ELON, N.C. – The Elon University baseball team will be back in action at Latham Park for a pair of midweek contests as the Phoenix welcomes the Radford Highlanders and the Kansas State Wildcats to town for games on Tuesday and Wednesday. Elon will take on Radford at 4 p.m. on Tuesday before hosting K-State at 4 p.m. on Wednesday.
Tickets can be purchased at elonphoenix.com or by calling 336-278-6750.
Elon: So. RH Mason Daniels
Radford: Fr. LH Hunter Williams
Kansas State: TBA
Thanks mostly to Elon’s time as a member of the Big South Conference, the Phoenix and Highlanders have squared off a total of 18 times. The maroon and gold is 11-7 in those games, including a 10-1 victory at Latham Park last season.
Elon and Kansas State have met just once prior to this year, a 4-3 Phoenix win in Myrtle Beach, S.C., in 2013.
Radford won the 2017 Big South Tournament and appeared in the NCAA Regionals. The Highlanders were picked to finish fourth this season.
Radford opened up the season by taking two of the three games in their series at North Florida. After hitting .615 with five runs scored, two doubles, a triple and six RBI on the weekend, outfielder Andrew Szamski was named the Big South Player of the Week. As a team, the Highlanders are hitting .280 with 28 runs scored, seven doubles, two homers and five stolen bases.
On the mound, Radford sports a 6.58 ERA and has allowed 21 runs in 26.0 innings. Opponents are hitting at a .297 clip.
ABOUT KANSAS STATE
Kansas State was selected to finish ninth in the Big 12 this season after going 29-26 a year ago.
K-State opened its season with four games at the Baseball at the Beach tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina. The Wildcats dropped their first three games to #17 South Alabama, #17 Indiana and the host Chanticleers before earning a 6-5 victory over Virginia Tech on Monday. In their first three games, the Wildcats posted a .210 batting average and scored eight runs.
On the mound, the team had a 6.41 ERA and allowed 21 runs in 26.2 innings of work.
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 678-527-3 (.563) and has led his program to five regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and seven NCAA postseason appearances.
In its fourth season in the CAA, the league’s coaches selected the Phoenix to finish in a tie for fifth in the preseason poll. Junior shortstop Ryne Ogren and sophomore pitcher Kyle Brnovichwere both named to the Preseason All-CAA Team, while senior catcher Hayden Platt was an honorable mention honoree.
1. UNCW (6)
2. Delaware (3)
T5. William & Mary
7. James Madison
KIRBY SETS STANDARD
Sophomore George Kirby got the opening day nod on the mound and he did not disappoint. Despite taking the loss, Kirby allowed just one run on two hits in his 5.0 innings. His 11 strikeouts were a personal best and the most by an Elon starting pitcher on opening day in the program’s Division I tenure (beginning in 2000).
TWO ONE-RUN DEFEATS
For the first time since March of 2012, Elon suffered a pair of one-run losses in a weekend series as the Phoenix dropped decisions of 2-1 and 3-2 to Penn State on opening weekend. The last time that happened, Elon lost two 11-inning games at Davidson by scores of 12-11 and 9-8.
CLOSING IT OUT
Since 2007, Elon has been very good at closing out games. The Phoenix has gone a combined 292-24 when leading after seven innings and 315-18 when holding a lead following the eighth inning.
Elon will continue its nine-game homestand by playing host to the Marshall Thundering Herd in a weekend series. The set is scheduled to begin on Friday, Feb. 23 with a 4 p.m. first pitch. The two will then play at 2 p.m. on Saturday and at 1 p.m. on Sunday.