Spartans Fall in Game one; Forcing Winner-take-all Game Two in SoCon Tournament
GREENVILLE, S.C. – UNCG baseball fell in the first Southern Conference Tournament Championship Game Sunday afternoon at Fluor Field, 6-4 to the Furman Paladins. With the Spartans coming out of the winners bracket, the loss forces a winner-take-all game that starts 35 minutes after the first game.
Bryce Henley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) started for the Spartans. Hensley, working on two days rest, went 3.2 innings, allowing three earned runs and struck out a batter. Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) worked in his first relief appearance of his career. Frisbee threw 4.0 innings, scattering three hits, striking out three and giving up two earned runs. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) threw the final 1.1 innings, giving up two hits and a run to go with a strikeout.
At the plate, eight of nine starters had at least one hit. Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga St. CC) was they key component of the offense, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and scored twice. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) added a 1-for-5 game and scored twice.
UNCG took advantage of a couple Furman miscues to earn an early lead. After the first two batters of the inning were out, Moritz struck out, but reached via a dropped third strike. A failed pick off attempted at first moved him into scoring position. Goss singled to left field and Moritz scored on the play. Two wild pitches moved Goss over to third, and Zach Kuchmaner (Charlotte, N.C./Marvin Ridge) capitalized, sending a chopper back up the middle to give the Spartans the 2-0 advantage.
Furman cut the lead in half in the top of the third before taking the lead in the fourth. Back-to-back doubles from Jake Crawford and Sky Overton plated the first run. Cam Whitehead singled and scored on a Jason Costa double. Costa came around on a Bret Huebner single and put the Paladins ahead, 3-2.
The Spartans came back to score two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Moritz reached on a two-base error by the first baseman, and scored when Goss hit a ground-rule double. Devin Ruiz (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) connected on a pinch-hit single to score Goss and give the Spartans the 4-3 lead.
Furman regained the lead in the top of the eighth. After a lead off double from Jabari Richards, Cam Whitehead doubled to drive him in. Jason Costa followed with a pop up that didn't leave the infield, and fell between three UNCG defenders, allowing Whitehead to score and giving the Paladins a 5-4 lead.
Furman added an insurance run on a Sky Overton solo homer in the top of the ninth inning.
The two teams are back in action, with the winner moving on to the NCAA Regionals and gaining the title, SoCon Tournament Champions.