ELON, N.C. – Austin Pritcher struck out five Elon batters over eight innings, but the Phoenix capitalized on two Citadel errors and handed the Bulldogs a 2-1 defeat in their Southern Conference series opener Wednesday evening at Latham Park. The loss drops the Bulldogs to 24-29 overall and 13-15 in the league.
Pritcher tossed his second complete game of the season, suffering the hard-luck defeat to fall to 6-5 on the season. The junior scattered five hits and walked three, allowing two unearned runs to drop his ERA to 2.95. Nick Orvin led the Bulldogs with two of the team's four hits. Grant Richards had the lone RBI in the game.
Dylan Clark was solid on the mound for Elon, completing a fantastic pitcher's duel with Pritcher for the fans in attendance. Clark went 8.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts and walking none to improve to 9-3. Nate Young recorded the final two outs for his ninth save. Quinn Bower had two hits, including the game-winning RBI for the Phoenix.
Elon (29-24, 18-10) scored first, tallying an unearned run in the third after a throwing error extended the inning. Chris Bresnahan opened the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Eric Serra. After a fly out to shallow center by Quinn Bower, Sebastian Gomez chopped a grounder to third, but the throw to first from Bailey Rush was low into the turf and skipped past Bo Thompson, allowing Bresnahan to score on the error.
The Bulldogs knotted the game with a single run in the fifth. Joe Jackson led off with an infield single and Bo Thompson's single to shallow right moved Jackson along to second. A sacrifice bunt by Tyler Griffin put both runners into scoring position and Richards lifted a 0-1 pitch from Clark into left for a sacrifice fly that plated Jackson for the 1-1 score.
The Phoenix picked up the eventual winning run in the bottom of the fifth. With one down, Serra reached on a fielder's choice bunt and advanced to second on a throwing error by Pritcher during a pickoff attempt to first. Bower followed with a two-out RBI single to right that brought in Serra from second for Elon's second unearned run of the game.
After a series opener at was played in one hour and fifty-two minutes, the first sub-two hour game of the season for the Bulldogs, the two teams meet for game two on Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
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