2021 UNCW baseball Media Day

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – With opening day set to take place on Feb. 19, UNC Wilmington’s (UNCW) baseball team held its annual media day on Monday afternoon via Zoom. Head Coach Randy Hood and a few players answered questions and spoke about the anticipation leading up to the 2021 season.

Veteran Experience

The Seahawks will have four seniors returning after a shortened 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 virus. Cole Weiss, Luke Gesell, Breydan Gorham and Zachary Bridges will all be returning to Brooks Field after being granted an extra year of eligibility.

“I’m very happy with where we’re at and who we have back,” said Hood. “We got a great group of returning experienced pitchers…guys that have pitched a lot for us the past three to four years and have been in a lot of big games, won a lot of games and been in a lot of championships.”

The Hawks currently have 42 players on the active roster, which is about seven more than usual according to Coach Hood. Extended eligibility and the COVID-19 pandemic parameters have allowed larger roster sizes for teams and UNCW have obviously taken advantage.

“We feel comfortable with some of the young players, transfers and pitchers that we brought in our program,” said Hood.

The Seahawks’ incoming class for the 2021 season includes nine freshmen and five transfers. Nine of the 14 newcomers were locally grown in North Carolina.


“I think we are going to be a really strong defensive team,” said Hood. “From a position-player standpoint, I think we have eight or nine of our everyday starters back. We are fortunate enough to have those guys back and excited to see them mix with our newcomers.”

With speed from Noah Bridges and Trevor Marsh in the outfield combined with Weiss’s gold-glove ability at the hot corner, the Seahawks will be a tough team to score runs against. Not to mention UNCW’s ace Landen Roupp who was voted as the CAA Preseason Player of the Year.

UNCW will miss left-hander Zarion Sharpe as a key piece to its bullpen. Sharpe signed with the Minnesota Twins after forgoing his senior year with the Hawks.

A Feeling Unlike Any Other

The last time the Hawks were on the diamond was March 11, 2020 when UNCW’s Matt Suggs hit a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to defeat rival East Carolina, 5-2.

“It was unlike any other,” answered Suggs after he was asked about the feeling of that moment that happened nearly one year ago. “This is the longest any of us have gone without college baseball. All of us are just ready to get back out on the field…we just can’t wait to get back out there.”

Similar to last year, UNCW has high hopes for this upcoming season; one that they hope isn’t taken away from them without getting a say in the matter.

The Seahawks will open up with a fifteen-game homestand to start the season that begins with Virginia Commonwealth University on Feb. 19 at 4 p.m.