HARRISONBURG, Va. – Kyle Brnovich and Dean McCarthy turned in a pair of strong outings on the hill as the Elon University baseball advanced to the CAA Championship title game with wins over William & Mary and UNCW Saturday, May 25 at Veterans Memorial Park. The Phoenix (33-23) defeated the third-seeded Tribe (33-22) 9-2 in a semifinal meeting before downing the No. 5 Seahawks (31-29) by a score of 4-1.
A Milton, Ga. native, Brnovich went 8.0 complete innings and allowed the two runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out seven batters and improved to 7-3. Joe Sprake pitched the ninth, did not give up a hit or a walk, and had one strikeout. At the plate, Matt Oldham batted 3-for-5 with a triple, a run, and two RBIs. Ty Adcock hit an early three-run blast and finished 2-for-5 with four runs batted in. Also posting multi-hit performances were Cam Devanney (2-for-3) and Tyler Stanley (2-for-4), with Stanley adding three RBIs.
In Game Two versus UNCW, McCarty pitched 6.2 innings and recorded eight strikeouts while holding the Seahawks to one unearned run on four hits and two walks. Brandon Justice sat down three batters in 2.1 innings of relief to secure his second save of the season. Adam Spurlin belted a two-run moon shot and scored twice to finish 1-for-3. Adcock also homered in a 1-for-4 effort at bat and Anthony Galason drove in the other run with a 1-for-5 outing.
How It Happened (Game One): Adcock provided some early offense with a three-run blast in the top of the first. After a Galason walk and a Devanney double to left moved runners into scoring position, the Oxford, N.C. native skied a 3-2 pitch over the wall in left to put the Phoenix out front, 3-0. The Tribe scratched a run across in the bottom of the third. With two outs and a runner at first, Devanney was unable to get the force out at second in time. A Hunter Smith hit down the right-field line was able to plate one, but Stanley fired to Oldham and Smith was tagged out trying to return to the bag.
Stanley pushed across two more runs in the fourth to extend Elon’s lead, 5-1. Oldham led off the frame with a hit up the middle. Spurlin then hit a grounder to the shortstop, but a throwing error to get the force out at second allowed the pair to move up into scoring position. Stanley then drove them home with a double to the gap in left. Later in the fifth, Oldham singled to right with runners on the corners for the 6-1 advantage.
In the seventh, Satterfield doubled to left center and Devanney drew a walk before an Adcock hit back up the middle gave the Phoenix a 7-1 edge. Elon added another tally in the eighth as Spurlin led off with a double and crossed the plate on a Stanley hit to right center. The Tribe was able to get a run back in the bottom half of the frame as Brandon Raquet homered to the deepest part of the park. Devanney walked to start the ninth, and Oldham smacked a three-bagger off the wall in straightaway center to make it 9-2. Sprake then retired the first Tribe batter and the defense turned a 6-4-3 double play to secure the victory.
How It Happened (Game Two): The Phoenix had an opportunity in the top of the first as Satterfield and Devanney drew a pair of one-out walks and moved up on a wild pitch, but the Seahawks retired the next two batters to escape the jam. In the second, Cicci walked to force UNCW to bring in reliever Breydan Gorham, and Spurlin greeted him with a moon shot to left center. Adcock followed suit with a solo shot in the third to give the maroon and gold a 3-0 lead.
UNCW finally scratched across a run in the sixth as the leadoff man reached on an Elon throwing error and took second on an interference call. A Cole Weiss RBI double to right center trimmed the Phoenix lead to 3-1. Weiss moved to third on a ground out, but McCarthy made a critical heads up play as he fielded a liner back at him and threw over to Satterfield to send Weiss back to the dugout. Noah Bridges then chased a 3-2 pitch as Elon limited the damage.
The Phoenix was able to get the run back in the seventh. Spurlin walked to start the frame and moved up on a Stanley sacrifice bunt. The second baseman was then waved home as Galason hit a bloop single to shallow center. UNCW threatened in the home half of the inning as the teal, gold, and navy put runners in scoring position, but McCarthy fanned one batter and Justice struck out the next to keep it a 4-1 game. Elon then retired the side in order in the ninth to punch its ticket to Sunday’s title game.
Notes: Elon will play for its first conference title since winning the SoCon tournament in 2013. The three tournament wins are also the team’s most since the 2013 squad went on a tear and won five straight after dropping its tourney opener 10-1 to Furman…Elon is looking to become the first CAA to sweep both the regular season and tournament titles since the 2012 UNCW team…McCarthy set career highs with his eight strikeouts and 6.2 innings pitched in just his second career start.
On Deck: Tomorrow’s CAA Championship final, originally scheduled for 1 p.m., has been moved up to an 11 a.m. start. Fans who purchased an all-session pass can bring their Day 4 ticket to the ticket booth and receive a complimentary ticket for the game.