ELON, N.C. – On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Elon University baseball team will close out its season-opening, nine-game homestand with a 4 p.m. contest against the Liberty Flames. Latham Park gates will open at 3 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at elonphoenix.com or by calling 336-278-6750.
Elon: Jr. RH Ryan Conroy (0-1, 4.05)
Liberty: Fr. RH Brady Stamper (1-0, 0.00)
Wednesday will represent the 30th all-time meeting between the Phoenix and Flames, former Big South Conference mates. Liberty holds an 18-11 edge in the series and has won the last two meetings. The series began in 1976 with Liberty earning three victories. Last year, the two met twice. The Phoenix dropped a 1-0, 10-inning game at Latham Park in February before Liberty earned the season series sweep in a 16-6 decision in Lynchburg, Va., in May.
Liberty, picked second in the preseason Big South poll, is 6-1 on the year after taking two of its three games with Binghamton over the weekend.
At the plate, the Flames are hitting .243 with 42 runs scored, 10 doubles, two triples and eight home runs. Jonathan Embry paces the offense with a .391 batting average and is one of three players with a team-high eight RBI.
Liberty enters Wednesday’s bout with a 3.29 team ERA and has struck out 70 hitters in 63.0 innings. Starter Brady Stamper was named the Big South Freshman of the Week after tossing 5.0 scoreless innings in a win over James Madison. He allowed two hits and struck out eight.
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 680-530-3 and has led his program to five regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and seven NCAA postseason appearances.
RACKING UP THE K’S
Through the first eight games of the season, the Elon pitching staff has been putting up some impressive strikeout totals. Three pitchers have eclipsed the 10-K mark in individual outings as sophomore George Kirby struck out 11 hitters on opening day, Robbie Welhaf fanned 12 in a relief outing against Radford and Kyle Brnovich fanned 11 against Marshall.
As a staff, the Phoenix has recorded 90 strikeouts, an average of 11.3 per game.
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.
With a 3-2 victory over Marshall on Feb. 24, Elon earned its 600th win since moving to NCAA Division I play for the 2000 season. That number ranks fifth among the 18 DI programs in the state in that time frame.
Elon will hit the road for the first time in 2018 with a three-game series at Georgia Southern this weekend. The set is slated to begin on Friday, March 2, with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch in Statesboro, Ga.