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Opponent Preview: Elon

Meet the Phoenix... Home to one of the best starting pitching rotations in the country

NCAA Men’s College World Series
Not an Elon baseball player
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Who’s the Pack playing?

Opponent: Elon

Mascot: Phoenix | School Location: Elon, NC | Conference: Colonial

2019 Record: 3-0 (0-0, T-1st) | 2018 RPI Rank: 63

2018 Record: 36-23 (16-8, 2nd) | 2018 RPI Rank: 110

2017 Record: 24-32 (12-12, 6th) | 2017 RPI Rank: 210

When? Where? How do I watch?

Location: Latham Park (Elon, NC)

Game Time(s): Tuesday, Feb 19 @ 4:00pm

TV: None :(

Radio: WKNC 88.1 in Raleigh, GoPack All-Access

Live Stats: Elon StatBroadcast

Tell me about this team

Elon started the season off with a bang, sweeping Lafayette by scores of 9-1, 8-0, and 5-1. Granted, Lafayette is a perennial bottom-dweller of D1 baseball, but holding a team to two runs in three games is an impressive feat regardless of competition. Phoenix pitchers allowed just 9 hits, including just one extra-base hit (a double), plus 8 walks and 3 hit-by-pitch over the 27.0 innings across all three games, while striking out 40 batters. Phoenix hitters also racked up 9 extra-base hits of their own (4 2B, 2 3B, 3 HR) and stole six bases in the series sweep.

This Elon team is built on pitching, with a starting rotation that’s among the best in the nation. Junior RHPs Kyle Brnovich and George Kirby are both Top 100 prospects for the 2019 MLB Draft. Brnovich put up the more gaudy numbers a year ago, but Kirby is regarded as the better pro prospect. Redshirt-Junior RHP Mason Daniels, the third starter in the Elon weekend rotation, acquitted himself well in his season debut, going six innings and allowing just one run (earned) on three hits and a walk with eight strikeouts.

If the offense plays up and can produce even at an average level, this team has the arms (the bullpen has some strong pieces, too) to contend for the CAA title. The offense lost four starters from a year ago, including the team’s two top hitters and top two base-stealing threats, so that “if” is a legitimate question.

Who’s on the mound for these guys?

Tuesday: LHP Jared Wetherbee (SO)

Key Players:


1B Joe Satterfield (JR) - .462 BA, .500 OBP, .692 SLG, 13 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 1 HR, 4 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K, 1-1 SB (2018 stats: .268 BA, .357 OBP, .376 SLG, 194 AB, 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 31 R, 43 RBI, 26 BB, 51 K, 2-4 SB). Satterfield is undersized for a first baseman, but the left-handed hitter is one of the better bats on the team.

SS Cam Devanney (RS-JR) - .250 BA, .357 OBP, .250 SLG, 12 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 3 R, 0 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 0-0 SB (2018 stats: .287 BA, .411 OBP, .433 SLG, 157 AB, 6 2B, 1 3B, 5 HR, 28 R, 23 RBI, 30 BB, 24 K, 1-1 SB). Devanney is in his third year as a starter and was a team captain as a redshirt-freshman in 2017. The 2018 2nd Team All-CAA selection is probably the best bat on the team.

OF Anthony Galason (FR) - .444 BA, .500 OBP, .444 SLG, 9 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 3 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K, 0-0 SB. The freshman lead-off hitter is off to a fast start to his collegiate career.

3B Garrett Stonehouse (JR) - .125 BA, .462 OBP, .125 SLG, 8 AB, 0 2B, 0 3B, 0 HR, 1 R, 0 RBI, 4 BB, 1 K, 0-0 SB (2018 stats: .268 BA, .366 OBP, .363 SLG, 179 AB, 9 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 33 R, 38 RBI, 22 BB, 23 K, 4-5 SB). Stonehouse is one of the few Phoenix players who is off to a poor start in 2019. The two-hole hitter has already grounded into three double plays this year.


