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WWAY's Friday night sports; UNCW baseball team Towson in series opener & more!

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WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) -- Mat Batts scattered two hits over eight innings and Steven Linkous had three hits and knocked in three runs as UNCW topped Towson, 11-2, in the Colonial Athletic Association series opener on Friday at Brooks Field.

The Seahawks halted a brief three-game skid with the conference win and raised their record to 18-19 overall and 4-5 in the league. The Tigers, who won the CAA title last season, dipped to 17-16 and 1-6 in the circuit.
Batts (3-2) earned his third straight win, allowing one run, unearned, walking one and striking out four.
Chris Acker (2-3) took the loss after allowing two runs in a limited start, after leaving in the bottom of the third with an injury. Kevin Ross gave Towson a strong effort in relief, allowing one earned run and striking out five in 3.2 innings.

Offensively, Luke Dunlap and Ryan LaGrange had two hits with Dunlap connecting on his first homer of the season. Linkous set a new career-high with three runs batted in while Casey Golden, Terence Connelly and Dunlap each collected two RBI’s on the game.

Up next: The series continues on Saturday with a 2 p.m. start.

How it happened: Towson scored first with a run in the second, but UNCW answered with two in the third and exploded for five in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead. In the fourth inning Golden fueled the outburst with a bases-loaded double that scored two and Connelly followed with a RBI ground out to cap the inning.
Inside the box score: UNCW scored 6-of-7 runners from third with less than two out and went 3-for-4 with the bases loaded, including Linkous going 2-for-2 … The Seahawks also advanced runners in 12-of-20 opportunities … Towson was just 1-for-9 with runners on base against Batts and 0-for-3 against William Prince … Batts held the Tigers to 1-for-9 hitting with two out.

Notes: The win also snapped a three-game losing skid to Towson … Batts raised his career strikeout total to 304 and moving into second on the NCAA active career leader list … Batts is also one strikeout behind David Sandlin for third all-time at UNCW (278) … Batts lowered his ERA to 3.00 and has compiled a 0.78 ERA over his three outings and fanned 24 in 23 innings … Opponents are hitting just .171 against him over that duration … LaGrange owns a modest 6-game hitting streak while Golden extended his on-base streak to 11 games.

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SOUTHPORT, NC (UNCW) -– Led by seniors Laverry Kumar and Lori Beth Adams, the UNCW women’s golf team combined for a team total of 310 and is in second place after the first round of the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Golf Championship Friday at the St. James Plantation Reserve Club.

Winners of four of the last seven conference titles, UNCW sits eight shots back of league newcomer College of Charleston as the Cougars posted a 302 team score during Friday’s opening round. Delaware (311) is one shot back of the Seahawks in third while William & Mary (315) is fourth and defending champion James Madison (324) sits in fifth.

“We got off to a great start today as our No. 5 (Megan Burnham) and No. 4 (Laverry Kumar) players started the day with a birdie,” said UNCW Head Coach Cindy Ho. “We were in great shape at the turn as we held the lead, but we ran into some issues on the back nine. We weren’t hitting ball as solidly as we were on the front and maybe that led us to misjudging some things, but we started to let shots get away from us and then it became a matter of survival coming in.”

Kumar (75) and Adams (76) are tied for second and fifth, respectively, as the duo paced the Seahawks on the par-72, 6,066-yard layout during Friday’s opening round. Sophomore Meghan Theiss (78) is tied for 11th while senior Megan Burnham (81) and sophomore Annette Lyche (81) are part of an eight-way tie for 19th to round out the Seahawks lineup.

“Laverry has been an all-conference performer for us during her career and although she may have been struggling at times this year, when it comes time to perform, she knows what to do,” said Ho. “Laverry got off to a great start today by using her accuracy to her advantage as this course rewards those players who are accurate. She knows her game and you have to know your game in order to successful at this time of year.”

College of Charleston’s Laura Fuenfstueck holds a three-shot lead over the field following an even par 72 during a steady opening round that featured 15 pars. Fuenstueck’s teammate Louise Olsson (75) and Richmond’s Lauren Condor (75) joined Kumar in the tie for second place.

Second round action in the 2014 CAA Women’s Golf Championship is scheduled to begin Saturday at 9 a.m. The Seahawks will once again be paired with College of Charleston and Delaware and will begin their round on the No. 1 tee starting at 9:45 a.m.

