Stupienski’s three homers guide UNCW baseball to series sweep

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Gavin Stupienski belted three home runs, including a grand slam in a nine-run eighth inning, to spur UNCW to a series sweep over East Tennessee State following a come-from-behind 16-11 win at Brooks Field on Sunday.

UNCW ran its record to 23-9 with its eighth consecutive win, with an 18-2 mark at home. The Buccaneers, who dropped their seventh straight, dipped to 15-20 overall and 3-7 on the road.

Gavin Stupienski homered three times for UNCW on Sunday. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics.
Gavin Stupienski homered three times for UNCW on Sunday. Photo courtesy- UNCW Athletics.

Stupienski became the first Seahawk to homer three times in one game since 2008 when Daniel Hargrave slammed three at Hofstra. His seven runs batted in were a career-high and the most since Mark Carver plated seven at William & Mary in 2007. Kennard McDowell added three hits and scored twice, while Steven Linkous and Daniel Stack had two-hit games. Stack belted his sixth homer of the season in that nine-run eighth inning.

UNCW sent 14 hitters to the plate in the eighth inning and scored nine runs on 10 hits. With the score 11-8 in favor of East Tennessee State, Stupienski hit a grand slam to left field to give the Seahawks a lead it would not relinquish.

Closer Jared Gesell (1-1) earned the win in relief, striking out three and scattering two hits over 2.2 innings.

UNCW’s nine runs in the eighth was the second time this weekend it put up nine runs in an inning. Seahawk pitchers held East Tennessee to two hits in 13 at bats with two outs.

The Seahawks continue a stretch on non-conference games against Campbell at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19 at Brooks Field.

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