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June 3, 2016

2016 Columbia Regional – Game #1

Score: UNCW 11, Duke 1

Winning Pitcher: Foster (13-1)

Losing Pitcher: McAfee (7-5)

Date: Friday, June 3, 2016

Location: Founders Park (Columbia, S.C.)

COLUMBIA, S.C. – UNCW’s vaunted offensive attack was on display at Founders Park as the Seahawks topped Duke, 11-1, in the first game of the 2016 NCAA Columbia Regional. The second-seeded Seahawks (40-17) will play in the winner’s bracket game Saturday at 6 p.m., while the third-seeded Blue Devils (33-23) will face elimination when they take the field Saturday at noon.

The Seahawks were silent for only one inning as UNCW posted six runs in the 2nd inning and five more in the 3rd. They entered the Regional ranking fourth in NCAA Division I baseball in runs scored and eighth in batting average and wasted little time flexing their muscle at the plate.

Senior right-hander Ryan Foster (13-1) took the win, tossing a complete game and allowing just one run while striking out two. Senior right-hander Brian McAfee (7-5) suffered the loss for Duke after he allowed a career-high eight runs in 2.0 innings of work, his shortest career outing.

Sophomore Brian Mims led UNCW at the plate, going 2-for-5 with a double and five RBI, which matched the program’s NCAA Tournament record. All nine of UNCW’s starting hitters tallied at least one hit, while Steven Linkous and Robbie Thorburn each drove home a pair of runs.

Despite the loss, Duke made program history on Friday by participating in its first NCAA Tournament game since 1961. The Blue Devils last appeared in the NCAA postseason 55 years ago, with a 4-3 loss to Boston College at the College World Series in Omaha.

The Seahawks opened the scoring column with a big effort in the bottom of the 2nd. After loading the bases with no one out, UNCW struck first with an RBI single from Thorburn. Kennard McDowell followed with a bases-loaded walk, then Linkous stroked a two-run double down the right field line. Mims followed with a two-RBI single, and by the end of the frame, the Seahawks had built a 6-0 lead.

UNCW struck again in the 3rd inning with five more runs. A bases-loaded walk with Thorburn at the plate led to another run, and three batters later Mims provided the big blow, a three-RBI double to make it 10-0. Gavin Stupienski brought Thorburn home with a bloop double, and UNCW was ahead, 11-0, by the end of the inning.

Duke got on the board in the 6th inning. Chris Proctor led off the inning with a triple and scored one batter later when Jack Labosky provided a sacrifice fly. The tally cut UNCW’s lead to 11-1, but neither team would score again.

Duke will face the loser of Friday evening’s contest between top-seeded and No. 6-ranked South Carolina and fourth-seeded Rhode Island. That elimination game starts Saturday at noon ET, while UNCW will face the winner at 6 p.m. ET.