GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG baseball saw its four-game winning streak snapped Sunday afternoon at the UNCG Baseball Stadium to the Marist Red Foxes. The Spartans were up 7-4 before a five-run sixth inning gave the Marist a 9-7 advantage. UNCG put runners on in the eighth and ninth innings, but couldn’t find the big hit to regain the lead. UNCG falls to 7-4 on the season, with Marist improving to 1-7.
“Today was a tough day.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “We didn’t really play well. Defensively we were good, but out other facets weren’t as sharp. We didn’t get a quality start and we weren’t as effective out of the bullpen. Easton (Welch) did a nice job, (Jake) Lewis did a nice job, other than that, the bullpen wasn’t real sharp. We were trying to get some guys some opportunities to extend and stretch out, but we just didn’t pitch well.
Offensively, that many strikeouts is uncharacteristic of our team.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “The two left-handed pitchers did a really nice job. Romanelli (Marist) bounced back after throwing a lot for them already in the weekend, that says a lot about him, he’s a good arm. We didn’t play well today, and Marist deserved to win that game.”
Trey Kissack (Grand Island, Neb./Southeast CC) got the start on the mound. The sophomore threw 3.0 innings, allowing six hits, four earned runs, and struck out two hitters. Easton Welch (Randleman, N.C./Gardner-Webb) was first out of the bullpen, entering with two in scoring position and no outs in the top of the fourth. Welch surrendered just one inherited run on a sacrifice bunt, but didn’t allow a hit in 2.0 innings of work.
Dan Loats (Eden Prairie, Minn./NIACC) came on to start the sixth. The senior tossed a third of an inning, giving up two hits and four runs before giving way to Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC). Maynard finished out the sixth, giving up two hits and a run of his own.
Jake Lewis (Wendell, N.C./Corinth Holders) and Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) tossed the final three innings. Lewis worked the seventh and eighth, allowing two hits and striking out four hitters. Wantz worked the ninth, allowing two hits and a run.
The Spartan offense managed eight hits in the loss, led by Austin Ember’s (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) 2-for-5 performance. Six others added hits as freshman Greg Hardison (Greenville, N.C./JH Rose) finished with a single and a team-high two RBI.
Marist opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Andrew Rouse led off with a single to center field before Chris Tracz tucked a double down the line in right field to put two in scoring position for Chris Iantosca. Iantosca ground out to first but a run was able to score on the play.
The lead was short-lived as the Spartans took advantage of a pair of hit by pitches to start the bottom half of the second. A fly ball off the bat of Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) moved Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) to third with Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) at first. With two outs and Hardison hitting, Shelton took off for second for his first stolen base of the year and Trejo went home on the throw. The throw at second was off the mark, moving Shelton up to third. Hardison finished the at bat with a single up the middle to drive in Shelton and put UNCG up 2-1.
The Red Foxes regained the lead in the top of the third. With one out, Jordan Roper singled and Randy Taveras doubled down the right field line to put to in scoring position. A pair of wild pitches brought both around as Marist took the lead, 3-2. Marist added to their lead the very next inning. After a single and a walk put two on, a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. Iantosca laid down a sacrifice bunt up the first base line to score one and extend the lead to 4-2.
UNCG took the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on just one bunt base hit. The Spartans took advantage of five walks and four errors to score five runs and take the lead 7-4.
Marist regained the lead in the top of the sixth inning, scoring five runs on four hits. A pair of hits started the frame before an RBI groundout drove the first runner in. With the bases loaded, a walk and a hit by pitch drove in two before Roper singled to drive in two more. After a bunt hit loaded the bases again, Rouse was hit by a pitch to drive in the fifth run as Marist took a 9-7 lead.
UNCG threatened in the eighth, loading the bases with one out, but a pair of strikeouts and a fly out ended the threat as the Spartans went scoreless.
The Red Foxes added an insurance run in the top of the ninth. After a lead off single from Greg Kocinski, Tracz laid down the sacrifice bunt to move the runner into scoring position. Iantosca singled back up the middle to bring him in and put the lead at 10-7 headed to the bottom of the ninth.
UNCG again put runners on in the ninth, but stranded a pair as the offense was unable to drive any runs in.
The Spartans return to the diamond Tuesday evening in Rock Hill, South Carolina at 6 p.m. as they’ll take on the Winthrop Eagles in the first of two midweek games next week.