ELON, N.C. – After suffering a trio of losses in league play last weekend, the Elon University baseball team will look to bounce back as the Phoenix hosts the Hofstra Pride for a pivotal three-game Colonial Athletic Association series this weekend. Game one of the series between the two teams tied in the conference standings is set for 6 p.m. on Friday, April 13, at Latham Park. Game two will be played Saturday at 4 p.m., with the finale slated for Sunday at 1 p.m. Gates open one hour prior to first pitch.
All three games of the series will be carried on the radio. Friday and Saturday will see the coverage on WSJS 104.5 FM and 1200 AM, while Sunday’s action can be heard on WPCM 95.1 FM and 920 AM. The radio feed will also be available at elonphoenix.com and through the TuneIn app. Pregame coverage kicks off 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
The Elon University baseball team will welcome back former players for an Alumni Weekend when the Phoenix takes on Hartford in a three-game series April 20-22, at Latham Park. Over the course of the weekend, the teams from 2006, 2008 and 2009 teams will be recognized, however, Alumni Weekend is open to all former Elon players from any era. For more information, or to register for the weekend, click HERE.
Elon – So. RH Kyle Brnovich (4-1, 1.51)
Hofstra – Jr. LH John Rooney (5-0, 1.29)
Elon – So. RH George Kirby (5-1, 2.74)
Hofstra – Sr. RH Matt Weissheier (2-3, 3.35)
Elon – Jr. RH Ryan Conroy (1-3, 3.10)
Hofstra – Sr. LH Teddy Cillis (0-2, 2.91)
All nine of the previous meetings between Elon and Hofstra have come since the Phoenix joined the CAA for the 2015 season. The Phoenix holds a slim 5-4 advantage in the series after the Pride captured two of the three games in Hempstead, N.Y., a year ago. Elon swept the only other series at Latham Park, picking up 14-8, 7-2 and 10-5 victories at home in 2016.
Hofstra comes into the weekend with a 14-11 overall record and a 4-5 CAA mark. Last weekend, the Pride won two of its three games against Delaware. Hofstra has also played a pair of league weekends on the road – at UNCW (lost 2-1) and at Towson (lost 2-1).
The Pride’s offense is led by Vito Friscia who boasts a .326 batting average, a team-best four home runs and 18 RBI. Austin Gauthier leads the team with 23 runs scored, while Mikey Riesner has a team-high seven doubles. As a group, Hofstra is hitting .250 and has scored 127 runs (5.1 per game). The Pride has 50 doubles, four triples and 15 homers and has been successful on 28 of its 39 stolen base attempts.
Hofstra brings an impressive pitching staff to town. As a team, Hofstra has a 3.26 ERA (29th nationally) and has held opponents to a .210 batting average. The Pride has allowed 93 runs (3.7 per game) and has recorded 211 strikeouts in 215.2 innings of work. Friday starter John Rooney leads the CAA and is 15th in the country with a 1.29 ERA. Rooney also rates seventh nationally with a 0.73 WHIP.
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 695-540-3 and has led his program to five regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and seven NCAA postseason appearances.
BRNOVICH ON GOLDEN SPIKES WATCH LIST
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.
RACKING UP THE K’S
Through the first 33 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 (11 Ks on opening day,11 at Georgia Southern and 10 vs. Appalachian State), 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 and 10 at Northeastern) have all accomplished the feat.
As a staff on the year, the Phoenix has recorded 339 strikeouts on the year, an average of 10.3 per game. Last year, Elon set a new program record with 491. The maroon and gold is on pace to notch 575 strikeouts this season.
PHOENIX AMONG BEST IN BALANCING POWER
This season, Elon has hit 22 home runs. A total of 13 different players have gone deep for the Phoenix. Below is a list of team’s with the most players who have homered this year (through April 11).
15 – Tennessee Tech
13 – Elon, Mercer
12 – Arkansas, Clemson, FAU, South Carolina
11 – Davidson, Georgia Tech, Lipscomb, Vanderbilt, Wichita State
10 – Florida, NC State, Ohio, Western Kentucky
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 122 consecutive games dating back to his freshman campaign. Ogren has started all 33 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 12 one-run games, going 5-7, and an additional seven two-run contests.
Following the series with Hofstra, Elon will host a pair of midweek contests. On Tuesday, April 17, the Phoenix welcomes in Campbell. The next night, North Carolina A&T visits Latham Park. Both games are set for 6 p.m. starts.