LHP Jared Wetherbee (SO) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .000 OBA, 75.0 K%, 25.0 BB%, 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 K (2018 stats: 2-1, 4 SV, 4.07 ERA, 1.66 WHIP, .136 OBA, 40.2 K%, 25.9 BB%, 24.1 IP, 11 H, 11 R, 11 ER, 29 BB, 45 K). A Colonial All-Freshman Team selection a year ago, Wetherbee is your prototypical high-risk/high-reward pitcher. He either strikes you out or walks you. Surprisingly, given his walk rates, he’s never hit a batter in his career. Wetherbee had a great summer where he was able to find the strike zone more consistently, so maybe he’s turned a corner.

RHP Brandon Justice (SR) - 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.00 WHIP, 0.00 OBA, 80.0 K%, 0.0 BB%, 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K (2018 stats: 0-3, 2 SV, 2.13 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, .187 OBA, 23.6 K%, 9.3 BB%, 38.0 IP, 26 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 15 BB, 38 K). The former JUCO teammate of NC State SR 1B Evan Edwards at USC Lancaster, Justice is the top bullpen arm for Elon.

RHP Kyle Brnovich (JR) - 1-0, 1.59 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, .056 OBA, 40.9 K%, 9.1 BB%, 5.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 9 K (2018 stats: 8-2, 1.71 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, .159 OBA, 34.8 K%, 8.5 BB%, 105.0 IP, 57 H, 31 R, 20 ER, 36 BB, 147 K). Brnovich put up video game-like numbers a year ago. He can struggle with control at times (he uncorked 12 wild pitches and hit 18 batters last year and also hit two batters last weekend vs Lafayette), but the projected 3rd round MLB Draft pick with a funky delivery has downright nasty stuff.

RHP George Kirby (JR) - 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.32 WHIP, .091 OBA, 45.5 K%, 0.0 BB%, 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K (2018 stats: 10-3, 2.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, .256 OBA, 24.9 K%, 7.0 BB%, 90.1 IP, 88 H, 36 R, 29 ER, 27 BB, 96 K). The 6’3 Kirby is another highly-regarded pro prospect and someone who should easily go in the first two rounds of this year’s MLB Draft (he’s the #39 prospect according to MLB Pipeline).

Quick! Fun Facts!

Elon has 27 wins all-time versus teams ranked in the Top 25, with the last one being an extra-inning win over a #16 East Carolina squad in 2016. Another one of those wins was a 24-12 decision in 2013 against an NC State team that was ranked #8 at the time.

The Phoenix have two juniors (Brnovich and Kirby) who each have a chance at becoming the highest draft pick for Elon since 1971 (Gary Brown - Round 1, Pick 22 - Chicago Cubs), if not the highest pick in school history.

Elon really hit a sweetspot in terms of the MLB Draft between 2009 and 2013, when the Phoenix had 24 selections (20 different players).

NC State owns a 42-13 record all-time against Elon, including wins in five of the last six meetings.

For being located pretty much smack dab in the middle of the State of North Carolina, Elon’s roster has a surprisingly low five players from the state.


The NC State hitters didn’t see anything this past weekend like what they’ll see Tuesday afternoon with Wetherbee. The lefty has better stuff than anyone that Bucknell sent to the mound, and his somewhat deceptive delivery can help his off-speed pitches play up to a higher level. On the other hand, the Elon pitchers didn’t face any hitters this past weekend on Lafayette that are the level of what they will face in the Wolfpack lineup.

NC State is sending Junior RHP Michael Bienlien to the mound to try and stymie the Phoenix hitters. Bienlien will be making his 2019 season debut for the Wolfpack, hoping to rebound from a disappointing sophomore season a year ago. The Wolfpack coaching staff should have the full complement of State relievers at their disposal should Bienlien struggle.

Outcome: This will be a relatively low-scoring affair, with a pitchers duel ensuing. Elon has the more talented starting pitcher, but NC State has the better bullpen and the better hitters. Wolfpack prevails 4-3.