Diamond Hawks clinch series, move to top of CAA

Brandon Sans, Staff Writer

Freshman Zarion Sharpe lost his no-hit bid in the seventh inning Saturday vs. Northeastern, but right fielder Casey Golden gave him all the support he needed with the first at-bat for UNC Wilmington.

Golden and the rest of UNCW’s high-powered offense toppled Northeastern 11-4 to give the Seahawks the series victory while ascending to the top of the Colonial Athletic Association standings.

“(The game was) extremely well played on our side,” said head coach Mark Scalf. “Our players are beginning to believe in one another again.”

Golden took the second pitch thrown by Northeastern (22-21, 11-6 CAA) starting pitcher David Stiehl deep for the first of three runs UNCW (23-22, 11-6) would score in the inning. Golden furthered his torrid weekend with a single and double that left him only a triple shy of the cycle. On the weekend, he has three doubles and two home runs.

“We continued the offense from last night,” said Golden. “As a team, we’re seeing the ball well and doing our job at-bat to at-bat.”

In the best start of his college career, Sharpe was both aggressive and efficient in his 8.1 innings of work. Until a seventh-inning solo home run by Ryan Soloman, it seemed Sharpe was on his way to the first UNCW no-hitter in 22 years.

“We believe everything we do we have to have a lot of confidence,” said Sharpe. “Each weekend I want to go and set a tone for the team.”

Second baseman Brian Mims and catcher Ryan Jeffers went back-to-back for home runs in the fourth inning. Mims’ three-run home run drifted over the left field wall, while Jeffers’ solo home run provided an exclamation point to the inning

More important than anything, though, is that UNCW is now in a three-way tie for first place in the CAA standings with Northeastern and William & Mary. With only six CAA games remaining, tomorrow’s series finale against the Huskies becomes more crucial than ever.

Stat of the Night: Terrance Connelly got the 200th hit of his career with a first-inning single.

Quote of the Night: “It’s hard not to think about it. You look at the scoreboard and see it. You try to block it out and keep executing pitches” – Zarion Sharpe, on carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning