Seahawks split series with Cincinnati

Zachary Kilby, Sports Editor

WILMINGTON, North Carolina – UNC Wilmington (7-3) split four-game series with visiting Cincinnati (3-7) this past weekend after Trevor Marsh’s walk off homerun on Sunday capped off a remarkable comeback after the Hawks trailed 8-0 after the first three innings. 

Game 1: UNCW 14, Cincinnati 10 

Thursday’s series-opener saw six home runs, 24 runs, and 25 hits throughout the course of nine innings. UNCW’s offense got started quickly with three runs in the first off Jac Croom’s RBI double and Dillon Lifrieri single that scored two. 

Freshman Jacob Shafer made his collegiate debut for the Seahawks. The 6-foot-8-inches right-hander pitched 4.1 innings, gave up six hits, and allowed four runs.

“I thought Jacob Shafer gave us a great start in his first outing,” said UNCW Head Coach Randy Hood. “His command was great the first four innings…we felt like he had given us everything we needed for a first start.” 

Brooks Baldwin, Cole Weiss and Matt Suggs all homered in Thursday’s contest. All nine Seahawk starters got a base hit, including two for Baldwin and Croom who are at the top of UNCW’s order. 

Breydan Gorham got his first win of the season after pitching the final three innings while giving up only two hits and two runs. The senior help give the Seahawks their 1,300th win as a member of Division I, dating back to 1977. 

Game 2: Cincinnati 7, UNCW 4 

Baldwin got things started early again for the Seahawks as the sophomore blasted his fourth home run on the young season. UNCW scored three more in the first to jump out to a 4-0 lead in the opening frame. 

Landen Roupp gave up four runs in the third, but the senior looked good throughout his five innings of work on Friday. Roupp finished the day giving up five hits, six runs and struck out eight. 

Cincinnati would have three solo-run innings in the second, fifth and eight to go along with their crooked number in the fifth. The Hawks would not score again after their four-run inning in the first. 

“We needed to score more runs when it’s all said and done,” said Hood. “We have just got to find a way to keep tacking on runs and we’ve got to do a better job on the mound of pitching with leads.”

Game 3: Cincinnati 5, UNCW 4 

Once again, the Hawks would jump out to a 4-0 lead through the first four innings, but Luke Gesell broke down in the sixth after giving up four runs. 

Cincinnati’s Jake Murray would hit a solo homer in the ninth to push the Bearcats over the finish line and give his team its second consecutive win. 

UNCW’s top three of Baldwin, Croom and Weiss all went hitless on Saturday. The Hawks will need offensive contributions from these three on a consecutive basis in order to produce runs. 

Game 4: UNCW 9, Cincinnati 8 

Marsh’s walk off homerun in the bottom of the ninth saved the day for the Hawks and capped off a comeback after UNCW trailed the Bearcats 8-0 after three innings. 

“I was looking for one pitch only,” said Marsh. “I was just trying to get on base and pass it to the next guy.” 

Seahawk closer Adam Smith secured his second win of the season after pitching a scoreless eighth inning and striking out two. 

Coach Hood used every player on his roster Sunday afternoon to secure the series split with Cincinnati. 

“I’m proud of our guys fighting back,” said Hood. “I thought it was a competitive four game series. We got some big performances out of our bullpen and a lot of production up and down our lineup.” 

Up Next: UNCW vs Appalachian State 

UNCW will host the Mountaineers for a three-game series March 12-14. First pitch is scheduled for Friday at 6 p.m.