By: Payam Agha-Ghassem, Staff Writer
Towson defeated new Colonial Athletic Association foe Elon on Sunday, 7-1, taking two out of three games in the weekend series in Elon, North Carolina. Towson lost the second game on Saturday, 5-3.
“We started hitting the ball pretty well starting last week,” Head Coach Lisa Costello said. “Balls are starting to fall, we’re starting to get into some and balls are starting to carry a little bit. We’re getting production all the way through our lineup.”
Coming off a strong start on Saturday, senior pitcher Missy McCormick pitched another gem for the Tigers (15-16, 2-7 CAA) throwing a complete game and allowing one run while striking out five. She improved to 8-5 on the season with a 2.84 ERA.
“I was in my zone in the circle,” McCormick said. “My pitching coach, Chelsea Plimpton, and I had a great plan to set up batters. They were chasing my rise ball, which gave me the ability to strike out 15 for the weekend.”
In the first inning, she got some help from her first baseman, sophomore Holiday Cahill, who hit a grand slam to give the Tigers a 4-0 lead.
The Tigers increased their lead to 5-0 in the second inning after freshman infielder Brook Miko drove in a run with a double to left field.
The Phoenix (23-12, 5-4 CAA) scored on a single in the fifth inning.
The Tigers added two more runs in the seventh with solo home runs from freshman catcher Shelby Stracher and Cahill, her second of the game. Cahill leads the team in both average and home runs this season, with a .365 average and seven home runs.
“Cahill works hard,” Costello said. “She’s a good hitter and has a good idea of what she needs to attack and what pitches she needs to hit. She did nice a job of setting the tone today and getting us the early lead.”
Stracher is also on a hot hitting streak of late. With just 26 at-bats this season, she’s hitting .346 and five of her nine at-bats have been home runs.
McCormick ended the game by retiring the side in order.
McCormick also took the mound in the first game of the series against the Phoenix on Saturday. She allowed one run over seven innings and had 10 strikeouts.
McCormick’s effort on the mound combined with timely hitting lifted the Tigers to a 6-1 win, their first conference win of the season.
Stracher put the Tigers ahead in the second inning with a solo home run to right field to take a 1-0 lead.
McCormick followed up in the fourth inning with a two-run home run to increase the Tigers’ lead to 3-0. The home run was McCormick’s fourth of the season. She finished the game 2-for-4.
The Phoenix’s only run came in the fifth inning off an RBI single by infielder Hannah Olson.
The Tigers tacked on insurance runs in the sixth and seventh inning. McCormick retired the side in order in the seventh to end the game.
“She pitched. She didn’t overthrow this weekend,” Costello said. “She didn’t try to do too much. She hit her spots. She’s throwing the ball well so that’s good to see.”
In the second game on Saturday, costly defensive errors helped the Phoenix win 5-3.
The Tigers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning after an RBI double by Stracher and an RBI single by Cahill.
In the fifth inning, the Phoenix scored five runs, all unearned, to take a 5-2 lead.
“We’ve got a very good defensive team,” Costello said. “We just haven’t worked a lot together. We haven’t practiced outdoors a whole lot. The more opportunities we have, the better off we’re going to be.”
Freshman Megan Dejter lasted 2.1 innings before being pulled. She gave up four hits, two walks and allowed four unearned runs.
Stracher pulled the Tigers to within two runs in the seventh inning with a leadoff solo home run.
The Tigers brought the tying run to the plate, but sophomore infielder Tateum Valentin flied out to shortstop to end the game.
The Tigers went into this series after winning both games of a doubleheader against the Norfolk State Spartans at home. They were the first home games at the newly-renovated Tiger Softball Stadium. The Tigers defeated the Spartans by scores of 6-4 and 8-0.
The Tigers head back home for a nine-game home stand, three of which are conference games. They’ll play doubleheaders against the Delaware State Hornets and Georgetown Hoyas on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, before taking on conference opponent College of Charleston this weekend.
First pitch against the Hornets on Tuesday is set for 2:30 p.m.