GREENSBORO, N.C. – Marist cut into the Spartan lead 5-3 in the top of the sixth inning before senior relievers Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) and Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) shut out Marist over the final three innings. The two combined for four strikeouts as Wantz earned his third save of the season in the victory. UNCG improves to 7-3 with its fourth-straight victory. Marist falls to 0-7.
Bryce Hensley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) started on the mound, throwing a season-high 5.0 innings earning his first win of the year. Hensley allowed five hits, three runs; two earned, walked three and struck out four hitters in the win. Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) was first out of the bullpen, coming in with two on and no outs in the sixth. Two wild pitches allowed a runner to score as Maynard limited the damage. He tossed a clean seventh inning before giving way to Wantz. Wantz tossed the eighth and ninth, allowing two hits and struck out two to earn his third save of the season.
Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) led the offense. The sophomore went 4-for-4 with an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) drove in a game-high two runs, going 2-for-4 and scored a run. Ryan Caveness (Greensboro, N.C./Guilford Tech) added an RBI single.
“Bryce (Hensley) gave us a competitive start.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “It probably wasn’t his sharpest outing, but he got us five good innings and went out for the sixth. (Jack) Maynard got us two innings, (Andrew) Wantz got us two innings, we pitched enough to give ourselves a chance to stay in the ball game. I wish the top of the sixth would have gone a little better for Hensley, but it didn’t. When you have the bullpen experience, you can count on that if your starter gets into a tough spot.”
“We felt good about the way we played.” Jarrett continued, “(Caleb) Webster obviously had a good day, I’m proud of the effort today. The bottom of the fifth, (Greg) Hardison led us off with a single and Webster laid down the push bunt to get the momentum back. Eventually Moritz drives those two in. I thought that was the turning point in the game. It was a good game against two of Marist’s talented lefties. Those two pitchers are very good, they know how to pitch and they what they’re doing.”
Marist got on the board first, taking advantage of a Spartan error. Nick Cantone led off with a single and moved up after Patrick Lightner was hit by a pitch. UNCG got a ground ball, but the transition at second base was mishandled to load the bases. Frankie Gregoire drove in Marist’s first run with a single to right before the Red Foxes added another on a double play.
UNCG tied it up in its half of the third. With two outs, Webster Moritz singled to put two on. Dillon Stewart (Coats, N.C./Brunswick CC) skied a fly ball to right field where the wind worked some magic as it fell in front of the right fielder allowing both runs to score.
UNCG took its first lead in the bottom of the fifth. Greg Hardison (Greenville, N.C./JH Rose) singled to start the frame and moved to second after Webster reached on a bunt single. Moritz drove a single to center field to score a pair before being caught stealing. Stewart and Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) both drove ground balls through the left side to get the rally reignited. Ryan Caveness (Greensboro, N.C./Guilford Tech) drove a single over the second baseman’s head to bring in Stewart to take the lead 5-2.
Marist cut into the lead in the sixth inning. Andrew Rouse and Greg Kocinski drew walks to start the inning and Rouse was aggressive on the bases, moving to third and then scoring on wild pitches.
The Spartans responded to push the lead back to three in the bottom of the sixth. Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) pinch-hit and singled on the first pitch he saw. A pair of groundouts moved Shelton to third before Webster poked a single to right field to put the lead back at three, 6-3.
Maynard and Wantz combined to shut out the Red Foxes over the final three innings. Maynard worked a perfect seventh inning. Wantz gave up lead off singles in the eighth and ninth, but used a strikeout and a double play to face the minimum in his two innings of work.
UNCG looks for the sweep of Marist tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.