Elon bunched together 11 runs on 11 hits over the fifth and sixth innings and went on to post a 14-7 victory over The Citadel in the opening game of Sunday's doubleheader at Latham Park.
The Phoenix (16-10, 5-3 SoCon) clinched the weekend series and defeated the Bulldogs for the 12th time in the last 13 meetings. The Citadel dropped to 1-7 in the SoCon for the first time in school history and is 12-16 overall.
Elon broke a scoreless tie when Tyler McVicar hit a solo home run off James Reeves to lead off the fourth, and five hits and two errors resulted in a six-run fifth that gave the Phoenix a seven-run cushion.
Reeves left after facing the first three batters of the fifth and was responsible for a total of four runs and seven hits while striking out four in his shortest outing of the season. The junior lefty had worked 14.1 innings with one walk and 22 strikeouts in his last two starts against Davidson and Samford.
The Citadel appeared poised to get back in the game with a four-run sixth that was highlighted by a two-run homer by Tyler Griffin, his fourth of the season. The round tripper was the 21st of his career, moving the senior right fielder into a tie for 15th in school history.
As quickly as the Bulldogs inched closer, Elon blew the game open again, scoring five times in its half of the sixth to make it 12-4. Johnathan Stokes cleared the bases with a three-run double in the top of the eighth to give The Citadel a ray of hope before Elon tacked on two more in the bottom of the frame.
The 14 runs are a season high by a Bulldog opponent and the 19 hits tied a season-high against The Citadel pitching staff.
Bo Thompson led a 12-hit Citadel attack with three singles while Griffin and Ryan Kilgallen both had two. Ryan Cooper had four hits and three RBI for the Phoenix, and eight Elon batters had at least two hits, nine scored runs and eight recorded RBIs.
Elon closer Ryan Pennell stranded the tying run at second in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth to preserve a 4-3 Phoenix victory and a sweep of Sunday's doubleheader and the Southern Conference series at Latham Park.
Drew DeKerlegand doubled to lead off the eighth against Matt Harris. Bailey Rush hit a rope right at Elon first baseman Tyler McVicar and Connor Walsh flied out. Pennell entered the game and induced a fly out to left by Hughston Armstrong and worked a quick ninth for his seventh save of the year, the most in the SoCon.
The Bulldogs dropped to 12-17 and 1-8 in the SoCon while the Phoenix is 17-10 and 6-3. Elon has won 13 of the last 14 meetings in the series and swept The Citadel for the third time in the past four years.
The Citadel tied the game at 1 in the second on a sacrifice fly by Stephen Windham, his first career RBI, and again at 2 in the sixth when Bret Hines doubled down the left field line to bring home Tyler Griffin.
The Phoenix finally took the lead for good against reliever Zach Sherrill in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run by Chris King and a run-scoring single by Andy Moore. Mason Davis doubled and scored in the seventh, but The Citadel could get no closer.
Sherrill took the loss, his first of the season in four decisions. The appearance was the 95th of his career, moving the junior right hander into sole possession of sixth place in school history, one more than Justin Smith.
Austin Mason started for the Bulldogs and went the first five innings in his longest outing of the season. He allowed five hits and the first two Elon runs, including a home run by Casey Jones in the first and an RBI single by Ryan Cooper in the third.
Jones had five hits in the series with two home runs and seven RBI. The Phoenix had 37 hits in the series including 19 in Sunday's first game which Elon won 14-7. The Bulldogs knocked out 29 hits but stranded 29 runners over the three-game set.
Jake Stalzer went the first six innings for Elon and picked up his fourth win of the season, allowing seven hits and three runs.
The Citadel travels to Ticketreturn.com Field at Pelicans Park in Myrtle Beach to take on Coastal Carolina Tuesday and plays its next SoCon series beginning Friday against Georgia Southern at Riley Park.