This week in UNCW sports history: CAA competition on the diamond


Genevieve Guenther

Collin Underwood, Staff Writer

As CAA play starts this weekend for the UNC Wilmington softball and baseball teams, The Seahawk looks back on the best conference performances for each team.

In the last ten years, the UNCW softball team has had its fair share of struggles in CAA competition. The Seahawks have only finished with a winning percentage over .400 twice, but they’re on the upswing. In the last two seasons, the softball team has finished with records of 8-10 and 10-10 in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

Last year’s campaign was the best the Seahawks have put together in the last ten years, which placed them fourth in the final CAA standings. Their competitiveness in conference play has also been seen in their tightly contested battles with perennial CAA champion James Madison. Over the last two years, the Seahawks are 0-5 against Dukes, but the numbers tell a much different story than the record tells.

UNCW has only been outscored by 11 runs over the five games, an average difference of 2.2 runs per game. Two of their meetings in 2016 were only decided by one run, with the Seahawks just falling short in their last at-bat. These recent improvements show that head coach Kristy Norton’s regime is moving out of the cellar of the CAA.

For the UNC Wilmington baseball team, their best conference record over the last ten years came in 2008. That season, the Seahawks finished atop the CAA standings, winning the regular season title with a 25-4-1 record (.850). The tie for UNCW came in a matchup at Northeastern that went deep into extra innings.

The game had to be called off due to a travel curfew for the conference, and UNCW had to travel back from Boston that night. The Seahawks started off conference play with a 12-game winning streak. UNCW then ran into trouble with Northeastern, as they lost the first decision 6-4 and tied them later in the series. though the Seahawks won the regular season title, they were not able to win the conference tournament.

UNCW lost to William & Mary in the winner’s bracket and George Mason in the loser’s bracket as they failed to claim the CAA’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. However, with a record of 42-15-1, the Seahawks were awarded an at-large bid in the Chapel Hill regional.

The Seahawks would meet up with future conference foe Elon, beating them in both of their matchups of the regional. After each win against Elon, the Seahawks were pitted against the host UNC Chapel Hill Tarheels. UNCW failed to get past the Tarheels and into the super regionals, as they lost both decisions 5-1 and 7-3 respectively.

Both the softball and baseball team will kick off their conference play this weekend against Hofstra, with baseball playing host to the Pride and softball traveling north to play on the road in Hampstead, NY.