Golden’s walk-off homer earns UNCW 12-inning win

Brandon Sans, Staff Writer

With nine Colonial Athletic Association games remaining and a possibility of claiming the league’s regular season title and home-field advantage in the CAA Tournament, UNC Wilmington needed a win.

It took twelve innings, but right fielder Casey Golden’s walk-off home run gave UNCW a 4-3 win Friday night over Northeastern.

“This was a huge game being the first game of the series,” said head coach Mark Scalf. “One big swing from Casey (changed everything).”

As has been the case all year, UNCW turned to sophomore Alex Royalty in need of a win and got it from its top pitcher. Excluding one run allowed in the second inning, Royalty kept the Huskies at bay.

Northeastern’s best chance to end Royalty’s day early came in the fifth inning when it put two runners in scoring position with two outs. He then went to work against junior Mason Koppens, who struck out swinging.

Closing pitcher Clark Cota stayed on the mound during extra innings without allowing the Huskies to score. It was Cota’s longest outing of the year.

“We looked at the possibility of going to someone else in the eleventh,” said Scalf. “He said he was good so we stayed with him.”

It would remain tied until Golden sent one into the night sky that gave the Seahawks a much-needed win. It was the first extra-inning game of the year.

“The pressure kind of gets to you,” said Golden. “Leadoff batters are more important, but it’s still the same game.”

Despite an up-and-down season, UNCW has clawed its way to a .500 record (22-22) and is in control of its own destiny moving forward. A sweep of Northeastern this weekend would place them at the top of the CAA standings.

“We’re just looking to win games and play Seahawk baseball,” said Golden. “Take it one game at a time and down the road get in first place and stay there.”

Stat of the Night: Golden’s walk-off home run was the first since 2013.

Quote of the Night: “It just feels good to get a win. We started strong and lulled, but pitchers on both sides of the ball pounded the strike zone and made it hard to hit in situations, but both teams threw well.” – Casey Golden