KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) drove in both Spartan runs in the sixth inning of Friday’s contest with the Tennessee Volunteers. UNCG needed more offense to pull off the win as the Spartans dropped the first-ever meeting with Tennessee, 3-2. UNCG falls to 3-2 and Tennessee improves to 3-2.
“(Matt) Frisbee gave us a good start.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “Their pitcher was effective. He didn’t command it extremely well, but he had good velocity and we couldn’t quite capitalize and get on that fastball early in the game. He settled in and even with guys on base he was still able to be effective. I thought the adjustment (Benito) Santiago (Tennessee) made on his two-strike approach was the difference. The changeup he hit with a full count, that was a good at bat and you have to just tip your cap to him.
“I wish our base running and our short game were better today.” Jarrett continued, “That’s something we talk about and work on a lot, but that was something that did not come to fruition tonight. We needed to be able to use that properly and we gave away a couple outs on the bases. In a game like this, in this atmosphere and setting, it’s going to come back and bite you and that’s what it did tonight.”
Junior Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) got the start on the mound. Frisbee threw 4.2 innings, allowing just two hits, surrendered four walks and struck out four batters while not allowing a run. He gave way to Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC). Maynard suffered the loss, going 2.0 innings, allowing three hits, three runs, two earned and struck out a batter. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) was next out of the bullpen, throwing the final 1.1 innings, allowing a hit and struck out two.
UNCG managed six hits in the contest, each by a different player. Trejo came through with a clutch base hit to drive in both UNCG runs. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) was productive, going 1-for-2 with a run scored and walked three times. Dillon Stewart (Coats, N.C./Brunswick CC) added a hit and scored a run.
Tennessee had a chance to score first in the fifth. Frisbee issued three two-out walks to load the bases before giving way to Maynard. Maynard retired the first batter he saw with a fly out to left field to keep the score tied at 0-0.
After putting runners on in every inning, UNCG was finally able to crack open the game in the top of the sixth. Moritz drew a four-pitch walk and moved to third on a well executed hit and run single from Stewart. Stewart swiped his second base of the season to put to in scoring position for Trejo who singled back up the middle to bring home two.
Tennessee got on the board in the bottom of the sixth. After a one-out single put the first runner on, Nico Mascia hit a chopper to Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) who ranged to his left to make a play. After planting to try to turn a double play, Embler slipped and the throw was off target, advancing the runner to third base. Wyatt Stapp singled to right field to cut UNCG’s lead in half. A strikeout and a fly out to left field limited the damage and kept UNCG up, 2-1.
The Volunteers took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Pete Derkay doubled down the right field line and Andre Lipcius worked a walk to put two on for Benito Santiago. Santiago lifted a 3-2 offering to the wall in left, allowing both runs to score and Tennessee to take a 3-2 lead.
UNCG couldn’t get anything going in the ninth. Embler singled but was thrown out attempting to take second base on the hit. Webster hit a grounder up the middle that the Tennessee shortstop was able to handle before Moritz hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in right field for the final out.
The Spartans and Volunteers are back in action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. for the second game of the three-game series.