Written By Elon Sports Information Dept.
GREENVILLE, S.C. -- A furious seventh-inning rally and a ninth-inning door slam from Elon lifted the Phoenix to a 7-6 victory over Georgia Southern and propelled the maroon and gold into the Southern Conference Tournament title game for the third time in its 10 seasons in the league.
Elon (31-28) became the first team to advance to the league title game after dropping its first game of the event since the switch to a two-bracket format in the 2009 season.
Trailing 6-2, the Phoenix stormed back in the top of the seventh, scoring five times to grab a 7-6 lead. With two outs, Alex Swim got the rally started with a single to left-center. A walk to Ryan Kinsella followed before Sebastian Gomez lined a single to left that scored Swim. Casey Jones followed with a single to center to drive home Kinsella to make it a 6-4 contest. The maroon and gold then tied it when Antonio Alvarez doubled to the gap in right-center. He then came home on a Chris King single to right-center to cap the scoring.
Georgia Southern (27-31) tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth. Scooter Williams led it off with an infield single and moved to third when the throw to first on Ben Morgan's bunt single went wide. After Morgan swiped second, Dylan Clark snared a ball back to the mound, looked Williams back to third and tossed to first for out number one.
The Phoenix then chose to intentionally walk T.D. Davis and went to the bullpen for Kyle Webb. Webb got a slow grounder to third from Chase Griffin that was fielded by Danny Lynch.
Lynch fired to the plate and the force out was made just before Williams reached the plate. With the game still in doubt, Stryker Brown laced a liner to center. A hard-charging Gomez lunged forward and made the grab on his way to the ground to seal the victory for the maroon and gold.
Clark, who was making his first appearance since April 26 at Georgia Southern, claimed the win to improve to 6-4. The senior lefty scattered three hits over five scoreless innings. He walked one and struck out six. Webb came on to get the final two outs and pick up his first save of the year.
With runners on first and second with one out in the last of the first, Griffin blooped a single down the left field line that scored Morgan as Georgia Southern took an early 1-0 lead. After a wild pitch advanced both runners, a ground out to first made it a 2-0 Eagle advantage. It became 3-0 when Tyler Avera lined a single to center.
Chris Bresnahan started the Phoenix's half of the third with a ground-rule double to right-center and moved to third on a Wil Leathers single. A wild pitch then allowed Bresnahan to come in with the first run for the maroon and gold.
A leadoff walk for Georgia Southern in the third led to a run as Davis scored from second on a Stryker Brown single through the right side.
With one out in the Elon fourth, Alvarez drew a walk, stole second and headed to third when the throw down went into center field. Alvarez then came in on a double to the gap in left-center off the bat of Tyler McVicar as the Phoenix trimmed its deficit to 4-2.
Once again, Georgia Southern answered Elon's tally. With one out, Williams grounded one just inside the third base bag for a double that plated Kyle Streicher. A Phoenix error allowed Morgan to reach and Williams to score as GSU's lead grew to 6-2.
Taking the loss was Kyle Rowe (4-4) who allowed five runs on six hits in 3.1 innings out of the Eagle pen.
Three Elon players posted two-hit days - Kinsella (2-for-4), Jones (2-for-5) and King (2-for-2).