June 2, 2013


Hit-Leader Swim Delivers Late for Elon

By Phil Stanton

CBI Co-Founder @roadtoomaha

(photos by Joe Browning)


CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Wouldn’t you want to have your career hits leader at the plate with the season on the line?


Alex Swim’s two-run single capped a three-run eighth as third-seeded Elon rallied past No. 2 UNC Wilmington 6-4 in Game 5 of the Charlottesville Regional at Davenport Field.


The Phoenix (34-29) will face top-seeded Virginia in the championship game this evening at 6 p.m. Elon will have to beat the Cavaliers tonight and tomorrow evening to capture the regional title. The Seahawks end their season at 38-23.


Swim entered the game with 295 hits, including five in two regional contests. He was 0 for 4 when he came to the plate with two on and two out in the bottom of the eighth with the score knotted at 4. A wild pitch put both in scoring position before Swim lined a single up the middle to give the Phoenix a 6-4 lead.


“Again I was proud of our guys,” said Elon head coach Mike Kennedy. “It was another situation where you’re fighting for your life and we’ve been in that quite a bit here lately. We showed a lot of resiliency. We hung in there and had some big hits today with two outs again.”


Elon trailed 4-3 in the middle of the eighth. Antonio Alvarez had a leadoff single, but a 4-6-3 double play seemed to make it advantage Seahawks. Danny Lynch drew a walk and pinch-runner Blaine Bower stole second before a base hit by Chris Bresnahan created a 4-4 deadlock Quinn Bower’s single moved Bresnahan to second and both moved up 90 feet, setting the table for Swim.


The Seahawks used speed to tally their first run. Leadoff hitter Michael Bass legged out a double to left to start the game, sliding in just under ahead of the tag. A fly out to right by Terence Connelly moved Bass to third and he came home on a sac fly to right by Luke Dunlap as UNCW took an early 1-0 lead.


Elon answered in the bottom of the second. Casey Jones had a leadoff single and moved to third on a double just inside the third base bag by Alvarez. A groundout by Chris King brought in Jones and a base hit off the bat Lynch plated Alvarez as the Phoenix took a 2-1 edge.


UNCW tied it in the third as Matt Keeler drew a leadoff walk, was sacrificed to second, advanced to third on a groundout and came home on a base hit to left by Connelly to knot the score at 2. The Seahawks loaded the bases with two away, but a flyout to right kept it tied.


Connelly gets plunked with the bases full in the top of the fourth as UNCW takes a 3-2 lead. But the Seahawks leave the sacks loaded for the second straight frame. UNCW left 10 on base.


“It was a dogfight once again between us and Elon,” said UNCW head coach Mark Scalf. “We had our opportunities early. We left the bases loaded there in the third and left them loaded in the fourth. Any time that happens when you play a quality opponent you’ve got a feeling it may come back to bite you. Unfortunately it did.”


Ryan LaGrange and Corey Dick had consecutive doubles with one away in the top of the fifth as UNCW extended its lead to 4-2.


Sebastian Gomez doubled and scored in the fifth as Elon pulled with one.


In its first two regional games, UNCW had seven scoring innings and put up crooked numbers in six. Today, the Seahawks tallied single runs in four separate frames.


Dylan Clark gave the Phoenix a solid start, going five innings with six hits, four runs (three earned), three walks and no strikeouts. Andrew MacDonald allowed two hits in two scoreless innings before Ryan Pennell (3-2, H, BB, K) worked the final two frames to pick up the victory.


“The bullpen was great,” Kennedy said. “Those two guys out of the pen, MacDonald and Pennell, were outstanding. This guy to my left (Clark) is as tough as they come. He’s pitching with a torn labrum and most guys don’t do that. He wanted the ball and kept us in there. That’s what tough kids who love your program do. I’m proud of him and proud of the effort out guys put forth today.”