ELON, N.C. – The freshman pitching duo of Kyle Brnovich and George Kirby combined to hold down the offense of visiting VMI as the Elon University baseball team earned an 8-3 victory over the Keydets in the deciding game of the three-game series at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon.
Brnovich (1-2) matched a personal best with nine strikeouts. The starter went 6.0 innings and allowed one run on three hits. Brnovich retired the first 10 hitters he saw and faced the minimum through five innings. Kirby gave up two runs over the final 3.0 innings, striking out two, to garner the first save of his career.
VMI starter Brandon Barbery (0-3) took the loss after being charged with five runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings.
Elon (9-11), which had a season-high 14 hits on the day, got three-hit outings from both Ryne Ogren (3-for-5, two runs) and James Venuto (3-for-4, two runs, home run, four RBI). Seven of the nine Phoenix starters had at least one hit, while five had multi-hit outings.
The Keydets (8-10) saw Matt Pita go 3-for-4 with a two-run homer, while Jacob Jaye was 2-for-4 with a solo home run.
How It Happened: The Phoenix struck first, scoring a pair in the bottom of the third on Venuto’s two-out, two-RBI single to right. Elon increased its advantage to 4-0 in the fifth thanks to Venuto’s two-run homer to left. The shot was his second of the season.
The Keydets got their first hit in the fourth inning as Pita reached on an infield single. He was promptly tagged out by Shawn Blake after making a move toward second before returning to first base. Blake was able to dive at Pita and just get a tag on the runner’s foot before he returned to first base.
Jaye’s homer in the sixth got the Keydets on the board, but Elon came right back with a three-run bottom half of the inning. Zach Evers led off the frame with a walk, moved to second on a ground out and scored on Liam O’Regan’s double down the leftfield line. Blake followed by sending a 3-1 pitch over the wall in right-center for his third homer of the year and second two-run shot in as many days to give the Phoenix a 7-1 edge.
After Joe Satterfield’s RBI single in the seventh upped the Elon lead to 8-1, VMI scored a pair in the eighth on Pita’s home run.
Notes: During his eight-game hitting streak, Ogren has gone 17-for-34 (.500)… He has five multi-hit games during the hitting streak… The win was the first of Brnovich’s career… Elon has recorded back-to-back games with 10 or more hits for the first time since the opening two games of the season… The Phoenix improved to 7-0 on the year when leading after seven innings and 8-0 when holding the lead following eight innings.
On Deck: Elon will remain at home this week to take on the East Carolina Pirates on Tuesday, March 21. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Latham Park.