phoenix would have the momentum swing back in its favor in the bottom of the fifth after a couple of Spartans’ miscues. Elon put up a four-spot in the frame including a two-RBI single for Barbee and a pair of bases-loaded walks. The trips to the dish increased the maroon and gold’s lead to five, 6-1.
Hall added an insurance run for the Phoenix in the sixth. The Suwanee, Ga., native belted her second homerun of the season on a solo blast over the right center wall.
UNCG added a run in the top half of the seventh, but could not get any closer as the Phoenix ended its five-game homestand with the 7-2 victory.
Elon is back in Colonial Athletic Association action as the Phoenix heads north to face Hofstra this weekend, April 22-23. First pitch of the series is slated for Saturday, April 22, at 2 p.m., in the beginning of a twin bill.