GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNC Greensboro scored seven runs in the fourth inning to take a 9-7 lead, but Elon rallied for 10 runs in the seventh and eighth innings combined to rally and defeat the Spartans, 17-10, on Friday evening at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
Although the two starting pitchers combined to allow 16 runs, neither of them factored into a decision. Reliever Ken Ferrer picked up the win for the Phoenix (17-10, 6-4 Southern Conference) after pitching 3 1/3 innings and allowing just one run on one hit.
Greg Smith was credited with the loss for the Spartans (13-13, 1-7 SoCon) after allowing three runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings.
The two teams scored early and often as all nine starters for UNCG scored at least one run and seven of them recorded an RBI. Eight of the nine starters for Elon scored a run and recorded at least one RBI.
Kris Richards went 2-4 at the plate with a run scored to extended his hitting streak to a team-high eight games this season. Ed Jayjack and Lloyd Enzor also added two hits apiece, while Ray Quinones knocked in a pair of runs.
Mike Melillo paced the Phoenix at the plate as he went 4-4 with five RBI and two runs scored. Harry Austin also had a nice evening by going 2-3 with three RBI and a run scored.
With UNCG holding on to a 10-7 lead through six innings, Elon was able to battle back and knot the game at 10 in the top of the seventh. Neal Pritchard led off the inning with a walk and then scored as Matt Hinson delivered a double to right center to make it a two-run game. That was one of nine doubles that the Phoenix recorded on the night.
Seth Canipe then drew a walk and two batters later Austin hit a triple into the right field corner that allowed two runners to score and tie the game at 10.
After UNCG went down in order in the bottom of the seventh, the Phoenix exploded for seven runs in the top of the eighth to put the game away. Melillo walked to begin the inning and Pritchard followed with a home run to left field two batters later to give Elon the lead, 12-10.
With two outs in the inning, Elon strung together five hits, including three for extra bases, sandwiched around a walk to put up five more runs and take a 17-10 lead.
The Phoenix got the scoring started in the top of the first inning when Melillo singled to center field with two outs. Ryan Adams followed with a double off the batter's eye in center field to score Melillo and give the Phoenix the early 1-0 lead.
Elon continued to add to that lead in the top of the second inning as they pushed four more runs across the plate. Hinson led off the inning with a double and then Canipe reached on a throwing error that allowed Hinson to score. Ben Scott then hit a double of his own down the left field line to score Canipe. Scott scored later in the inning on a double by Justin Hilt to make it 5-0 in favor of Elon.
The Spartans finally got on the board in the bottom of the second inning on an error by Elon. Jayjack reached on a fielder's choice and stole second with two outs before Zach Leach popped up a ball to the Phoenix second baseman who dropped it and allowed Jayjack to score.
UNCG made it a 5-2 game in the third inning as Richards led off the inning with a double to the gap in right center. He scored later in the inning on double down the right field line by Corey Overholtzer.
Elon responded though in the top of the fourth inning with a pair of runs to take a 7-2 lead. Hilt singled to left field with one out and then moved over to third on a double by Alex Swim. Melillo followed with a double to right center that scored Hilt and Swim.
The Spartans opened up the offense in the fourth inning as they sent 11 batters to the plate and exploded for seven runs to take a 9-7 lead. Jayjack, Enzor and Leach led off the inning with back-to-back-to-back doubles to score one run and put runners on second and third.
Eric Brindle then hit a sacrifice fly to score Enzor and more Leach to third. After a Spartan strikeout, Harry Slade singled to center field to allow Leach to score and make it a 7-5 game.
Drew Gehringer then drew a walk and Overholtzer followed with a walk of his own to load the bases. Quinones stepped up to the plate and delivered a single to score Slade and Gehringer and put runners on second and third and tie the game at seven.
Jayjack then had an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error that allowed Overholtzer and Quinones to score to give UNCG its first lead of the evening at 9-7.
UNCG tacked on one more run in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 10-7 lead for the home side. With one out, Brindle was hit by a pitch and Richards followed with a single through the right side to put two runners on base. Slade then drew a walk to load the bases before UNCG hit into a fielder's choice, which allowed Brindle to score.
The Spartans and Phoenix will return to action for game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m.
Elon 17, UNC Greensboro 10
Elon................ 140 200 370 - 17 20 3 (17-10, 6-4)
UNC Greensboro...... 011 710 000 - 10 10 2 (13-13, 1-7)
Pitchers: Elon - Jimmy Reyes; Ken Ferrer(4); Greg Amorosso(8); John Brebbia(9) and Mike Melillo. UNC Greensboro - Colby Hyatt; Blake Hassebrock(6); Greg Smith(7); Wes McBride(8) and Ed Jayjack.
Win-Ken Ferrer (4-1) Loss-Greg Smith (4-1) T-3:21 A-463
HR ELON - Neal Pritchard.
Weather: 83 and clear skies
Hassebrock faced 2 batters in the 7th.
- UNCG -