ELON, N.C. – Riding a season-long eight-game winning streak, the Elon University baseball team will hit the road for a pivotal three-game CAA series at UNCW this weekend. The Phoenix and Seahawks are two of three teams currently tied for third place in the league standings with a 7-5 conference mark. The series opens with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Friday, Apirl 27, at UNCW’s Brooks Field. Game times for Saturday and Sunday are set for 2 p.m.
Fans can listen to all three games on the radio as Taylor Durham will provide all the play-by-play action. Friday and Saturday’s broadcasts will air on WSJS 104.5 FM / 1200 AM, while Sunday’s game will air on WPCM 95.1 FM / 920 AM. The pregame show begins 15 minutes prior to first pitch. The radio broadcasts can also be heard at elonphoenix.com and on the TuneIn app. UNCW will also be providing a video feed of all three contests.
Elon UNCW So. RH Kyle Brnovich (5-1, 1.29) Jr. RH Alex Royalty (4-4, 4.20) So. RH George Kirby (7-1, 2.27) Fr. RH Landen Roupp (0-2, 2.88) Jr. RH Ryan Conroy (2-3, 2.84) Fr. RH Gage Herring (2-0, 2.08)
The Phoenix and Seahawks have squared off 63 times prior to this weekend’s series. Elon is 27-36 all-time against UNCW. At Latham Park last season, Elon won one of the three games. Both of the defeats came by one run a year ago. The two programs first met for five games in 1964.
UNCW enters the weekend with a 25-15 record overall and a 7-5 mark in CAA play. The Seahawks won two of their three games against Towson last weekend before knocking off Campbell on Wednesday night.
Ryan Jeffers leads the Seahawks in nearly every offensive category as he is hitting .369 with 35 runs scored, 17 doubles, 12 home runs and 41 RBI. As a team, UNCW is hitting .265 and has scored 214 runs (5.4 per game) this year. The team has 66 doubles, four triples, 39 homers and is 34-for-49 in stolen base attempts.
On the mound, UNCW sports a 3.18 ERA and has surrendered just 177 runs (4.4 per game) this year. Over 359.0 innings, the staff has held opponents to a .222 batting average and has struck out 361 hitters. Friday starter Alex Royalty leads the team with 57 strikeouts, while Austin Warren has earned a team-high five wins in 18 relief appearances.
HEAD COACH MIKE KENNEDY
Now in his 22nd season as the head coach at his alma mater, Mike Kennedy (’91) is the winningest coach in program history. He has compiled a career record of 703-540-3 and has led his program to five regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and seven NCAA postseason appearances. Kennedy earned his 700th career win on April 18 as Elon defeated North Carolina A&T by a 5-4 score.
COACHES WINNING AT ALMA MATER
Elon skipper Mike Kennedy recently earned his 700th career win, all of which have come at his alma mater. The 1991 grad is in select company for coaches who have racked up victories at their alma maters.
Active Head Coaches W/500+ Wins at Alma Mater (thru 04.25)
Mike Martin, Florida State – 1,973
John Anderson, Minnesota – 1,270
Bill Brown, George Mason – 1,013
Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina – 912
Mark Scalf, UNCW – 895
Mike Fox, North Carolina – 874
Mike Kennedy, Elon – 703
Dave Van Horn, Arkansas – 624
Dick Cooke, Davidson – 582
Jim Sherman, Delaware – 531
Todd Asalon, Northern Kentucky – 528
Jim Penders, UConn – 511
BRNOVICH, OGREN ON NATIONAL WATCH LISTS
Sophomore pitcher Kyle Brnovich has been selected to the 2018 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award midseason watch list. The award is presented annually to the top amateur baseball player in the country. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 41st Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 28 in Los Angeles.
The midseason watch list features 40 of the nation’s top amateur players from the college ranks. The Golden Spikes Award Advisory Board will continue to maintain a rolling list of athletes, allowing players to play themselves into consideration for the award before announcing the semifinalists on May 21.
Brnovich is also on the watch list for the College Baseball Foundation’s Pitcher of the Year Award. The award highlights 78 of the top arms in the country that includes both perennial powers and up-and-coming teams. The award, sponsored by Diamond, will be presented later this summer by the College Baseball Foundation.
Junior infielder Ryne Ogren was named to the watch list for the Brooks Wallace Award, which is sponsored by Mizuno and honors the nation’s top shortstop and will be presented this summer by the College Baseball Foundation. There are 53 players on the list.
RACKING UP THE K’S
Through 41 games this season, the Elon pitching staff has put up some impressive strikeout totals. Three pitchers have eclipsed the 10-K mark in individual outings as sophomore George Kirby (11 Ks on opening day,11 at Georgia Southern, 10 vs. Appalachian State and 13 vs. Hofstra), Robbie Welhaf (12 in a relief outing against Radford) and Kyle Brnovich (11 vs. Marshall, 12 vs. Appalachian State, 13 vs. Rider, 14 vs. Charleston, 10 at Northeastern, 12 vs. Hofstra and 14 vs. Hartford) have all accomplished the feat.
As a staff on the year, the Phoenix has recorded 433 strikeouts on the year, an average of 10.6 per game. Last year, Elon set a new program record with 491. The maroon and gold is on pace to notch 592 strikeouts this season.
PHOENIX AMONG BEST IN BALANCING POWER
This season, Elon has hit 23 home runs. A total of 13 different players have gone deep for the Phoenix. Below is a list of team’s with the most players who have homered this year (through April 17).
15 – Tennessee Tech
13 – Elon, Mercer
12 – Arkansas, Clemson, FAU, South Carolina, Vanderbilt
11 – Davidson, Georgia Tech, Kennesaw State, Lipscomb, Wichita State
10 – Florida, NC State, Ohio, Western Kentucky, N.C. A&T
Elon junior shortstop Ryne Ogren has been a mainstay in the Phoenix lineup since his arrival on campus. The Devon, Pa., native has now started 130 consecutive games dating back to his freshman campaign. Ogren has started all 41 games this year, started all 56 games a year ago and started the final 33 contests in 2016. The last time Ogren did not appear in Elon’s starting lineup was March 22, 2016 against High Point.
Elon’s first seven games of the season were decided by a combined eight runs. The Phoenix played four one-run games in its first five outings. The last time that Elon had four one-run decisions in its first five games of the season was 1934. That year, the team opened with four consecutive one-run contests.
On the year, Elon has played in 15 one-run games, going 8-7, and an additional eight two-run contests.
BRNOVICH PICKS UP SECOND CAA ACCOLADE
For the second time this year, sophomore Kyle Brnovich was named the CAA Pitcher of the Week. This time, he earned the honor on April 23 after throwing a complete-game, three-hitter in a win over Hartford. Brnovich allowed just one earned run in his first complete game of the season and matched a season high with 14 strikeouts.
Following the series at UNCW, Elon will return home to host Wake Forest on Wednesday, May 2. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the Latham Park gates will open at 5 p.m.