BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Spartan offense couldn't string anything together against Samford's Mikhail Cazenave Friday night as UNCG dropped the series opener 4-0. The Spartans managed four hits in the contest, falling to 30-20 on the season and 13-9 in Southern Conference play. Samford improves to 30-23, and 10-12 in league play.
“Their starting pitcher did a beautiful job tonight.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “We never had an offensive answer with any adjustment at the plate and I give him 100% of the credit. He used his fastball to both sides of the plate, his slider was good enough, he threw his changeup a couple times to our lefties and his curveball was very effective. We never really had an answer.”
“Bryce (Hensley) gave us an opportunity, he made a couple mistakes, and today those mistakes were extra base hits.” Jarrett continued, “The two home runs, the run in the first inning, was enough tonight. Its unfortunate, we drive all the way down here and I felt like we were ready to play out of the gate, we just weren't good enough offensively to make it a really competitive game until the end. In the ninth, our guys fought and battled, but it just wasn't consistent enough and we couldn't replicate enough quality at bats to score runs.”
Bryce Hensley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) suffered the loss despite a solid start. The southpaw threw 6.0 innings, allowing six hits and four earned runs. He walked a pair and struck out three on 73 pitches. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) was first out of the bullpen. The junior threw a perfect inning, getting three ground outs in the seventh. Jake Lewis (Wendell, N.C./Corinth Holders) worked in the eighth. Lewis gave up a walk but got a fly out and a ground out to hold the Bulldogs scoreless.
The Spartan offense managed four hits in the contest. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) singled in the first and ninth innings, Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) added a single to lead off the fifth inning and Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) singled in the ninth.
The Bulldogs got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. T.J. Dixon singled to second base and moved up on a wild pitch. Austin Edens drove a two-out single back up the middle to bring in Dixon and put Samford ahead, 1-0.
Samford used the long ball to add to its lead. A solo homer from Anthony Mulrine added to the lead in the fifth before a two-run blast from Aryton Shafter increased the Bulldog lead to 4-0.
The Spartans threatened in the top of the ninth. After Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) reached via catcher's interference, Shelton and Moritz hit back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out. Back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat as the Spartans suffered the loss.
UNCG and Samford are back in action tomorrow evening with first pitch set for 6 p.m. at Lee Griffin Field.