Elon Baseball Opens SoCon Play by Hosting Georgia Southern

ELON, N.C. — The Elon baseball team will begin its 11th season of Southern Conference play this weekend by playing host to the Georgia Southern Eagles. Game times are set for 6 p.m. on Friday, 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday.

All three games will air live on WPCM 95.1 FM and 920 AM along with online through elonphoenix.com. The games on Friday and Sunday will also be available for free on Phoenix All-Access, Elon’s video portal.

This weekend will mark the first Family Meal Deal promotions of the year. This promotion will run all weekend and allows a family of four to purchase four game tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks for just $30 for each game attended. Tickets for this promotion must be purchased at the gate on game day.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Elon – RH Lucas Bakker (2-1, 1.71 ERA)
Ga. Southern – LH Sam Howard (3-1, 1.08 ERA)

Elon – LH Jake Stalzer (3-1, 1.03 ERA)
Ga. Southern – RH Josh Wirsu (3-1, 3.66 ERA)

Elon – RH Michael Elefante (4-0, 1.29 ERA)
Ga. Southern – RH Will Middour (1-0, 4.82 ERA)

Inside the Series
After winning three of the five meetings between these two programs a year ago, Elon now leads the all-time series with Georgia Southern by a 21-20 margin. The two first met in 1968 and did not meet again until an NCAA Regional game in Clemson, S.C., in 2002.

Countdown to 600: 588
Already Elon’s all-time winningest coach, skipper Mike Kennedy is closing in on career victory number 600. Kennedy currently has 588 wins to his credit, all in the maroon and gold.

SoCon Starts
In its 10 previous seasons in the Southern Conference, Elon has posted an 8-2 record in its league opener.

2004 – Elon 6, Appalachian St. 5 (12 Inn.; Elon, N.C.)
2005 – Elon 12, Wofford 2 (7 Inn.; Elon, N.C.)
2006 – Elon 13, Western Carolina 10 (Elon, N.C.)
2007 – Elon 24, Appalachian St. 2 (Boone, N.C.)
2008 – Elon 7, The Citadel 2 (Elon, N.C.)
2009 – Elon 8, Appalachian St. 6 (Boone, N.C.)
2010 – Elon 5, Furman 3 (Greenville, S.C.)
2011 – Elon 10, Appalachian St. 4 (Boone, N.C.)
2012 – Elon 1, Col. of Charleston 7 (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
2013 – Elon 4, Furman 10 (12 Inn.; Elon, N.C.)

Bakker Earns League Honor
For the third straight week an Elon pitcher was selected as the SoCon Pitcher of the Week. After Jake Stalzer collected the honor in consecutive weeks, Phoenix righty Lucas Bakker was tabbed as the league’s pitcher of the week for games played between March 3-9.

Bakker tossed a five-hit complete game against Minnesota at the Chanticleer Classic on Saturday. The junior from Deception Bay, Queensland, Australia, struck out six and did not issue a walk. Bakker allowed two runs, neither of which was earned, as the maroon and gold topped the Golden Gophers 5-2. The complete game was Bakker’s first in an Elon uniform.

Walkin’ Ain’t Easy
In its three games at the Chanticleer Classic, Elon pitchers combined to issue just two walks. It marked the fewest number of walks allowed by Phoenix hurlers since 2004. Elon did not issue a walk in either of its first two games of the weekend – wins over Minnesota and UMBC.

No. 500
With it’s 14-2 victory over Wagner on Feb. 21, the Phoenix program achieved a milestone. That win was the 500th for the program since moving to NCAA Division I play for the 2000 season. In that time, only three of the other 17 D-I programs in the state of North Carolina have more victories than the Phoenix – North Carolina, East Carolina and NC State.

We Are Family
The 2014 Elon roster sports two pairs of brothers. Junior outfielders Quinn Bower and Blaine Bower are twins from New Cumberland, Pa. The other set of brothers are junior outfielder/first baseman Sam Paone and freshman outfielder D.J. Paone who hail from Jupiter, Fla.

Elon or the Pros?
Elon’s 2014 roster sports two players who chose to don the maroon and gold and forgo a professional career.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Tyler Manez was picked by the Houston Astros in the 32nd round, number 969 overall, in the 2012 MLB Draft while freshman infielder Nick Zammarelli was a 28th round selection, number 833 overall, of the Boston Red Sox in the 2013 draft.

Junior college transfer Jose Lazaro was also drafted out of high school, but opted to head to college. The right-handed pitcher was a 28th round selection, number 869 overall, by the New York Yankees in the 2011 MLB draft.

Closing it Out
Since 2007 Elon has been very good at closing out games. The Phoenix has gone a combined 225-17 (.930) when leading after seven innings and 235-15 (.940) when holding a lead following the eighth inning.

With its 34 wins in 2013, Elon has recorded 14 consecutive seasons with at least 30 wins. Elon has won 33, 30, 34, 34, 31, 32, 45, 32, 44, 41, 38, 36, 33 and 34 games in that span. In this time, the Phoenix has made six NCAA Division I Regional appearances (2002, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2013).

Home Sweet Home
Traditionally, Elon has played well at Latham Park. Under Mike Kennedy, Elon has posted a 323-139-1 (.699) record at its on-campus stadium.