ELON, N.C. – A three-run bottom of the eighth propelled the Elon University baseball team to a 5-4 victory over the North Carolina A&T Aggies as Phoenix skipper Mike Kennedy earned the 700th win of his career on Wednesday, April 18.
Kennedy has compiled a 700-540-3 all-time record and is in his 22nd season leading his alma mater. He is the program’s all-time winningest coach and guided Elon from NCAA Division II play to its current home in Division I’s Colonial Athletic Association.
On Wednesday, Elon (22-16) got three hits from Ryne Ogren who drove home one and scored twice, while Zach Evers went 2-for-3 and scored once.
Earning the win was Jared Wetherbee (2-1) who threw 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out four hitters. Starter Gavin Hellman went 3.0 innings, giving up four hits and striking out six hitters without allowing a run.
The Aggies (19-18) got two hits from Forest Kimbrell, while Greg White drove in two runs.
Josh Bottenfield (3-3) took the loss after being charged with three runs on three hits without recording an out.
Quotable: “It’s awesome, I guess, in the big picture of things. I’ve been blessed to be at my alma mater and coach at a place that I’ve spent my whole adult life. I’ve been very fortunate to have really good players that have bought in to trying to play the game the right way. Being able to see guys grow and develop off the field, that’s the stuff that I buy into, that I enjoy. The wins, one day I might look back at it and go, ‘That’s pretty cool.’ When you’re in the fire, in the middle of it, you just look to the next one. I’m very fortunate to have had a lot of people help me along the way. This staff is really good. I’ve had another staff with Buck (long-time assistant Greg Starbuck) on here for a long time; we had some great times together. I’ve been very fortunate to have good people around me. More importantly, it means we’ve had really good players, guys that have worked really hard to keep Elon baseball at a high level.” – head coach Mike Kennedy on win 700.
How It Happened: Elon built a 2-0 lead thanks to single runs in the first and third on a Joe Satterfield single and an Ogren double.
It remained a 2-0 game until the eighth inning when the Aggies took advantage of an error and four walks. The inning opened with an error and back-to-back walks to load the bases. After a strikeout, two more consecutive walks forced in runs to knot the game at two. White then put A&T on top with a two-run single through the right side of the infield before a sacrifice bunt and strikeout ended the frame.
The Phoenix came right back in its half of the inning. The frame opened with three straight singles from Garrett Stonehouse, Ogren and Liam O’Regan, the last scoring a run to make it a 4-3 contest. With two runners in scoring position, Satterfield grounded to second, but the throw home was not in time to retire Ogren who slid in to tie it at four. Josh Broughton drove home the go-ahead marker with a one-out single through the left side of the infield.
N.C. A&T got the tying run in scoring position following a two-out double in the top of the ninth, but Wetherbee struck out Ryne Stanley to end the game.
Notes: Elon won its fifth consecutive game, matching its longest winning streak of the year… Phoenix pitchers recorded 11 strikeouts on the night and have had 10 or more in five straight games, the longest such streak since 2009… Elon improved to 20-1 when leading after seven innings and 21-2 when leading after eight innings this season… The Phoenix is now 7-7 in one-run games this season.
On Deck: The Phoenix will be back in action on Friday, April 20, when it opens a three-game series against the Hartford Hawks. Game time is set for 6 p.m., as the program will hold its annual Alumni Weekend.