Baseball Records First Victory Over Ohio State Friday Night
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Eight of nine starters tallied at least one hit as UNCG thumped Ohio State pitching for 17 hits in an 11-4 victory Friday night. The win is UNCG’s first over the Ohio State Buckeyes, and its 23rd on the season. It is the second time that the Spartans and Buckeyes have met on the diamond and the first in Columbus. In 2006, the teams met in a neutral site game in Jacksonville, Fla. The Spartans are now 23-14 overall, with Ohio State falling to 15-23.
“That was a great performance by our program tonight.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “We were operating at a high-level at all phases. We pitched the ball well. (Bryce) Hensley threw well, I know he’d like to have that fifth inning back, but (Jack) Maynard came in and cleaned it up and pitched very efficiently to finish the game.”
“Offensively, our short game was in play.” Jarrett continued, “I thought the guys did a really good job adjusting, we used the short game when we needed to. Up and down the lineup there were a lot of guys that stood out. Tripp (Shelton)’s home run stands out; Embler had four hits and got back on track. He’s been working very hard at it so that was good to see. (Andrew) Moritz had a couple key hits. Defensively, I thought the guys were in tune all night and played a really good game on the road. Coming in on this sort of trip and play that well on a Friday is tough. I thought the guys played one of our finest games. To come in after Tuesday, and put together the performance we did tonight, says a lot about our toughness.”
Bryce Hensley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) started on the mound. The junior threw 4.2 innings, allowing six hits, four earned runs and struck out six hitters. Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) closed out the final 4.1 innings, earning his third win of the season. Maynard scattered four hits and struck out three hitters without allowing a run.
Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) went 4-for-5 with a pair of runs scored to lead the offense. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) and Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) each finished 3-for-5 with a run scored. Moritz added an RBI. Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) added the power to the offense, going 2-for-5 with three RBI; two runs scored and hit his third home run of the season. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) added two hits with two runs scored and an RBI. Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga St. CC) drove in two runs and has record an RBI in nine of the last 11 games.
UNCG took advantage of an Ohio State error to plate a pair of runs in the top of the second. Embler singled with two outs and moved into scoring position after Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) drew a walk. Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) hit a ground ball that was misplayed by the Ohio State second baseman, allowing Embler to score and Clinch to move to third. Spitznagel singled to the shortstop to score Clinch and put UNCG ahead, 2-0.
The Spartans added two runs in each the third and fourth innings. In the third, Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) walked and scored when Shelton hit his third home run of the year to right field. UNCG tacked on two more in the fourth inning. After a base hit bunt from Webster loaded the bases, Moritz singled through the right side to score one. Goss dropped down a safety squeeze to score the second run of the inning and pus the lead to 6-0.
Ohio State got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Dominic Canzone hit a one-out single and stole second base before Bo Coolen singled to drive in Canzone and cut the lead to 6-1.
The Blue and Gold tacked on another run in the fifth. Embler led off with a hustle double as his ground ball hit first base and went into right field. After a ground out moved him to third, Sigmon singled up the middle to score him and run the lead to 7-1, UNCG.
OSU scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut into the UNCG lead. A pair of lead off walks started the inning before a single from Tre’ Gantt singled to bring one in. Canzone added another RBI single before a wild pitch allowed the final run to score. The Spartans led 7-4 at the end of the fifth.
UNCG answered back with four runs in the top of the sixth. Spitznagel, Webster and Moritz led off with singles to load the bases. Goss hit a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Spitznagel, but a throwing error on the throw into the infield allowed Webster to score. Trejo singled and Shelton followed with a single to score Moritz. With runners on first and second, Clinch hit a high chopper to second base and hustled down to first to beat the throw. Shelton scored from second on the play and UNCG took an 11-4 lead.
The teams went scoreless over the final 3.5 innings as UNCG earned its 14th win over a Big Ten opponent.
The Spartans and Buckeyes continue the series tomorrow afternoon at Nick Swisher field at Bill Davis Stadium at 3:05.