Pitching will once again be the key to success for the Elon University baseball team.
The Phoenix looks to be shuffling its weekend rotation for the third time in as many weeks as it travels down Interstate-40 to take on the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in a three-game Southern Conference series.
Two weeks ago at Wofford College, Elon coach Mike Kennedy gave junior Jake Stalzer, who normally throws on Sundays, the weekend off to regroup. That seemed to work, as he tossed eight innings of four-hit ball in a win this past weekend against Appalachian State University.
Against Appalachian State, Elon rolled with its normal rotation but saw Saturday starter and sophomore Michael Elefante struggle in allowing five runs on six hits in just 2.2 innings. This week, there is no probable starter for Saturday listed.
The Phoenix lost 10-7 on the road Tuesday to the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, a game in which the pitching had trouble finding the strike zone. Four wild pitches brought in four runs, and four batters were walked in a third inning that let UNCW score four runs and go up 8-0.
There doesn't seem to be many options for Kennedy to fill in on Saturday, with freshman Mike Krill and sophomore Tyler Manez both hitting bumps against UNCW. Freshman Matt Harris (3-0, 2.91 earned run average), who made three starts early in the season, is a possibility, but he's been used primarily in relief on Friday in recent weeks.
UNCG is 4-8 in SoCon play, but sports the league's second best hitter when it comes to batting average. Senior Sean Guite is hitting .400 with 58 hits, an average second only to Elon junior Casey Jones, who is hitting .404. Jones saw his 26-game hitting streak end at UNCW Tuesday.
Junior Lucas Bakker (5-1, 2.54 ERA) is slated to throw on Friday for Elon against UNCG righty Ryan Clark (2-4, 2.89 ERA).