Hensley Out Duels Furman in Friday Night Victory
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG’s Bryce Hensley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) outdueled one of the top arms in the Southern Conference Friday night in Furman's Will Gaddis. Hensley helped the Spartans earn a 3-1 victory over the Furman Paladins in a classic pitchers duel. UNCG improves to 19-10 overall and 5-2 in the SoCon. Furman falls to 11-17, and 1-6 in conference play.
“Good Friday night win against a good team, and a good arm.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “(Bryce) Hensley kept the ball down and it was ground out after ground out. He did a great job of commanding the ball and using his secondary pitches well. Our defense played great; infield, outfield, (Ryan) Clinch behind the plate was very good. Pitching and defense is a recipe to always be in games and it was enough to get it done against a fantastic arm.”
“The first inning was big.” Jarrett continued, “After (Ben) Spitznagel gets on base, (Andrew) Moritz shoots that one down the left field line to put two in scoring position. (Michael) Goss stayed on one of those sliders and hammers it over here and that plates a run. That held for a long time. Later in the game, Goss executed the hit-and-run and Moritz has the savvy to go first to third on a ground ball to left field. Caleb (Webster) drove him in. That last hit to add on a run, in a game with this caliber of pitching was really big to get that third run across. (Andrew) Wantz was able to finish it off. It was a good performance, pitching, defense and base running was the difference in that game.”
Hensley, working in his first Friday night start, was exactly what UNCG needed as it faced 2016’s SoCon Pitcher of the Year, Gaddis. Both starters threw 7.0 innings, as Hensley allowed just three hits and no earned runs to go with a pair of strikeouts. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) came on in the eighth to close the door. Wantz earned his third save, giving up one hit, a solo home run, and striking out two batters en route to earning his third save of the season.
The middle of the order pieced together enough offense to earn the victory. Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga State CC) and Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) each had a pair of hits. Moritz scored two runs and Goss provided two RBI. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/ Wabash Valley CC) added a hit and a run scored. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) saw his 12-game hit streak snapped, but drove in a run on a ground out.
UNCG got on the board in the bottom of the first inning. Spitznagel reached via an error on the Furman first baseman to get the rally going. Moritz doubled down the left field line to put two in scoring position. Goss drove in his first run of the evening on a ground out to second base and put UNCG up 1-0.
The Spartans added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Moritz singled to start the frame, and moved to third on a hit-and-run with Goss. Webster hit into a fielder’s choice to bring in a run and push the lead to 2-0.
The Blue and Gold used another Goss RBI to cushion its lead in the bottom of the eighth. Moritz drew a walk and stole second base, before scoring when Goss dropped a single into left field to put UNCG up 3-0.
Furman got on the board in the top of the final inning, using a Brandon Elmy solo home run to cut the lead to 3-1 but could come no closer as Wantz struck out Sky Overton and got Sims Griffith to fly out to Moritz in center field.
UNCG and Furman are back in action tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in the second game of this season. Blood Center of the Carolinas will be sponsoring a blood drive during the game.