The bats remained hot for the Elon University baseball team today in its doubleheader against the No. 22 University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
Although the Phoenix generated 15 runs and 20 hits in its two games, the team split the doubleheader after winning 9-3 and losing 14-6.
"If you had told me coming in we'd get two out of three, I'd take it," Elon head coach Mike Kennedy said. "We did enough. I thought we played really well for two games on both sides of the ball."
The weekend proved that Elon could compete against the best teams in the Colonial Athletic Association. The Seahawks entered the series in first place in the conference with a 28-9 (11-1 CAA) record.
But the Phoenix was undeterred by its tough opponent.
After winning Friday's series opener 14-3, the Phoenix continued to rack up runs in the first game of today's doubleheader.
UNCW took an early 2-0 lead following a two-run home run from sophomore Casey Golden. Elon countered in the bottom of the frame with a pair of its own runs.
Senior Casey Jones led off the inning with a four-pitch walk and scored on a past ball. Senior Ryan Cooper evened up the score later in the inning with an RBI single to drive in sophomore Kory Shumate.
Elon's offense exploded in the bottom of the second with four runs in response to a UNCW run in the top of the frame. The four-run rally started with no on and two outs.
After junior Austin Leeney doubled to right center, Jones hit an RBI single to right. Shumate then gave the Phoenix a 4-3 lead with a single to left and scored on a two RBI double from sophomore Nick Zammarelli.
Elon tacked on a run in the fourth and two in the fifth to secure a 9-3 win.
While the team notched the series victory with a win in the first game of the doubleheader, it hoped to pull off a sweep.
The Phoenix appeared in good shape early in its second game but couldn't get the necessary support from its pitchers.
"[Taking two out of three] was definitely our goal coming into it,"Zammarelli said. "And then the sweep would have been the bonus."
Zammarelli led the early offensive charge with an RBI double in the bottom of the first. Junior Danny Lynch then singled to center field to put Elon ahead 2-0.
Senior Chris King hit a solo home run in the second inning to add to the lead and record his 12th homer on the season.
The rest of the game went downhill.
The Seahawks tied the game at three during a four-hit third inning and took a 5-3 lead by getting a run in the top of the fourth and fifth.
Though the Phoenix remained in striking distance, a five-run UNCW sixth put the game out of reach. The top of the sixth saw three Elon pitchers. Jones, who only appeared on the mound in one previous game this season, led Elon out of a jam.
The deficit increased in the top of the seventh when Jones allowed a pair of runs. The Seahawk lead extended to 14-3 through seven and a half innings.
Zammarelli broke the spell of 14 unanswered runs with a three-run homer to left. He finished the second game 4-for-4 with four RBI, a walk, a double and a homer.
"I've been feeling pretty good at the plate, so hopefully this is one of those games that really gets me in a groove," Zammarelli said. "But as a whole, we swung it really well this weekend."
But Zammarelli could not carry the Phoenix offense by himself. In the end, the Phoenix lost 14-6. With the loss, Elom drops to 22-20 (11-7 CAA).
"[Winning a series against UNCW] tells your club what you tell them all along," Kennedy said. "When you play well, then you can beat anybody. You can play and be in games and find a way to win."
Elon will look to rebound from the loss with a win at Davidson College Tuesday at 6 p.m.
Elon head coach Mike Kennedy
Elon right fielder Nick Zammarelli