Seahawks strand too many runners, drop game one to FGCU

Brandon Sans, Staff Writer

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Coming into this season many thought UNC Wilmington’s offense would be powerful enough to mask any shortcomings the pitching staff may encounter while it continued to define roles for the staff. UNCW’s 4-3 loss to Florida Gulf Coast (8-2) showed it still needs to find consistency on offense as well.

“I thought we pitched tonight well enough to win us a ballgame,” said head coach Mark Scalf. “We left too many guys on base again.”

Sophomore pitcher Alex Royalty matched his career-high with seven strikeouts while allowing one run. Most of his evening was spent battling deep into counts, that caused him to exit after 99 pitches over five innings.

“I was locking in on the next pitch,” said Royalty. “But as a Friday night starter, I need to go deeper than five innings to help out our team overall.”

Outside of senior Kennard McDowell, the offense was unable to put together many consecutive at-bats to take advantage of the ten walks it earned Friday night. For McDowell’s part, he went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run in the seventh inning.

UNCW (3-5) loaded the bases four times in the game but was unable to come up with the clutch hit that has eluded its offense lately. Junior Mason Berne described the offense a few weeks ago as having the ability to “keep the line moving.” Moving forward, the players will look to find that similar mindset.

“We as coaches can’t stand in the box for them,” said Scalf. “We can make recommendations, but ultimately it’s got to be them.”

Despite its recent struggles, Scalf has no intention of altering the lineup moving forward. He did not rule out potentially seeing new players in the lineup over the next few games.

“Those guys are hitting pretty close to where they need to be in the lineup, but over the course of the weekend you may see some new faces,” said Scalf.

UNCW has not had a five-game losing streak since the 2012 season. It will look to snap that streak tomorrow in game two of against FGCU at 2 p.m.

Quote of the Night: “We have to show up and keep playing. We need to do a better job of attacking the game. Hopefully, pretty soon it will begin to click.” – UNCW coach Mark Scalf

Stat of the Night: Eight games into the season, UNCW’s success has largely been tied to the offensive production it receives that night. The offense has scored 22 runs in its three wins compared to only 16 runs in five losses.