ELON, N.C. – Kyle Brnovich struck out 10 hitters and the Elon University baseball team came up with some big hits as the Phoenix picked up a 5-3 victory over league-leading UNCW in game three of a Colonial Athletic Association series at Latham Park on Sunday afternoon.
Brnovich matched Elon’s NCAA Division I freshman wins record as he improved to 6-4 on the season. He tossed 8.0 innings and allowed three runs on six hits. Robbie Welhaf recorded the final out to earn his first save of the year.
Offensively, Elon (22-30, 12-12 CAA) saw Hayden Platt go 3-for-3 with a home run and one RBI, while Kyle Jackson homered and drove in two during a 1-for-4 day.
UNCW (26-25, 14-7 CAA) had eight hits on the day, including a pair from Zack Canada.
Austin Warren (2-5) took the loss in relief. He was charged with two runs on one hit in 2.0 innings out of the bullpen.
How It Happened: UNCW put single runs across in each of the first two innings. In the first, Brian Mims’ RBI single scored Terence Connelly. In the next frame, Mason Berne hit a solo home run, his eighth of the year, to left to give the Seahawks a 2-0 advantage.
With two down in the last of the third, Ryne Ogren singled through the left side before Jackson knotted the game at two with his 12th home run of the year, this one clearing the wall in center.
Ogren got things going for the Phoenix again in the fifth, drawing a walk to start the inning. After Platt was hit by a pitch to put two aboard, James Venuto lined the first pitch he saw back up the middle for a single that plated Ogren to give Elon a 3-2 edge.
Elon would push its lead to 4-2 in the last of the sixth when Ogren’s two-out single to right scored Garrett Stonehouse who had led off the inning with a walk. The Phoenix lead grew to 5-2 in the seventh when Platt belted his fifth homer of the year to center to lead off the seventh.
For the second time in the series, UNCW entered the eighth inning with a 5-2 deficit. The Seahawks inched closer in the eighth when Daniel Stack led off the inning with a homer to left-center before Brnovich struck out three of the next four hitters.
The Seahawks threatened in the ninth as well. Cole Weiss got things started with a one-out single through the right side of the infield. Canada followed with a line drive double to left-center. UNCW tried to score pinch-runner Kennard McDowell from first, but a perfect relay from Jackson to Travis Docimo to Mike Borucki cut down the run at the plate. Welhaf then came on and, after hitting a batter, recorded the final out on a routine fly ball to right field.
Notes: Brnovich’s six victories tie him with Steven Hensley (2006) and David Whitehead (2011) for the most wins by a freshman in the program’s Division I history… Brnovich has now struck out 94 hitters, the 10th-most ever by an Elon pitcher in a season and two shy of Hensley’s Division I freshman program record… Jackson now has six outfield assists on the season and 11 in two seasons with the Phoenix… Elon has concluded CAA play and will be the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament in Wilmington, N.C.
On Deck: Elon will wrap up the regular season with a three-game series with Bowling Green. The two sides will open the series on Thursday, May 18 at 6 pm.