ATHENS – North Carolina Wilmington needed one big swing and one big arm to ease past Georgia Tech 9-0 on Friday at Foley Field, sending the Yellow Jackets to an elimination game at noon Saturday against Army in the Athens Regional.

UNC Wilmington starter RJ Sales (11-3) was dominant through 7 1/3 scoreless innings. The junior right hander worked around four walks and three hits while striking out six.

At the plate, the Seahawks (40-19) got a grand slam from eight-hole hitter Bryan Arendt in the second inning, and that was all the Coastal Athletic Association champions needed with Sales on the mound before adding five runs late.

North Carolina Wilmington faces Georgia (40-15) at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The loss for Tech was its first shutout defeat in an NCAA regional since falling 8-0 to Washington in Oxford, Miss., on May 31, 2014, and just the fourth shutout loss in program history.

“We didn’t score, obviously. So, when you don’t score, you really don’t have a chance to win,” Tech coach Hall said. “I thought Sales did a tremendous job of just keeping us off-balance all night. We had chances. Just could not muster a hit when we needed to.”

Hall opted to start Brett Thomas on Friday, a reliever who had made 23 previous appearances this season (after a four-year career at South Carolina), all out of the bullpen. Thomas (4-2) cruised through the first four hitters he faced before issuing a one-out walk to Alec DeMartino in the bottom of the second. John Newton followed that with a sharp single up the middle and then Thomas pegged Brock Wills in the foot, loading the bases.

Arendt, hitting .205 for the season, stepped in and unloaded on a 1-2 pitch for a grand slam over the left-field wall.

“Going up to the plate I knew that he was going to have to give me something good to hit,” Arendt said. “I just wanted to see a pitch first and just see what the breaking ball looked like because most of the guys were saying it looked a little funky to them. From there, once I saw the first pitch, I was just looking for another good pitch to hit and he gave me one and I was able to put a good swing on it.”

Said Hall on starting Thomas: “We kind of felt like he’s really good against left-hand hitting and they top of their lineup is pretty dangerous with a lot of thump. Ironically enough he gives up a home run on a breaking ball – I think it’s the first home run in his college career that he has given up on a breaking ball. So just felt like he was the right guy for it.

“Prior to the home run we walk a guy and he hit a guy and then the home run. You can’t defend that. Credit their guy. I don’t think it was a terrible pitch and he put a really, really good swing on it.”

Reliever Cam Hill came in from there and kept the Jackets in the game. The junior lefty threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings to give Tech hope.

Sales began the night with 4 2/3 innings of hitless ball. He cruised into the sixth where Drew Burress greeted him with a leadoff double to left to begin the inning. Burress moved to third on a sac fly to left, but John Giesler struck out swinging on a pitch in the dirt and Cam Jones hit a sharp grounder to second to end the threat.

Sales got a double play after a one-out single in the seventh and was finally lifted after back-to-back walks with one-out in the eighth. Reliever Luke Craig came in and got Matthew Ellis looking and Giesler swinging to end Tech’s rally.

“Today was get ahead 0-1,” Sales said on his approach to shutting down Tech’s offense. “As you get ahead 0-1, basically mix everything off of that. Even if say you go 1-0, get right back in the zone and make them make mistakes themselves versus executing with a really good pitch.”

The Seahawks added some insurance in the eighth when Arendt was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Kevin Jones singled to right to plate two more, making it 7-0. Jac Croom’s RBI double into the right-field corner made it 9-0.

Tech reliever Ben King was touched up for five earned runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.

Tech has gone scoreless in 18 straight innings dating to its 13-0 loss to Virginia in the ACC tournament May 22. It next faces an Army team (31-22) that was beaten 8-7 by Georgia on Friday afternoon at Foley Field.

“It’s a stay-alive game and Army played really, really good baseball (Friday),” Hall said. “We just got to get as much rest as we can coming back and figure out who can give us the most outs (on the mound). Hopefully we swing the bat better (Saturday). That was probably the most disappointing thing to me, we just didn’t swing the bats tonight.”