WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - UNCW pitcher Alex Royalty has delivered for the Seahawks since the day he stepped on campus.
In his first two college seasons, the Raleigh native has a 17-4 record and now the junior is hoping to take the next step.
"This offseason I have been working on my secondary pitches," Royalty said. "Last year, I beat a lot of guys with fastball, but I think if I can work a solid three-pitch mix and have that each game, then I'll be more dominant than I was before."
UNCW junior catch Ryan Jeffers has seen Royalty's improvement firsthand.
"Every year he's gotten better," said Jeffers. "That's what happens when you have 16 other pitchers behind you fighting for that spot."
For Royalty, who is the defending Colonial Athletic Association pitcher of the year, the pitcher-catcher connection is key.
"Just having him back there as a constant, we are a good little combo," said Royalty. "It brings a lot of confidence to my pitching ability since we call our own games."
In 30 career starts, Royalty has never pitched a complete game, but he almost always puts the Seahawks in position to win.
"Even if I can go a solid seven or eight and hand it off to someone we trust in our bullpen, that's always a good night for me," Royalty said. "Just as long as we get that win on Friday night."
UNCW opens the season Feb. 16 against Eastern Kentucky. First pitch is 4 p.m. at Brooks Field.