The Seahawks enter their first season since 2011 without Mat Batts, the two-time Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Pitcher of the Year, but they do return three starters from last season.
Heading up the rotation is junior righthander Nick Monroe (1-4, 4.23 ERA), who will move into the Friday starting position after pitching in the middle and back end of the rotation as a sophomore. Monroe earned CAA Pitcher of the Week honors, as well as several national player of the week honors, following a near perfect game against NCAA participant Liberty. The righthander carried a perfect game into the ninth before allowing a one-out single. He then shut the game down with a double play one batter later.
Fellow junior Ryan Foster (2-3, 3.47) also flirted with a no-hitter when he held Big South Champion Campbell hitless for almost full eight innings. Foster helped bolster the staff and finished eighth in the league in earned run average. In the CAA tournament, he held Delaware to a run on five hits over seven innings for the win.
Evan Phillips, the third of three junior righthanders on the starting staff, will round out the weekend rotation for the Seahawks. Phillips (2-4, 6.24) showed the ability to dominate as a sophomore as evidence of his seven innings of shutout baseball against Ohio and later in the season he fanned five in two innings of relief against North Carolina Central.
Sophomore righty Cory Gantz (3-1, 3.42) made two starts in 13 appearances in 2013 and will give the Seahawks another option on the mound as a starter. Gantz picked up wins in relief against Towson, College of Charleston and Campbell.
UNCW will have a stong bullpen again in 2015 with a combination of veterans and newcomers.
Junior southpaw Will Shepley made 19 appearances, all in relief, and posted a 2-0 record. The lefty limited opponents to a .223 batting average, while striking out 19 in 26.1 innings.
Classmate Jared Gesell made tremendous strides late in the 2014 season and last summer while pitching in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Gesell went 1-0 in 13 appearances and struck out 15 batters over that span.
Joining the bullpen following three seasons in the starting rotation is senior righthander Jordan Ramsey. As a junior Ramsey battled through several injuries to finish 2-4 in 12 appearances. He moved to the bullpen in the fall and showed dominating ability. His last stint as a reliever came in 2012 when he pitched out of the bullpen for the Cotuit Kettleers (2-0, 3.93 ERA).
Newcomers will have an immediate impact on the staff both as starters and relievers. Possibilities include Justin Crump, Austin Easter, Josh Roberson, Clay Lockamon, Austin Magestro, Matt Maready, Whiteman Barnes, Daniel Hamilton and Taylor Hyssong.
UNCW is scheduled to open the season on Friday, Feb. 13, against Richmond. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. at Brooks Field.