Baseball Takes Series with Western Carolina
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Spartan baseball earned an 8-2 victory over the visiting Western Carolina Catamounts Sunday afternoon. UNCG took two of three games from WCU, earning the first series win over Western Carolina since 2015. The Blue and Gold used a pair of pitchers to hold the potent Catamount lineup to four hits and two runs.
UNCG improves to 15-9 on the season, and 2-1 in the Southern Conference. Western Carolina, picked to finish second in the league’s preseason poll, falls to 9-14, and 1-2 in the SoCon.
“I’m very proud of the focus and the toughness we showed today.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “On Sunday, that’s what its about, and we showed extremely high focus and intensity in the dugout, on the field execution was high. I’m very proud of the way we played today. We got a good start out of (Matt) Frisbee. He ran into a little bit of trouble in the first inning, but was able to get settled in and give us five strong innings. Wantz came in and did exactly what we needed. He gathered outs and never got himself into a major situation.”
“I thought that was one of our best-played games since I’ve been here.” Jarrett continued, “Our defense was phenomenal, our pitching was solid the whole day and offensively we used a lot of different things against a good left-handed pitcher. (Brendan) Nail (WCU) was on; his breaking ball was very good. Our left-handed hitters did a good job hanging in there. (Caleb) Webster had a very good day. Later in the game, the short-game execution was crucial. (Andrew) Moritz had a base-hit bunt, the squeeze with (Austin) Embler. Those are very integral parts of our offense that we have to be able to use. Both of our wins this weekend were good examples of how our short game, against really good pitching, can open some things up.”
Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) started for the Spartans. The sophomore threw 5.0 innings, allowing two hits, an earned run and struck out four hitters, earning the win (4-1). Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) took over in the sixth, logging 4.0 innings of two-hit baseball. He earned his second save of the season as he struck out a pair of hitters.
Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga State CC) finished the day 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored. Four players had two hits in the contest as UNCG connected for 14 base knocks. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) led the team with two RBI.
Western Carolina scored a run in the first inning to take the lead. Nobu Suzuki led off with a double and advanced to third on a wild pitch. He scored on a Bryson Bowman ground out.
The Spartans didn’t let WCU hang on to the lead for long. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) and Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) hit back-to-back singles in the bottom of the frame. Following a strikeout, Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) drove a 1-2 pitch through the right side to score Spitznagel. WCU attempted to catch Moritz going first to third, but the throw got away from the third baseman, allowing Moritz to score and give UNCG the 2-1 lead.
Goss connected for a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth. Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) tripled down the right field line to score one, and an error by WCU allowed Sigmon to score and give UNCG the 4-1 lead.
Western Carolina cut into the Spartan lead in the top of the sixth inning by virtue of a Suzuki solo homer.
UNCG extended its lead, scoring a pair of runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to help put the game out of reach. The seventh inning started with an Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) single. Moritz reached with a bunt base hit. Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) brought Embler in with a sacrifice fly, and Webster singled to score Moritz.
In the eighth, Goss singled and moved to third after Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) doubled. Embler scored Goss on a squeeze play, and a sacrifice fly from Spitznagel scored the second run.
UNCG is back in action Tuesday, March 28th as it hosts UNC Asheville at 6:00 p.m.