WILMINGTON, North Carolina (UNCWSports.com) – Mason Berne homered and drove in four runs to back the starting pitching of Alex Royalty as UNCW coasted to an 11-1 win over visiting Princeton on Friday at Brooks Field.
The Seahawks improved to 6-3 with the home win while the Tigers opened their season with a loss.
Berne led a 13-hit attack, which also saw two-hit games from Zack Canada, Ryan Jeffers, Cole Weiss and Noah Bridges. UNCW finished the day with four home runs with Canada, Jeffers and Weiss also hitting round trippers.
Royalty (2-0) won his second consecutive start with six strong innings. The righthander held Princeton to two hits while striking out nine during his outing.
Ben Gross (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs on seven hits in three innings.
Sy Snedeker came off the bench for Princeton to break the shutout with a RBI single in the eighth inning.
Up next: The series continues on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at noon. Zarion Sharpe (0-2) gets the nod for UNCW in game one and Nick Bruno will make his first career start in game two. Princeton will counter with lefthander Ryan Smith and Freshman Keith Gabrielson, respectively.
How it happened: The Seahawks built a 7-0 lead in the third inning, plating six runs as they batted around. Home runs off the bats of Canada and Berne highlighted the outburst.
Inside the box score: Princeton was just 1-for4 with RISP while the Seahawks went 3-for-7 … UNCW had five two out hits and four two-out RBI’s … Both teams combined for 25 strikeouts on the afternoon … UNCW reliever Gage Herring needed just 11 pitches to strikeout the side in the Princeton seventh.
Notes: The Seahawks hit four home runs for the first time this season and first time since an 11-4 win over Northeastern on May 6, 2017 … Over the course of his last two outings, Royalty has tossed 11 shutout innings and allowed just two hits … He has 14 strikeouts over that span … 11 runs and 13 hits were season-highs for the Seahawks … UNCW now owns a 7-1 lead in the all-time series with Princeton.