Baseball Takes Both Games of St. Patrick's Day Doubleheader
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG won both games of the doubleheader with the Lafayette Leopards Friday night. UNCG pounded out a 14-2 victory in the first game, and came from behind to defeat the Leopards 8-7 in the nightcap. UNCG improves to 11-8 on the season, while Lafayette falls to 2-17. The Spartans celebrated St. Patrick’s day by wearing special edition green hats.
“Hensley was outstanding and got us through the seven-inning game.” Head coach Link Jarrett said about the first game, “Offensively, up and down the lineup we were very productive. Cesar (Trejo) had a big day, (Andrew) Moritz had another string of good at bats and we played solid defense. When you pitch and play that solid on defense, you’re going to put yourself in a position to win games. We battled at the plate. When you draw eight walks and only strikeout three times, you know you put a lot of pressure on the other team.
“In the second game, (Matt) Frisbee wasn’t quite as sharp out of the gate.” Jarrett said about game two, “(Andrew) Wantz came in and held it in check. Lafayette’s starter did a great job. He kept the ball down and changed speeds and pitched a very good game. Tripp (Shelton) and (Michael) Goss with back-to-back walks and the base hit bunt from (Ryan) Clinch put us in position in the sixth. There’s so many times that I go back and look at the inning that changed the game and a lot of times a bunt is involved. Clinch’s bunt was well executed. Ryne (Sigmon) stepped on that ball, he crushed it to right field. That was the best swing he’s had all season and it came at a very critical time for us. Sykes comes in and throws a clean ninth that was a good win. The backend game was a challenging game and I’m proud of the way the guys fought back to win that one.”
Bryce Hensley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) threw a complete game in the first contest of the day. The junior scattered three hits, two runs, one earned and struck out nine batters, earning the win (3-2) in the seven-inning game.
Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) started the second game. Frisbee gave up seven hits, giving up four earned runs and striking out two hitters in four innings of work. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) logged 4.0 innings in relief, earning the win (4-2). Chad Sykes (Creedmoor, N.C./Voyager Academy) threw in the ninth inning, striking out the side, earning his third save of the season.
Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) led UNCG at the plate. Moritz finished the day 4-for-7, with three RBI, four runs scored, and a triple. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) finished the nightcap 3-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) went 1-for-1 with an RBI and two runs scored while drawing three walks in the first game. Sigmon had the day’s biggest hit, connecting for a go-ahead grand slam in the bottom of the seventh inning in game two.
UNCG started the scoring in the bottom of the first inning in game one. Back-to-back walks to Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) and Spitznagel started the frame. Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) and Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) had back-to-back singles to score each and put the Spartans up 2-0.
Lafayette tied the game up in the third frame, taking advantage of some free bases. A walk to AJ Kloehn put one on, and he moved to second on a passed ball. After a hit by pitch and another passed ball put two in scoring position, Spencer Rouse doubled to left field to drive in two tied the game at 2-2.
The tie game was short lived, as UNCG scored four runs in its half of the third to regain the lead. With runners on the corners, Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga State CC) singled through the left side to drive one in. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) tripled to right center to score a pair and Sigmon left a single to right to score Clinch and put UNCG up 6-2.
The Spartans added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth as Trejo lifted his second home run in as many games to left field to drive in two.
UNCG tacked on three more runs in the fifth inning. Embler singled and Spitznagel reached on a fielder’s choice to put two on. Moritz tripled to left center to score two and scored on a throwing error by the Lafayette shortstop to push the lead to 11-2.
The Blue and Gold tacked on three more in the bottom of the sixth inning, two of which came on Zach Kuchmaner’s (Charlotte, N.C./Marvin Ridge) first career hit.
Lafayette struck first in game two. Spencer Rouse tripled to left center and scored on a wild pitch.
The Leopards added to their lead in the second and third innings. Dan Leckie hit a solo home run in the second inning. Lafayette scored two in the top of the third on a two-run single from Rouse to put the Leopards up 4-0.
UNCG got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Spitznagel tripled to center field and came around to score on a Moritz ground out.
Each team added a run in the sixth inning. Nick Shah drove in Lafayette’s run in the top of the frame, and Trejo drove in a run for the Spartans in the bottom of the frame.
The Spartans took the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Two walks and a bunt base hit loaded the bases for Sigmon. Sigmon delivered his first home run of the season, a grand slam over the wall in right field to give UNCG a 6-5 lead. Spitznagel kept the rally going, singling and moving to third on a Moritz single. Trejo connected on a sacrifice fly before Webster doubled to bring in Moritz and give UNCG the 8-5 lead.
Lafayette brought the game within one following an Alex Woinski two-run homer. Sykes came on in the ninth, striking out the first two batters he faced. He gave up a pair of singles before striking out Luke Robinson to earn the save and preserve the win.
UNCG and Lafayette are back in action tomorrow afternoon as they wrap up a series at 1:00 p.m.