ELON, N.C. – The final three games of the 2018 regular season are of key importance to the Elon University baseball team as the Phoenix fights for seeding in the upcoming CAA Tournament. The last set of the year will get underway on Thursday, May 17, as Elon hosts William & Mary at 6 p.m. Game two is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m., while the series finale is slated for 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Fans can listen to the contests on WSJS 104.5 FM / 1200 AM (Thursday and Friday) and WPCM 95.1 FM / 920 AM (Saturday) as Taylor Durham will provide all the play-by-play action. 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.
Prior to Sunday’s game, Elon will recognize a five-member senior class. Suiting up for their final games at Latham Park will be Sean Byrnes, Zach Evers, Hayden Platt, James Venuto and Robbie Welhaf.
ELON INTRODUCES HAMMOCK SEATING
As the 2018 season enters the home stretch and the weather begins to warm up, the Elon Department of Athletics has announced a partnership with Eagles Nest Outfitters (ENO) to launch the nation’s first hammock seating experience at Latham Park. Baseball fans will now have the opportunity to relax at an Elon baseball game inside an ENO hammock down the third base side nestled in the trees.
ELON VS. CANCER
For the seventh straight year, the Elon University baseball team will join forces with much of the collegiate baseball family to help raise money to fight childhood cancer. This season, the Phoenix will partner with the Vs. Cancer Foundation to hold a head-shaving event following its 6 p.m. game with William & Mary on Thursday, May 17.
Players and coaches on the baseball roster will shave their heads in support of this important cause. Over the last five years, Elon’s head-shaving events raised over $141,000 that went toward fighting childhood cancer. Last year’s event raised over $18,000.
For more information, or to donate towards Elon’s total, visit www.elonphoenix.com/vscancer.
Elon – So. RH Kyle Brnovich (7-2, 1.83)
W&M – Jr. LH Bodie Sheehan (2-8, 4.26)
Elon – So. RH George Kirby (9-2, 2.34)
W&M – So. RH Wade Strain (2-4, 3.61)
Elon – Jr. RH Ryan Conroy (3-3, 2.94)
W&M – So. RH Chris Farrell (2-4, 3.99)
Elon and William & Mary have met 20 total times on the baseball diamond in a series that dates to 1916. Elon trails the series by an 11-9 margin. A total of 10 of the games have come since Elon joined the CAA for the 2015 season. Last year, the Tribe won two of the three regular season games in Williamsburg, Va., before knocking off Elon in the CAA Tournament in Wilmington, N.C.
ABOUT WILLIAM & MARY
The Tribe enters the final three games of the regular season with an overall record of 15-36 and a CAA mark of 3-18. As a team, William & Mary is hitting .219 and has scored 194 runs (3.8 per game) in 51 outings. The offensive unit has put up 69 doubles, eight triples, 26 home runs and has stolen 17 bases. Zach Pearson’s .260 average leads the team, while Hunter Smith paces the Tribe with nine homers and 32 RBI.
On the mound, William & Mary sports a 4.67 ERA and has allowed 274 runs (5.4 per game) on the year. The staff has issued 206 walks and struck out 385 hitters in 453.1 innings of work. Opponents are hitting Tribe pitching at a .267 clip. Thursday’s starter Bodie Sheehan leads the team with 58 strikeouts.
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 710-545-3 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 May 13)
Mike Martin, Florida State 1,981
John Anderson, Minnesota 1,279
Bill Brown, George Mason 1,020
Gary Gilmore, Coastal Carolina 920
Mark Scalf, UNCW 902
Mike Fox, North Carolina 880
Mike Kennedy, Elon 710
Dave Van Horn, Arkansas 631
Dick Cooke, Davidson 589
Jim Sherman, Delaware 538
Todd Asalon, Northern Kentucky 532
Jim Penders, UConn 518
Craig Gibson, Mercer 504
Steve Jaska, Central Michigan 501
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 & BREAKING RECORDS
Through 53 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, 14 vs. Hartford and 10 at Delaware) have all accomplished the feat.
As a staff on the year, the Phoenix has recorded 527 strikeouts on the year, an average of 9.9 per game, surpassing the previous program record for K’s in a season. The previous mark of 491 was set last year. The maroon and gold is on pace to notch at least 576 strikeouts this season.
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 142 consecutive games dating back to his freshman campaign. Ogren has started all 53 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 18 one-run games, going 9-10, and an additional nine two-run contests.
OGREN PICKS UP SECOND CAA POW HONOR
For the second time this season, Elon junior shortstop Ryne Ogren has been selected as the Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Week. The league announced its weekly award winners on Monday, May 14.
Ogren hit .583 (7-for-12) with three doubles, five runs scored and eight RBI in Elon’s 3-1 week. In the Phoenix’s three-game sweep of Towson, Ogren reached base in 10 of his 13 plate appearances, gong 5-for-8 with five walks. Ogren drove in multiple runs in three of the four games last week and recorded the 200th hit of his career in Friday’s victory over the Tigers.
This weekend’s series will go a long way in determining the seeding for the upcoming CAA Tournament that gets underway in Harrisonburg, Va., on May 23. The Phoenix enters the weekend in a third-place tie with UNCW, but is just two games back on leader Northeastern and one game behind College of Charleston for second place.