CHARLESTON, SC - Elon banged out 18 hits including five in a decisive six-run fifth in a 12-3 victory over The Citadel in the opener of a three-game series Friday evening at Riley Park.
Game two of the series is Saturday at 2 p.m. and the finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games can be watched free of charge on the SoCon Digital Network.
In addition to its work at the plate, the Phoenix (7-3) got seven innings of four-hit pitching from Matt Harris to defeat the Bulldogs (5-7) for the 14th time in the past 16 meetings between the former Southern Conference rivals. Harris allowed only one run and struck out seven.
JP Sears started for the Bulldogs and allowed six hits and four runs (three earned) with seven punch outs in his four innings of work. Elon reached the freshman left-hander for a two-run single by Joey Tomko in the third and a single by All-America candidate Casey Jones which plated two more in the fourth.
The Phoenix then put the game on ice with its big fifth inning, aided by three Citadel errors. Quinn Bower had an RBI single, and Kory Shumate knocked in two more as Elon pulled away. Bower had four hits and scored three times, and Jones reached base all six times with three hits and three walks.
Jacob Watcher made his debut on the mound for The Citadel and proved to be a bright spot for the Bulldogs. The freshman righty pitched the sixth and seventh innings and got five of his six outs via the strikeout, allowing only two hits and no runs along the way.
In all, Bulldog pitchers struck out 14 Elon batters with Thomas Byelick contributing a pair while working the eighth.