Elon Strikes Early and Holds on to Defeat The Citadel and Win Series
Charleston, S.C. – Elon struck for seven runs in the first two innings and held on for an 8-6 victory over The Citadel on Sunday at Riley Park to take the Southern Conference series two games to one.
The Phoenix improved to 20-13 and took over first place in the conference standings over the weekend with a 12-6 league mark. The Citadel dropped to 17-16 and 6-6 in the SoCon.
Elon scored six times in the second inning to wipe out an early 2-1 Bulldog lead, and the bullpen duo of Andrew MacDonald and Nate Young combined for four shutout innings after The Citadel pulled within 8-6 in the fifth.
Skylar Hunter, normally The Citadel's closer, came in to start the fifth with Elon leading 8-4 and worked a season-high 4 2/3 innings, limiting the Phoenix to three hits and no runs while striking out four, giving the Bulldogs a chance to steal a come-from-behind victory.
After falling behind 1-0 in the top of the first, the Bulldogs went ahead in their half of the frame on a two-run double by Drew DeKerlegand. But seven hits and three errors resulted in the big Elon second inning against starter Austin Mason and reliever James Reeves and sent the Phoenix on their way to a ninth win in the past 10 games against The Citadel.
Chris Bresnahan had a two-run triple and Casey Jones and Sebastian Gomez added RBI doubles to stake Elon to its 7-2 cushion.
The Bulldogs quickly trimmed their deficit to 7-4 in the bottom of the second on a two-out, two-run single by Joe Jackson, giving The Citadel catcher a team-leading total of 34 RBI on the season.
After a run-scoring double by Ryan Kinsella in the fourth boosted the Elon lead to 8-4, the Bulldogs continued their comeback effort in the fifth. The Citadel loaded the bases with one out against Phoenix starter Spencer Medick, and Johnathan Stokes walked and Jason Smith had a pinch hit sacrifice fly to make it a two-run game.
Medick, who entered the game tied for the SoCon lead with a 1.76 ERA, battled through five innings, allowing seven hits and all six runs (four earned) with three walks and four strikeouts to move his record to 5-1 on the year.
Andrew MacDonald, who picked up the save in Elon's win on Friday in the series opener, came in to relieve in the sixth and turned in 3 1/3 innings of two-hit shutout ball. He pitched out of a two-on jam in the sixth before retiring six of seven batters the next two frames.
Bo Thompson walked to start the ninth and DeKerlegand singled with one out, his third hit of the game. Elon closer Nate Young took over on the mound and got Stokes to fly out to left and pinch hitter Brett Bullard to pop out to second to gain his seventh save of the season.
Thompson walked three times in the game and added a single, extending his streak of reaching base to 32 straight games. Hughston Armstrong went 0-for-3 to snap his career-long 10-game hitting streak.
Alex Swim had four hits to lead a 16-hit Elon attack.
The Bulldogs are back in action Tuesday at 7 p.m. against No. 12 South Carolina in Columbia. The Citadel will be looking to even the season series after the Gamecocks took a 9-5 decision at Riley Park on March 19.