UNCW Wins Key RPI Tilt Over Elon, 7-5
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - UNCW reliever Kelly Secrest retired all 16 batters he faced in 5 1/3 innings, including 12 by strikeout, as the Seahawks topped visiting Elon, 7-5, in a key non-conference game between the two rivals at Brooks Field on Wednesday.
The Seahawks improved to 25-16 with their fifth straight win while the Phoenix dropped to 23-20. The teams split the regular season series, each winning on its home field.
Secrest (2-1) tied the school record for strikeouts by a reliever, matching Allen Flood's mark in 2007 against Northeastern. He bested his previous career-long appearance of three innings set earlier this season at TCU.
Elon took a 2-0 lead in the first with a pair of unearned runs when Ryan Kinsella singled in both with two out in the inning off UNCW starter Tyler DeLoach.
The Seahawks, however, answered with four runs in the bottom of the inning against losing pitcher David Whitehead (2-3). Hunter Ridge fueled the outburst with a two-run double to right and Drew Farber added a RBI ground out to cap the scoring.
UNCW extended the lead to 6-1 with single runs in the second and third innings coming on a RBI single from Andrew Cain in the second and Thomas Pope's leadoff round tripper in the third. Pope, the reigning Colonial Athletic Association Player-of-the-Week, also added a double later in the contest to raise his season average to .354.
The Phoenix plated three runs, one earned, in the fourth to narrow their deficit to 6-5. Blaine Bower doubled in one run and Niko Fraser and Sebastian Gomez added RBI ground outs.
In the fourth, Secrest entered the game and fanned the final out of the inning with bases loaded. That strikeout would ignite a span of seven consecutive strikeouts, all swinging, that was halted by Alex Swim's foul out to left to open the seventh. Secrest closed the inning with two more strikeouts.
UNCW struck out a season-high 19 batters in a game that featured a total of 26 whiffs.
Cain, Pope and Michael Bass had two hits apiece for UNCW, which outhit the Phoenix, 9-3.
DeLoach also set a career-high with six strikeouts in three innings of work.
The Seahawks head to Atlanta, Ga., this weekend for a three-game series that begins on Friday at 6 p.m. against CAA rival Georgia State.