GREENVILLE — Citadel coach Fred Jordan said it ?simply was not his team’s day Friday, and it was not be its tournament as Elon eliminated the Bulldogs from the Southern Conference field with a 7-3 loss, ending their season.
“Sometimes the game just doesn’t treat you well” Jordan said. “It just wasn’t our time.”
For evidence, see Bulldogs catcher Joe Jackson’s deep fly ball to the wrong part of Fluor Field, right field, in the third inning. Right field is particularly deep as the outfield dimensions replicate Boston’s Fenway Park. Elon right fielder Quinn Bower caught Jackson’s drive against the fence, 380 feet from home plate and some 500 feet from the former home-turned-museum of Jackson’s great-great-great uncle “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, the former Chicago White Sox star who was barred from baseball after the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal when eight members of the team were accused of throwing the World Series.
The 30-foot tall, left-field wall is much closer to home plate at Fluor Field, and in the fourth inning, Elon’s Joey Tomko lofted a deep drive down that just cleared the fence at the 310-foot mark near the foul pole for a two-run home run.
Jackson’s drive traveled farther in distance, but it was Tomko’s shot which produced runs.
“Unfortunately for us, we hit six balls extremely hard and their players made some incredible catches,” Jordan said.
Elon scored three runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth, including a home run from Ryan Kinsella, to chase Citadel starting pitcher Logan Cribb from the game.
Said Citadel center fielder Nick Orvin: “They hit the ball out of the ballpark, we didn’t.”
Misfortune was not the only factor working against The Citadel (25-33). There was also Elon starting pitcher David ?Whitehead, who pitched a complete game for Elon (33-25).
“(Whitehead) had a good mix of his fastball and slider,” said Citadel left fielder Justin Mackert after what was his last ?college game. “He threw changeups to lefties. It’s tough. I love this game — it stings.”
Whitehead and the Fluor Field dimensions combined to end The Citadel’s season Friday, though Jordan liked how his young team played to close the season.
“As the season progressed, we got better and we hit our stride,” Jordan said. “I’m excited about the future and the recruits we got. We had eight to 10 freshmen gaining valuable lessons.”