Loats Earns a Four-Inning Save as Baseball Defeats Princeton
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG got a strong relief appearance from Dan Loats (Eden Prairie, NIACC) to help secure the split of the four-game series with Princeton on Sunday afternoon. Loats worked the final 4.0 innings, allowing two hits and struck out a season-high six batters. With the win, UNCG improves to 8-8 on the season. Princeton falls to 2-6.
“I’m proud of the way the guys competed today, with our backs against the wall, playing our most complete game.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “Princeton is a good team, with some good arms. They have some power hitting lefties in that lineup and to walk out here with a split after the way it went Friday and yesterday, I’m proud of that. Good win today. I’m proud of the way our guys played. I thought we played one of our more complete games.”
“Offensively we had a lot of good moments.” Jarrett continued, “(Ryne) Sigmon’s double early in the game helped get us back in it. Cesar (Trejo)’s double later in the game, added two more, then he stole third and scored. Those are big moments. I thought the guys came out and played hard. (Andrew) Wantz came in and got us out of trouble. That was our plan, we were going to use him when we needed him, but he was only going to throw 25-30 pitches. He was able to settle things down and turned it over to Dan (Loats) with the rest of the bullpen ready to go if needed.”
Brandon Stephens (Willow Spring, N.C./Wake Christian Academy) started on the hill for UNCG. The freshman logged 2.1 innings, allowing five hits and three earned runs. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) came on in the third inning logging the next 2.2 innings, striking out four hitters without allowing a hit, and picked up the win (3-2). Loats logged the final 4.0 innings, allowing two hits in the ninth earning a save (1).
Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) led the offense, earning three hits and driving in three runs in the victory. Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) finished 2-for-4 performances with two RBI, a double and two runs scored. Devin Ruiz (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) finished 2-for-5 with a double and a triple.
The Spartans opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. Embler singled to start the frame, advanced to second on an error and moved to third after a walk with two on. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) lifted a pitch deep into left field to score Embler and put UNCG up 1-0.
Princeton took its first lead of the afternoon in the top of the third. Danny Baer drove in a run on a single and Conor Nolan singled into left field to score a pair and give the Tigers a 3-1 lead.
UNCG rallied back in its home half of the third. The Spartans loaded the bases with three walks before a hit by pitch from Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga State CC) scored the first run. Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) followed that with a double to the left field wall to score two more. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) hit a grounder to the second baseman that was misplayed that allowed two more to score. Clinch stole second base and came around to score on an Embler single through the right side.
UNCG tacked on three insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Shelton singled and moved to second when Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) singled through the right side. Trejo doubled down the left field line to score a pair. After stealing third base, Trejo came around to score on a Webster sacrifice fly to push the lead to 10-3.
The Spartans added to the lead in the bottom of the seventh. Ruiz hit his first triple of the season to right center and Clinch reached via hit by pitch. Embler hit a double to the gap in right center to score two and increase the lead to 12-3 Spartans.
The Blue and Gold returns to action on Thursday afternoon as they host the Lafayette Leopards in the first of a four-game series at 4:00 p.m.