WILMINGTON, N.C. (UNCWSports.com) – Mason Berne powered UNCW to a 6-5 win with a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth as the Seahawks took the opener of a three-game series from visiting College of Charleston on Thursday at Brooks Field.
With the win, the Seahawks ran their record to 33-19 overall and 14-8 in the Colonial Athletic Association while the Cougars fell to 34-17 and 14-8. UNCW has now won 11 games this season in its final at bat with three of them being bottom of the ninth home runs.
Henry Ryan (2-0) was credited with the win in relief. The righthander stranded a runner on third in the ninth inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
Berne finished with three hits and drove in two run. Ryan Jeffersadded two hits of his own, including a game-tying round tripper in the seventh inning, and scored three runs.
Bradley Dixon, Luke Morgan and Clay Hunt all finished with two hits for the Cougars, who carried a 5-4 lead into the ninth. Ari Sechopoulos belted a three-run homer in a four-run sixth inning to as the Cougars wiped out a 3-0 deficit.
CofC reliever Nathan Ocker (2-3) took the loss, allowing Berne’s homer, his 11th of the season.
Up next: The series continues on Friday with a 6 p.m. start at Brooks Field. Griffin McLarty (7-2) will get the start for the Cougars while the Seahawks counter with Landen Roupp (0-3).
How it happened: In the ninth, Jeffers was hit by a pitch to open the inning and on the very next pitch, Berne drove a ball over the wall in left center giving the Seahawks a 6-5 win over the Cougars.
Inside the box score: UNCW landed its leadoff hitter on base six times (Jeffers three times), but managed just one two-out hit on the night (Cole Weiss RBI single in the fifth) … All three CofC two-out hits came in its four-run sixth inning.
Notes: Berne extended his consecutive games reaching base safely to 46 games … It was the bullpen’s 24th win of the season … Jeffers (3), Berne (3) and Kep Brown (3) have hit UNCW’s last nine home runs … Tonight was UNCW’s 24th game of the season decided by two or fewer runs and the Seahawks own a 13-2 record in one-run outcomes.