“We are in a good position heading into the second round,” Ho said. “The weather is going to play a role in the outcome of tomorrow’s round, so we must find a way to not let the conditions affect us mentally. We have to keep our mind on the shot at hand and not worry so much about the shot before. We’ve just got to hit the ball solid and be ready to grind out a score in what has the potential to be a tough day weather-wise.”

Team Results: 1 College of Charleston (302); 2 UNCW (310); 3 Delaware (311); 4 William & Mary (315); 5 James Madison (324); 6 Towson (326); 7 Dayton (328); 8 Richmond (333); 9 Hofstra (339)

UNCW results: Laverry Kumar (75/T-2nd); Lori Beth Adams (76/T-5th); Meghan Theiss (78/T-11th); Megan Burnham (81/T-19th); Annette Lyche (81/T-19th)

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WILLIAMSBURG, VA (UNCW) -– Top-seed UNCW moved one step closer to its first conference championship by breezing past No. 8 Hofstra, 4-0, in one of four quarterfinal matches Saturday at the 2014 Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Tennis Championships.

The Seahawks won their 10th consecutive match and hiked their record to an impressive 15-3 this spring with the easy win over the Pride at William & Mary’s Millie West Tennis Facility. Hofstra, which had a six-match winning streak snapped, closed out its season at 8-8.

“I was very pleased with how we played today,” said second-year Head Coach Evan Clark, the 2013 CAA Coach-of-the-Year. “It’s always nice to get any nervous energy out and work out other kinks in the first match of the tournament.

“We will need to have our best stuff tomorrow and be prepared for a very good JMU team in the semifinals.”

Coach Evan Clark’s team quickly took the doubles point and then swept the first three singles matches off the court to vault into the semifinals. UNCW faces No. 4 James Madison at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with the winner reaching Sunday’s finals.

In the win over the Pride, UNCW won the early point with convincing victories at No. 2 and No. 3 doubles. The No. 3 tandem of Kelly Cameron and Miller Hales moved to a perfect 11-0 on the year with an 8-2 decision over Giulia Leone and Bianca Posa. Senior Angie Sekely and Alyssa Ritchie, playing No. 2, then clinched the point with an 8-3 decision over Hofstra’s Bianca Derrick and Louise Lopez.

UNCW wasted no time in taking the match with three quick wins in singles at No. 1, No. 5 and No. 6.

Sophomore Christine Kharkevitch, playing the No. 5 position, was the first off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph over Bianca Derrick. Sekely, the 2013 CAA Player-of-the-Year, then trounced Sarah Bowen, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 1 singles to set up the clincher.

Cameron delivered the decisive point by rolling past Posa, 6-1, 6-0, at No. 6 singles to keep the Seahawks unbeaten against the Pride in six matches lifetime.

Sekely, a two-time First-Team All-CAA selection, extended her personal winning streak to 12 matches and the senior from Ontario, Canada, pushed her record to 16-1 this spring.

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RALEIGH, NC (NCSU) -- NC State baseball returned to Doak Field at Dail Park to kick off a 15-game homestand, and started with a 5-1 victory over Boston College on Friday night behind eight innings from Carlos Rodon.

The Wolfpack (21-15, 7-12 ACC) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Those runs equaled the amount of support Rodon had received in his previous four starts combined. Rodon (3-6) claimed his first win since March 8, holding the Eagles (12-25, 3-16) to one earned on six hits and three walks over eight innings while striking out seven. Rodon’s career strikeout total climbs to 398, putting him two shy of becoming the fourth player in ACC history to record 400.

Boston College narrowed the gap to 2-1 in the fifth, but State answered with two in the sixth and one more in the seventh to set the final margin at 5-1.

Andrew Knizner went 2-for-4 with a run and a pair of RBIs on his two-out, two-RBI double in the sixth on a perfectly executed hit and run with Trea Turner and Jake Fincher scoring from first and second. Fincher finished the game 2-for-4 with a run, a stolen base, and an RBI. Turner went 1-for-4 with a run and a walk.

Logan Ratledge continued his hot streak since going to stirrups. The junior provided a 1-for-2 effort with a double, two runs, a stolen base, and two walks. Since rolling up his pants a week ago, Ratledge is batting .500 (6-for-12) with a homer, six RBIs, two doubles, and four walks.

Jake Armstrong contributed a double and an outfield assist from left. Chance Shepard drew a career-high three walks. Preston Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with the game’s first RBI. Palmeiro and Knizner are batting .364 and .390, respectively, for the month of April. Jon Olczak pitched the ninth in a non-save situation, holding the Eagles to one hit.

