WILMINGTON, NC (COURTESY UNCWSPORTS.COM) — Alex Royalty struck out 12 over eight scoreless innings and Mason Berne collected three hits and drove in two as UNCW blanked North Carolina Central, 3-0, on Friday at Brooks Field.
The Seahawks snapped a six-game losing skid and improved to 12-16 while the Eagles dipped to 15-16 with their second straight loss.
Royalty (4-2) scattered three hits and walked none while posting a new career high for strikeouts. His eight innings were also a career-long for the Raleigh, N.C., native.
Austin Easter struck out two in a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his first career save.
Berne held game-high honors with three hits while Kennard McDowell added two, including his three home run of the season leading off the Seahawk fifth inning.
NCCU starter Devin Sweet (3-3) allowed two runs on five hits and a pair of walks in five innings. He finished with five strikeouts.
Evan Holland paced NCCU with two hits on the night.
Up next: The series continues in Durham with a 6 p.m. start at the Durham Athletic Park.
How it happened: Berne opened the scoring in the second inning with a single through the leftside that score Ryan Jeffers, who opened the inning with a single. A walk to Riley Zayicek one batter later moved Jeffers into scoring position.
Home Runs: NCCU: none; UNCW: McDowell 3 (off Sweet leading off the fifth inning)
Inside the box score: Royalty was in command from the first inning, allowing just one leadoff hitter to reach safely … NCCU went 0-9 with two outs and 0-8 with RISP.
Notes: Royalty dropped his ERA from 4.05 to 3.38 with his eight scoreless innings … Brian Mims and Nick Feight saw their consecutive games on base streak halted at 22 and 21, respectively … Feight’s 11-game hitting streak also was snapped … The last Seahawk to strikeout 12 in a game was Mat Batts (at William & Mary, Apr. 4, 2014) … UNCW’s last shutout came against Campbell in 2014 … Easter became the third Seahawk to post a save this season.