Seahawks blank Mountaineers in weekend opener

Brian Carpenter

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Seahawks blank Mountaineers in weekend opener

Pitcher No. 21 Alex Royalty

Pitcher No. 21 Alex Royalty

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Pitcher No. 21 Alex Royalty

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Noah Powers/The Seahawk

Pitcher No. 21 Alex Royalty

Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

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Strikeouts were the story on Friday at Brooks Field as UNC Wilmington defeated Appalachian State, 2-0. The Seahawks improved to 4-1 on the season.

Between the two teams, App. State and UNCW pitchers combined to strike out 25 batters.

After defeating sixth-ranked North Carolina in Chapel Hill on Tuesday, the Seahawks were looking to keep the momentum going after a big win and build upon it as they returned home for their first series of 2018.

“When you get to come back home after a big win like that, it’s really nice,” said Austin Easter. “To be able to play in front of your home fans and keep carrying the momentum. It’s always nice to get a win in Chapel Hill.”

Alex Royalty took the mound for UNCW in his second start of the season after pitching on Opening Day against Eastern Kentucky. In five innings, Royalty was able to manage five strikeouts, three walks and zero hits allowed in 78 pitches.

“It’s not as well as I wanted to do, but when you have that bullpen to back us up – they do a really good job for us, so it’s a sigh of relief,” said Royalty.

Between Easter, who took over for Royalty in the sixth inning, and Clark Cota, who came on for the ninth inning save, the UNCW bullpen combined to strike out eight batters in four innings of relief.

“Our bullpen has been really stout this season,” said Easter “We have brought in a couple of guys as junior college transfers and some freshmen that can really help us. I think it is going to help us this year.”

UNCW’s offense struggled against the Mountaineer pitching staff. The Seahawks got a run in the third inning on an error from App. State second baseman Bailey Welch, as he dropped the ball on an exchange from the shortstop Joel McDaniel, which allowed Ryan Jeffers to score from second.

In the fourth inning, Noah Bridges hit an RBI Single to score Mason Berne with one out in the inning. It was all the Seahawks needed.

Stat of the Night: Austin Easter tied his career high in strikeouts over a single relief appearance, striking out six batters.

Quote of the Night: “We expect our pitching staff to go out and compete like those three did tonight. Hopefully tomorrow with Zarion (Sharpe) on the mound and the bullpen full, we will get a chance to see some other guys do the same thing.” – UNCW coach Mark Scalf