NC State opened the game with a pair of runs in the bottom first to take command. Knizner started the rally with a single through the right side. Ratledge walked with two away, and Palmeiro singled to right to score Knizner from second. Shepard walked to load the bases, allowing Ratledge to score from third on a passed ball.

After BC trimmed the lead to 2-1 in the fifth, the Pack rallied on Fincher’s single to right. Fincher stole second, and Turner drew a two-out walk, setting up Knizner’s hit-and-run double to make it 4-1. In the seventh, Ratledge led off with a walk and stole second, then scored on Fincher’s one-out single through the left side.

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (UNC) -- Brandon Downes drove in three runs and Nathan Kirby outdueled Trent Thornton as No. 1 Virginia topped North Carolina 3-2 Friday night at Davenport Field. Landon Lassiter and Michael Russell had two hits each for the Tar Heels, who rallied to tie it in the sixth before Virginia scored the game-winner in the bottom half of the frame.

Virginia (32-6, 15-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) struck first in the bottom of the second when Downes drove an 0-1 pitch from Thornton out to left for his fifth home run of the year. It was the second homer allowed by Thornton (7-2) in 2014, and just the fourth extra-base hit against the Charlotte, N.C., sophomore.

And it seemed like it would be enough for the Cavaliers, as Kirby held the Tar Heels scoreless through the first five innings despite Carolina getting the leadoff man on base three times.

But UNC (22-16, 9-10 ACC) equalized against the sophomore lefty in the sixth. Trailing 2-0, UNC put two on with one out when Skye Bolt led off the inning with a walk and moved to third on Lassiter's double to the gap in left center. Parks Jordan then plated Bolt on a chopper to first before Lassiter scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2.

The tie would be short-lived, however, as the Wahoos used a perfect hit-and-run in the bottom of the sixth to put runners on the corners with no one out. John La Prise's single moved Nick Howard to third and Downes' sac fly made it 3-2, despite Bolt getting a second out with a bullet to catch La Prise trying to move up.

Carolina's best chance in the late innings came in the eighth, when Kirby departed with two outs and a runner on second after Wood Myers led off the frame with a single and moved to second on a Bolt sacrifice. It was nearly a bunt hit, but Kirby beat Bolt to the bag by a half-step for the first out of the eighth. Kirby (8-1) then struck out Tom Zengel for the third time before giving way to Whit Mayberry. Mayberry got Lassiter to swing and miss for the final out of the eighth, preserving the Virginia lead.

Trevor Kelley kept the Tar Heels within reach with two scoreless innings of relief, but Howard - the UVa first baseman/closer - struck out the side in the ninth to end it.

Russell led off the game with a double off Kirby that nearly left the yard and added his team-high 14th double of the year in the third.

Carolina will look to even the series Saturday afternoon at 1 when Benton Moss takes the mound opposite Virginia's Josh Sborz. That game will be televised live on the ACC Regional Sports Networks.

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BLACKSBURG, VA (VA TECH) -- For the fifth time this ACC season, Virginia Tech baseball lost a Friday night one-run game, as it came up on the short end of a 12-inning, 3-2 decision against the Duke Blue Devils at English Field.

The loss dropped the Hokies, in conference-games only, to 2-6 in one-run games this year, and they are 2-1 in two-run contests.

Duke (22-17, 10-9 ACC) scored the game winner on a sacrifice fly by Kenny Koplove that scored Cristian Perez, who hit a one-out triple in the 12th.

The Hokies (18-18-1, 7-12) appeared to have completed a comeback and taken a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning when Mark Zagunis, with the bases loaded and two outs, beat out an infield single but was called out.

They had just tied the game at 2-2 a batter earlier when Alex Perez drew a bases-loaded walk that scored Sean Keselica.

Keselica, who made the start on the mound for the Hokies, went 7.1 innings, scattered three hits and struck out three, but walked six batters and allowed two earned runs.

Duke starter Drew Van Orden threw seven innings, allowed just two hits, walked two and struck out three.

It was Keselica that drove in Tech’s first run with a single in the fifth frame that brought home Brendon Hayden.

The game was decided by the bullpens as Robert Huber allowed the Tech tying run to cross the plate, but Nick Hendrix ended the eighth-inning threat, then pitched the last four innings, allowing two hits and striking out seven.

He picked up the win and is now 2-1, while Brad Markey, who went three innings with two strikeouts, was saddled with the loss and is now 2-5.

The two teams will continue the three-game ACC series with a game on Saturday at 2 p.m.

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High School Softball

West Brunswick 15
South Brunswick 1

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