WILMINGTON, N.C. (UNCWSports.com) – Mason Berne’s grand slam in the fifth inning backed strong six innings from starter Alex Royalty as UNCW picked up a 6-5 win over Elon in a key Colonial Athletic Association game on Friday at Brooks Field.
The Seahawks improved to 26-15 overall and 8-5 in the league while the Phoenix dropped to 25-17 and 7-6. For UNCW it was their sixth win in their last seven outings.
Royalty (5-4) earned his second consecutive win, allowing two runs, one earned, on four hits and two walks. He struck out six and recorded eight ground ball outs during his outing.
Clark Cota earned his conference-leading ninth save, retiring two of the three batters he faced in the ninth as Elon moved to within a run.
Elon starter Kyle Brnovich (5-2) walked a season-high four in a season-low 4 2/3 innings. He allowed six runs, all earned.
Cam Devaney collected a game-high three hits for the Phoenix while Ryne Ogren added two hits and three runs batted in, all on a bases-loaded double in the ninth.
Berne’s grand slam was on the eighth pitch of his at bat that saw he in a 0-2 count before evening the count and fouling off three pitches. Berne then turned on the next pitch and belted his ninth homer of the season.
Up next: The series continues on Saturday at 2 p.m. George Kirby (7-1, 2.27 ERA) gets the start for the Phoenix and the Seahawks will send Landen Roupp (0-2, 2.88 ERA) to the mound.
How it happened: UNCW scored twice in the second and built a 6-0 lead following Berne’s grand slam in the fifth. The Seahawks, though, had to hold off the Phoenix, which scored five runs over the final four innings.
Inside the box score: Elon’s Brynovich needed 103 pitches to go 4 2/3 innings … Berne now has 24 two-out RBI’s following his grand slam … UNCW managed just one hit with two out (Berne’s grand slam) … Elon finished with two, two-out hits.
Notes: The grand slam was the first by a Seahawk since 2016 when Gavin Stupienski cleared the bases with a homer on Apr. 17 versus East Tennessee State … Jackson Meadows stole two bases in the fifth inning … UNCW is now 9-1 in one-run games and 19-0 when leading after six innings … Berne also extended his consecutive games on base streak to 35 and tying Jason Appel (2008) and Steven Linkous (2016) for fifth on UNCW’s all-time list … Cota’s 13 saves moves him into a tie with Stephen Harrold (2008-10) for fourth on UNCW’s career list … His nine saves are tied with Adam Paul (2006) for third on the single-season list.