Baseball Uses the Long Ball to Sweep Doubleheader with VMI
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG got a pair of home runs from two unlikely candidates to earn the doubleheader sweep over the VMI Keydets Friday night. The first game saw junior Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) hit his sixth career homer to go up early and Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) played the role of hero in game two, as he connected on a three-run walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th inning.
With the victories, UNCG improves to 16-5 and 2-0 in Southern Conference play. VMI falls to 9-11 and 0-2 in league play. Game one saw Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) hold VMI down through six innings as the Spartans earned a 4-1 lead before blowing the game open late, scoring five runs in the eighth inning. Game two was more dramatic with UNCG needed 10 innings before Webster launched his first homer of the season.
“We got two quality starts and two excellent relief appearances from (Jack) Maynard and (Andrew) Wantz tonight.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “That’s a recipe to keep your team in every game. Offensively, the first game, (Josh) Winder is an exceptional pitcher and we were able to do just enough. (Andrew) Moritz had a hit and run he hit out of the ballpark to get us on the board. I thought our base running in the first game was executed well and allowed us to do enough to keep the pressure on them throughout. Tripp (Shelton) had a big double play in the first game, backhanding a ball to his right and making the long throw to get us out of a jam.
“(Bryce) Hensley had a good start in game two.” Jarrett continued, “Wantz was outstanding in some extended work out of the bullpen. That’s a credit to his training and toughness to go out there and pitch for that many innings on top of what he’s used to throwing. Caleb (Webster) battled and was asked to bunt there in the 10th. He had himself in an 0-2 count and was able to turn on a fastball and it was a huge lift for our program and our team.”
In game one, Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) started on the mound. The junior picked up his fourth win of the season, tossing 6.0 innings, allowing just one earned run, one walk, five hits and struck out seven hitters. Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) closed the game out, earning his second save of the year. Maynard tossed the final 3.0 innings without allowing a hit and striking out five of nine batters faced.
The top of the order continued to be productive as the first three hitters each had multi-hit games in the first game. Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) went 3-for-5 with three RBI, two runs scored and a triple. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) added a 2-for-4 game with two RBI and two runs scored. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) added 2 hits and scored twice. Josh Madole (Hampstead, N.C./Topsail) and Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) added two hits each in the first game and scored a run.
Bryce Hensley (Asheville, N.C./Catawba Valley CC) got the start in game two. Hensley struck out seven hitters in 5.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on nine hits. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) came on to earn the win, throwing 4.1 innings, allowing just one hit, no runs and striking out six hitters.
The second game saw the Spartan offense earn just seven hits, with Webster going 3-for-5 with three RBI and scored twice and provided the biggest hit of the game. Moritz went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Embler and Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) each added a hit and Shelton scored twice.
UNCG scored the first runs of the day in the bottom of the third inning in game one. Webster pushed a single through the right side before Moritz hammered his second homer of the season to put the Spartans up 2-0.
The Keydets responded in the next half inning. Jake Huggins led off with a double to right field before moving to third and eventually home on fly balls from Collin Fleischer and Matt Dunleavy.
The Spartans added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, scoring a pair of runs. Madole singled and stole second before coming around to score when Embler worked an 11-pitch at bat and looped a single to center field. Embler was productive on the bases, stealing second and third before scoring on a passed ball to put UNCG up 4-1. The Spartans broke the game open in the eighth, scoring five runs on four hits with Embler adding a two-RBI triple and Dillon Stewart (Coats, N.C./Brunswick CC) adding an RBI single.
UNCG wasted no time getting on the board in the nightcap, scoring two runs in the first inning. Embler started the game off with a single up the middle before Webster reached on a bunt single. A wild pitch moved both into scoring position for Moritz who legged out an infield to bring in the first run. Trejo drove in another run with a sacrifice fly to center field.
VMI cut the lead in half in the top of the fourth inning by virtue of a Malbon single. The Keydets took their first lead of the day, scoring two in the top of the sixth. Back-to-back singles started the frame before a sacrifice bunt put two in scoring position. Fleischer brought the first run in with an RBI ground out before Will Malbon singled to take the lead 3-2.
UNCG clawed their way back into it, scratching across one run in the bottom of the eighth. Shelton drew a lead off walk before Clinch moved him over with a sacrifice bunt. Webster lined a single to right field, but the hit was too hard and Shelton was unable to score. Stewart threw the bat at a two-strike pitch and tapped a grounder to the VMI second baseman who misplayed it allowing Shelton to score and tie it up 3-3.
The bottom of the 10th inning saw Shelton single and Clinch work an eight-pitch walk to put two on for Webster. The sophomore attempted to bunt the first two pitches and went down 0-2. After evening the count at 2-2, Webster took the Matthew Eagle offering to left field for his second homer in his career and first of the season to give UNCG the 6-3 victory.
UNCG and VMI are scheduled to close out the series Sunday with game time at 1 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.