ELON, N.C. – A weekend with another former Southern Conference foe awaits the Elon University baseball team as the Phoenix will play host to the Appalachian State Mountaineers for a three-game series at Latham Park beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 9. Due to inclement weather, the series will conclude with a Saturday doubleheader that will begin at noon.
Tickets can be purchased at elonphoenix.com or by calling 336-278-6750.
Fans not able to make it out to Latham Park will have multiple ways to follow all of the action this weekend. On the radio side, Taylor Durham will have the call of all three games on WSJS 104.5 FM / 1200 AM and through a stream on elonphoenix.com. Phoenix All-Access and Maroon Sports will also be presenting a free video stream of all three games as well.
Elon Appalachian State So. RH George Kirby (1-1, 2.50) Jr. LH Andrew Vaccacio (1-2, 2.95) So. RH Kyle Brnovich (1-0, 1.83) Jr. LH Colin Schmid (1-0, 2.50) TBD Sr. RH Travis Holden (2-0, 1.64)
Elon holds a commanding 65-16 advantage in the all-time series that dates to 1940. In that first meeting between the two schools, Elon picked up a 9-3 victory. The two last met on March 6, 2016 with the Phoenix picking up a 4-3 decision at Latham Park. From 2004-2014, the two programs met annually as members of the Southern Conference. Elon has won the last two matchups and the last four meetings have all come at Latham Park.
ABOUT APPALACHIAN STATE
Now a member of the Sun Belt Conference, Appalachian State is off to a 4-6 start to the season. The Mountaineers had a pair of midweek games called off due to weather and last played a three-game series with Marshall last weekend. The Thundering Herd won two of those three games in Boone, N.C.
The Appalachian offense enters the weekend hitting at a .233 clip and has scored 50 runs in 10 games. Of the squad’s 80 hits, there have been 21 doubles, three triples and five home runs. Alex Leshock leads the offense with a .346 batting average, while Jason Avers tops the team with nine RBI. Riley Smith has five doubles.
On the mound, the Mountaineers sport a 5.07 ERA and have surrendered 57 runs. The staff has struck out 84 hitters and issued 34 walks in 87.0 innings, while opponents are hitting at a .280 clip. The three weekend starters have earned all four victories for the Mountaineers this season.
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 683-532-3 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 13 games of the 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 struck out 11 hitters on opening day and did so again at Georgia Southern, Robbie Welhaf fanned 12 in a relief outing against Radford and Kyle Brnovich fanned 11 against Marshall.
As a staff on the year, the Phoenix has recorded 143 strikeouts on the year, an average of 11.0 per game.
In Elon’s 4-2 victory at Georgia Southern, George Kirby and Robbie Welhaf combined to strike out 20 Eagle hitters. Kirby matched his career high by fanning 11 over 6.0 innings, while Welhaf recorded all nine of his outs via the strikeout. The duo struck out nine consecutive hitters and 10 of the final 11 batters of the 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.
On the year, Elon has played in eight one-run games, going 4-4, and an additional four two-run contests.
The Phoenix is among the national leaders in one or two-run games this year. Below is a list of the teams with the highest percentage of one or two-run games this year.
Elon – 92.3% (8 one-run + 4 two-run = 12 of 13 games)
Fordham – 90.1% (6 one-run + 2 two-run + 1 tie = 9 of 11)
Fresno State – 64.3% (9 one-run = 9 of 14)
Virginia Tech – 66.7% (5 one-run + 3 two-run = 8 of 12)
Michigan State – 63.6% (6 one-run + 1 two-run = 7 of 11)
Loyola Marymount – 61.5% (4 one-run + 4 two-run = 8 of 13)
UNCW – 58.3% (5 one-run + 2 two-run = 7 of 12)
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 101 consecutive games dating back to his freshman campaign. Ogren has started all 12 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 will travel for a pair of midweek contests next week, visiting UNCG for a 4 p.m. game on Tuesday, March 13 before heading to Greenville, N.C., for a 6:30 p.m. contest with East Carolina the next day.