Baseball Rallies Late But Cannot Hold Off Mercer
MACON, Ga. – UNCG baseball fell 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Mercer Bears Saturday afternoon at OrthoGeorgia Park at Claude Smith Field. The Spartans came from behind twice to tie the game, but lost on a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. UNCG falls to 25-16 and 9-5 in Southern Conference action. Mercer improves to 36-10 and 15-2 in conference play.
“That was a good baseball game.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “We didn't get the quality of start from (Matt) Frisbee that we're used to getting. (Andrew) Wantz came in and carried us for a long time. Their pitchers did a nice job. Their lefty kept us off-balance all day and pitched well. It was a very competitive game and one play here or there is what made the difference in the ball game.”
“(Ben) Spitznagel had another good day at the plate. His at bats were competitive the whole day and found ways on base. (Andrew) Moritz had a couple hits, and Cesar (Trejo) had a big base hit to get us back into it, another nice squeeze from (Austin) Embler. At the end of the day we made a couple small mistakes that cost us, and against a good team like that, those things tend to show up and beat you and that's what happened today.”
Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) got the start. The sophomore went 3.0 innings, allowing five hits, four earned runs and walked three batters. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) was sharp out of the bullpen. The junior threw a season-best 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs while striking out five hitters.
The Spartan offense went for nine hits in the contest. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) and Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) each tallied two. Moritz scored a run and Embler drove one in. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) reached base four times, scoring once. . Spitznagel finished 1-for-3 but drew a walk, was hit by a pitch and reached an a hard hit ball that was ruled an error. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) drove in two runs on one hit in the contest.
The Bears jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first. With one out, Alex Hanson singled and moved up to second on a wild pitch. JT Thomas doubled off the wall in right field to bring him in and put the Bears up 1-0.
UNCG took advantage of three Mercer errors to tie the game up in the third. Spitznagel reached on an error by the second baseman, stole second and moved to third on a throwing error by the Mercer catcher. Webster hit a sharp ground ball that was misplayed, allowing Spitznagel to score and tie the game up at 1-1.
Mercer answered in its half of the third. Hanson tripled and Thomas drew a walk to put runners on the corners. A balk scored one and moved Thomas into scoring position. After a strikeout, Charlie Madden and Jackson Ware hit back-to-back doubles to put the Bears up 4-1.
The Spartans tied the game up, scoring four runs in the top of the sixth inning. Moritz and Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga St. CC) led off with back-to-back singles. Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) hit a double down the left field line to drive in Moritz. Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) hit a sacrifice fly to score Goss and move Trejo to third. Embler laid down a bunt to score Trejo and tie the game at 4-4.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the eighth inning. Mercer's Danny Edgeworth hit his seventh home run of the season to put the Bears up 5-4.
UNCG answered in its half of the ninth inning. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) led off the inning with a single and moved into scoring position on a Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) sacrifice bunt. After Spitznagel was hit by a pitch, a passed ball moved Clinch to third to put runners on the corners. Webster hit a weak ground ball to shortstop allowing Clinch to score and tie the game up at five.
The Bears rallied with one out in the ninth inning. Alex Crotty connected on a one-out single to start the rally and was pinch ran for by Conrad Cornell. Ryan Hagan singled to put runners on first and second for Hanson who delivered a single to right center to bring in Cornell and earn the Mercer victory.
The Spartans and Bears wrap up the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 at OrthoGeorgia Park.