ELON, N.C. – Designated hitter Tyler McVicar homered twice for Elon University (20-16) as the Phoenix pounded out 18 base hits while handing the Tigers (17-17) a 17-9 non-conference loss at Lathan Park on Friday evening in the opening game of their three-game weekend series.
Elon scored in every inning as the Phoenix snapped the Tigers’ three-game winning streak.
The Tigers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning against ace lefthander Dylan Clark. With one out, sophomore second baseman Pat Fitzgerald singled and sophomore leftfielder Kurt Wertz drew a walk. Junior Kurtis Voytell gave the Tigers a lead with a two-out double to right centerfield.
In the bottom of the first, Elon rallied to cut the deficit in half. With two outs, junior catcher Ryan Kinsella drew a walk off junior righthander Sean Bertrand. Third baseman Garrett Koster drove him home with a double to left field before Bertrand pitched out of the inning.
In the second inning, the Phoenix rallied for four runs to take a 5-2 lead. McVicar led off the inning with a solo home run, tying the game at 2-2. Second baseman Sebastian Gomez reached on a double error by third baseman Ryne Willard. With two outs, rightfielder Alex Swim singled to centerfield, driving in Gomez with the go-ahead run. Singles by Kinsella and Koster loaded the bases for leftfielder Jake Luce. When he singled to left, two runs scored and Elon owned a 5-2 advantage. Bertrand finally retired the side when Casey Jones grounded out.
In the bottom of the third, Elon added two more runs. For the second inning in a row, McVicar led off the inning with a solo home run. Centerfielder Quinn Bower followed with a triple to right center. Bower scored to give Elon a 7-2 advantage when shortstop Chris Bresnahan grounded out to shortstop.
Elon made it an 8-2 game in the fourth inning when Koster led off with a double. He scored when Jones grounded out to third base.
The Tigers cut their deficit to 8-3 in the fifth as sophomore shortstop Hunter Bennett singled and freshman Brendan Butler walked. Fitzgerald’s single to right loaded the bases with one out. Sophomore rightfielder Dominic Fratantuono drew a bases-loaded walk as Bennett scored. But, Clark struck out Wertz and retired Willard on a fly ball to left.
In the last of the fifth, Bresnahan singled with one out before Gomez walked. Freshman righthander Richie Blosser was called on to relieve Bertrand. Making his first pitching appearance of the season, Blosser walked the first two batters he faced. A walk to Swim loaded the bases before Kinsella drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk. After Blosser struck out Koster, Luce singled to drive in another run. A bases loaded walk to Jones plated another run to give Elon an 11-3 lead.
Trailing 11-3 in the sixth inning, the Tigers rallied for four runs to pull within 11-7.
With one out, freshman Peter Bowles singled to left center field. After Bennett grounded out, Grant Fisher relieved Clark. Senior centerfielder Ben Winter greeted Fisher with a two-run homer down the rightfield line. Freshman first baseman Brendan Butler and Fitzgerald were both hit by a pitch, putting two runners on base. Fratantuono followed with a two-run triple to rightcenter field, cutting the deficit to 11-7. John Antonelli came in to relieve Fisher and retired Wertz on a ground ball to third base.
The Phoenix added two runs in the sixth when Swim hit a sacrifice fly and Kinsella singled home a run. A solo homer by Koster in the seventh gave Elon a 14-7 lead.
The Tigers added a run in the eight when Bennett doubled and scored when Butler grounded into a double play.
Elon wrapped up the win with three runs in the eighth inning, upping the lead to 17-8.
With two outs in the ninth, the Tigers staged another rally. Willard started the uprising with a single. When junior catcher Andrew Parker singled, the Tigers had two runners on base. An RBI single by Bowles drove in a run before Bennett struck out, ending the game.
Clark earned his seventh victory of the season. In 5.2 innings, he allowed four runs on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Elon outhit the Tigers by an 18-13 margin. Koster led Elon by going four-for-five while Luce had two hits and three RBI’s. Bresnahan also had two hits.
Fitzgerald, Bowles, Bennett and Winter led the Tigers with two hits each.
Towson and Elon will play the second game of their series on Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m.