GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG redshirt senior Chad Sykes recorded three strikeouts and battled through a bases-loaded jam in the ninth inning to secure his fifth save of the season and the Spartans’ 4-2 victory over George Mason on Saturday, April 13th.
Entering the top of the ninth with a two-run lead, Sykes returned to the mound and struck out leadoff hitter Greg Popatak to start the frame. After back-to-back singles by Bailey Klein and Ryan Tassone, Sykes fanned Tim Quinn for the second out of the inning. He surrendered a walk to Daniel Brooks, loading the bases, before catching Alejandro Aponte swinging on a 1-2 pitch to close out the win.
Sykes was one of three pitchers to take the mound for UNCG (21-11) on the evening. Starter Phillip Sanderson (4-2) worked the first six innings, allowed two hits, two runs and three walks while notching six strikeouts en route to his second wins in as many outings. He gave way to Corey Jackson, who struck out a pair of George Mason hitters in the seventh.
Offensively, UNCG had four hitters with two hits in the contest including Austin Embler (2-4, 2 runs), Hogan Windish (2-3), Jacquez Koonce (2-4) and Zach Kuchmaner (2-4). It marks the second multi-hit game in a row for Embler, who now has nine on the campaign.
The Spartans snagged the early lead in the home half of the first when Embler led off the game with a single through the left side of the infield. Caleb Webster followed a double to right, scoring Embler on the play, for the 1-0 lead. Josh Madole roped a single to short, plating Webster for the second run of the game.
George Mason (13-20) collected their first two runs of the game in the fourth, taking advantage of a hit, two walks and a wild pitch to draw even at two.
UNCG responded with a two-run fifth inning as a result of two hits. With Embler at third, after reaching on a hit to centerfield, a Ryan Caveness grounder to third scored the redshirt senior infielder for the go-ahead run. Windish followed with a base knock up the middle, bringing home Webster from third for the final run of the game.
FAST FACTS (vs. George Mason)
-UNCG had its 13th game with at least 10 hits on the season, finishing with 11 in the contest.
-Josh Madole extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single to shortstop in the top of the first.
-Caleb Webster recorded a hit in his sixth straight game with a double in the top of the first that plated Austin Embler for the first UNCG run of the game.
-Caleb Webster moves his current hitting streak to six games, while Ryan Caveness and Zack Budzik see their six-game and five-game streaks, respectively, come to an end.
-Phillip Sanderson, who tossed six innings, had his longest outing since a seven-inning performance against Jacksonville (March 16). Sanderson allowed just two hits, two runs and three walks while fanning six Patriot hitters.
-Sanderson tied his season-low in hits allowed (two) and his season-high in strikeouts (six). The season-low in hits came in the season opener against Quinnipiac (Feb. 15), while his season-high in K’s came against Quinnipiac (Feb. 15) and Jacksonville (March 16).
- Kuchmaner and Windish bumped their number of multi-hit games on the season to seven, while Koonce picked up his 10th.
The Spartans return to the diamond on Sunday afternoon when they host George Mason for the finale at 12 p.m.