The University of Cincinnati's baseball team defeated Oakland University 18-0 during the home opener at Marge Schott Stadium in Cincinnati, Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. 

The University of Cincinnati’s (UC) baseball team travels to the Carolinas this weekend for a four-game series against the University of North Carolina Wilmington Seahawks (UNCW). The series begins on Mar. 4 at 4 p.m. and is available to watch on the Seahawk Digital Network.

The two teams have gotten off to contrasting starts in the 2021 season. The Bearcats come into the set with a 1-5 record, while the Seahawks boast a mark of 5-1. 

After dropping five straight to start the year, UC got back on track on this past Saturday with a 11-3 victory over Western Kentucky University. The Bearcats have struggled in close games, as their five losses have come by a combined 11 runs, with two of those coming in extra innings. 

UC will have their hands full with the Seahawks. UNCW comes into the matchup with red-hot bats, posting a .281 team batting average while averaging over six runs per game. On the flip side, the Bearcats bats have struggled early on, managing a team batting average of .222.  

Here are some names to watch during the series:

Evan Shawver SP (UC)

UC’s left-handed ace has been dominant this season. In 10 innings of work, Shawver has yet to yield a run. Shawver has held opponents to a .156 batting average, while striking out eleven. The top prospect will look to continue his run of form.

Joey Bellini SS (UC)

After batting .429 to lead the Bearcats in the shortened 2020 season, Bellini has picked up right where he left off. The graduate transfer has proven to be a quality bat at the top of the lineup, boasting a .370 average. Bellini has also been solid as shortstop, handling 18 chances without an error.  

Griffin Merritt LF (UC)

The junior outfielder has been UC’s best power bat so far, leading the team in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs batted in and on-base plus slugging. He also ranks second in doubles, total bases and batting average. 

Brooks Baldwin OF (UNCW)

The Seahawks leadoff hitter has gotten off to a torrid start to the 2021 campaign, recording a base hit in all six games. Baldwin leads UNCW in runs, hits, triples, home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage and on-base plus slugging. 

Hunter Hodges RP (UNCW)

Hodges has been a commanding presence in his three appearances out of the Seahawk bullpen this year. In 5.2 innings pitched, Hodges has allowed just one hit while striking out seven. Sporting a walk and hits per inning of 0.53 and a batting average against of 0.056, Hodges will be one of Head Coach Randy Hood’s go-to relievers.