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Seahawks Stun Phoenix With Incredible Rally

Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications  
Release: 06/01/2008
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CARY, N.C. Trailing 11-4 in the ninth, UNC Wilmington exploded for 11 runs as the Seahawks eliminated rival and third-seed Elon with a 15-11 win on Sunday at the NCAA Cary Regional at the USA Baseball Complex.

The Seahawks ran their record to 44-16-1 and reached the regional championship game for the third time in four NCAA tournament appearances. UNCW will face top-seeded UNC Chapel Hill at 520 p.m. The Phoenix, meanwhile, concluded their season with a 44-18 mark.

Senior pinch hitter Shane French knocked in the go-ahead runs with a 2-run double off the right center field wall to make it 13-11. Senior Daniel Hargrave knocked in pinch runner Matt Holt and would later score the final run on a wild pitch.

Offensively for the Seahawks, sophomore Bobby Leeper had four of UNCW’s 14 hits. Leeper knocked in three and scored twice. Fellow sophomore Mike Rooney added two hits, drove in two and scored twice.

Sophomore Bryan Booth (1-0) earned the win throwing 2/3 of an inning in relief for the Seahawks.

Freshman Tom Girdwood was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs on three hits and a pair of walks and not retiring a batter.

After seeing both teams fail to score in the first three innings, Leeper tripled in senior Nate Hall in the fourth, who doubled earlier in the inning, to give UNCW a 1-0 lead. On the play, though, Leeper was called out after coming off the bag at third.

Bennett Davis tied the game with a leadoff homer to left in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back singles by Chase Austin and Mike Melillo put runners at first and third for the Phoenix, but Seahawk starter Seth Frankoff induced Mike Lobacz to hit into an inning-ending double play.

Senior Mark Carver started a 2-out rally in the sixth after being hit by a pitch and a walk to Hall moved him to second. Leeper lined a 3-1 fastball into left to score Carver and give UNCW a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and two out, senior pinch hitter Jes Snyder lined a 2-strike single to left to plate two runs and give UNCW a 4-1 lead.

Elon fired back in the bottom of the frame with six runs to take the lead, 7-4, as 10 batters made their way to the plate. Frankoff allowed a lead off double and left the game in favor of freshman reliever Cameron Roth. Roth retired the first batter, but Elon erupted with six consecutive hits off Roth and freshman reliever Stephen Harrold. Roth was tagged for three runs, all earned, on three hits in 1/3 of an inning.

The Seahawks looked to answer in the seventh when Jared Kernodle hit the first two batters, but the freshman worked out of the jam by retiring the heart of the Seahawk lineup to preserve Elon’s lead.

Elon continued to add to its lead in the eighth by taking an 11-4 lead with four more runs.

In the ninth, senior Jason Appel became the school’s career-hit leader with a RBI single. Appel concluded his career with 257 hits. Carver followed with a RBI single and Hall doubled two more runs in to make it 11-8. Rooney tied the game with a 2-run single and French followed with a ringing double off the wall to give UNCW the lead.
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