Stewart Shines in Loss at Wake Forest
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – UNCG baseball suffered a 15-8 loss to the Wake Forest Demon Deacons on Tuesday evening at David F. Couch Ballpark. UNCG is now 1-3 on the season, with Wake Forest improving to 2-3.
“Tonight’s game was a little disappointing.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “With the exception of Easton (Welch) we didn’t pitch it as well as we did this weekend. There were a few defensive plays we didn’t make, and we couldn’t get Jonathan Pryor out. He set the tone at the top of their lineup. It seemed like he came up in the middle of situations where he continued to add on.
“We had a lead early, but we didn’t get our bunt down to add on in that inning.” Jarrett continued, “In the six-run inning, we didn’t execute pitches that allow you to get this caliber of hitter out, plain and simple. I was impressed by our guys who came in off the bench, with most of them reaching base. It was nice to see (Jake) Kusz get in there and get a base hit. It was good to see Easton have a good outing. He pitched with some presence and executed his pitches well and attacked the strike zone.”
The Spartans used six different pitchers in the contest. Dan Loats (Eden Prairie, Minn./NIACC) got his first start at UNCG. Loats threw 2.1 innings, allowed six hits and six earned runs. Brandon Stephens (Willow Spring, N.C./Wake Christian Academy), Jake Lewis (Wendell, N.C./Corinth Holders), Chad Sykes (Creedmoor, N.C./Voyager Academy), Travis Tuttle (Winston-Salem, N.C./Surrey CC) and Easton Welch (Randleman, N.C./Gardner-Webb) all logged time on the hill.
Dillon Stewart (Dunn, N.C./Brunswick CC) paced the Spartan offense. The senior outfielder finished the contest 3-for-5, scored three runs and was a home run away from the cycle. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) and Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) each were 2-for-4 with two RBI.
After the Spartans went down in order in the top of the first, Wake Forest tallied two runs in its half of the first inning. After a leadoff single from Jonathan Pryor, Logan Harvey drove a ball to the right center field gap, just out of the reach of a diving Spitznagel, to score Pryor. Harvey came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Gavin Sheets.
UNCG came right back in the top of the second inning, scoring three runs. Stewart and Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga State CC) had back-to-back singles to start the frame. Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) singled to load the bases. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) singled to score Stewart, but Goss was thrown at home. After a Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) walked to load the bases, and Spitznagel singled to left to score Sigmon and Clinch but was thrown out trying to take second.
Wake Forest used the long ball to regain the lead in the third inning Stuart Fairchild led off with a solo home run, and Pryor connected with a three-run shot to put the Demon Deacons up 9-3.
The Demon Deacons added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth, scoring three runs on two hits and taking advantage of two walks.
The Blue and Gold got a run back in the top of the sixth frame. Stewart led off with a double and came around to score on a double off the bat of Embler to cut the deficit to 11-4.
Wake Forest scored a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings to take a 15-4 lead.
The Spartans added a pair of runs in the eight and ninth innings to cut into Wake Forest lead.
UNCG is back in action Friday, Feb. 24th as it hosts the Michigan State Spartans at 4:00 p.m. in the home opener at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.