The Elon University baseball team defeated James Madison University (JMU) with a score of 3-0 on Sunday afternoon at April 2 Latham Park, sweeping the Dukes in their three-game series and extending a winning streak to six.
Although the Phoenix won the first two games of the series in high-scoring affairs, Sunday’s game was decidedly a pitching duel. Elon freshman pitcher Kyle Brnovich threw a complete game shutout, only giving up two hits through his nine scoreless frames.
Brnovich carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning when JMU’s Jack Hamner singled to left, breaking up the bid. He struck out six JMU batters through his outing’s 122 pitches. The afternoon’s win moved his record to 2-2 on the season.
Even after losing the no-hit bid, Brnovich stayed in the game and didn’t appear to lose any of his early lusters.
“For me, it was just go out there and let them put the ball in play,” Brnovich said. “It’s going to take a lot for them to get a run. I’ve got a great eight guys behind me. I was very thankful they got it going out there. There was never a time in my mind I was thinking of coming out.”
Both teams’ bats were stagnant throughout the game’s early innings, with the first run of the game coming in the seventh, when sophomore shortstop Ryne Ogren hit a solo home run over on a line shot to left field, putting the Phoenix on the board. Elon added two more runs in the eighth, on hits from senior right fielder Kyle Jackson and freshman left fielder Tyler Stanley.
Just as Brnovich frustrated JMU batters, the Dukes had a weapon of their own on the mound. JMU junior Josh Silvestri put together six innings, only giving up one hit while striking out three. JMU’s loss was credited to senior Michael Evans, who gave up all three runs in the eighth on just 24 pitches.
Although Elon struggled on offense, Brnovich’s strong pitching gave the Phoenix reason to be hopeful.
“It’s really awesome to see that kid throw,” Ogren said of Brnovich’s breakout performance. “He’s a freshman, but he’s mature. He’s like a senior on the mound.”
The Phoenix have not lost since March 24 when they fell to Northeastern University at home. That loss was their only defeat in conference play, giving the Phoenix a 5-1 record in the Colonial Athletic Association.
“Winning is fun,” said head coach Mike Kennedy. “When you’re stringing the together, the energy and the confidence is at an all-time high right now. But this game will humble you real quick, and that’s the message we try to share with our guys and keep them on task.”
Elon will try to improve their overall record of 15-13 in its next two games, as the team kicks off a two-day home-and-away series against Wake Forest University. The first game of the series is on Tuesday April 4 at 6 p.m. in Winston-Salem.