SoCon Champion Spartans Open NCAA Regional Play Against Host Clemson Friday Night
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG baseball, playing in its first NCAA Regional since 1997, will take on the Clemson Tigers at 7 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium Friday night. The Spartans enter as the fourth seed in the double elimination regional after winning its first Southern Conference Tournament title in school history. This is the third time that UNCG baseball has made a regional, having won the Big South Tournament in 1994 and 1997.
Tickets for the Clemson Regional are available via Clemsontigers.com. Live stats and video are also available for the tournament, with links on the UNCG Baseball schedule page. The games will be streamed on ESPN3, with live stats available through NCAA.com. UNCG baseball will also feature an audio-only stream via UNCGSpartans.com/radio with Jason Patterson on the call.
The UNCG Spartan Club is hosting a pre-game tailgate from 4:30 to 6:30 pm for all alumni, family and friends of the Baseball program. The tailgate will feature a full cookout style menu and will cost will be $10 per person. Payment can be made at the entry to tailgate. The tailgate will be located just past left field in Jervey Meadows. Please contact Senior Associate AD Craig Fink to RSVP or with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or (336) 944-1750.
A Spartan victory means that UNCG takes on the winner of the Vanderbilt, St. John's contest at 7 p.m. Saturday night. A loss would pit UNCG against the loser of Vanderbilt, St. John's at 12 p.m. Saturday. Vanderbilt and St. John's will play at 12 p.m. Friday afternoon with the game airing on SEC Network +.
Probable Pitching Matchups (* Subject to change)
Game 1 - UNCG | Bryce Hensley. Jr. - LHP (6-7, 4.64 ERA, 75.2 IP, 69 Ks) vs. Clemson | Alex Eubanks, R-So. - RHP (6-5, 4.12 ERA, 94.0 IP, 97 Ks)
Game 2 - UNCG | Matt Frisbee, So. - RHP (7-4, 4.37 ERA, 90.2 IP, 72 Ks) vs. St. John's | Kevin Magee, Jr. - RHP (4-0, 2.43 ERA, 33.1 IP, 32 Ks) or Vanderbilt | Kyle Wright, Jr. - RHP(4-5, 2.91 ERA, 89.2 IP, 104 Ks)
A Little History -- NCAA Regionals
The Spartans have advanced to the NCAA Regional on two other occasions in the program's 27 year history. Both times the team went to Baton Rouge, La. to a regional hosted by the LSU Tigers. In the first regional appearance in 1994, UNCG went 2-2. After falling to USC in the opening round, UNCG defeated Southeast Louisiana, 22-12 and Tulane 4-1 for a rematch with the Trojans. USC handed UNCG its second loss of the tournament and ended the 1994 season. In 1997, UNCG went 1-2. After falling to the host Tigers, UNCG defeated Houston, 9-5. The Long Beach State Dirtbags eliminated UNCG.
Scouting the Spartans
UNCG comes into its first NCAA Regional in 20 seasons having taken the Southern Conference Tournament for the first time in program history. The Spartans advanced to the championship round, defeating Samford (6-3), ETSU (6-4) and Furman (12-8). After falling in game one of the championship, UNCG defeated the Paladins 13-1 in seven innings. Five players earned All-Tournament honors. Jack Maynard as a relief pitcher, Michael Goss at first base, Caleb Webster at third base, Ben Spitznagel as an outfielder and Tripp Shelton earned the Walt Nadzak Most Outstanding Player award and All-Tournament shortstop.
Ben Spitznagel - Spitznagel has made 51 starts this season, hitting at the lead off, or number two spot in the order. The second team All-SoCon performer hits at a .362 average and owns a .445 on-base percentage. He has stolen 12 bases and has gone for extra bases 14 times. He is second on the team with 52 runs scored. Spitznagel is a two-time All-SoCon Second Team award winner and was and ABCA/Rawlings Third Team All-American as a second baseman a year ago.
Caleb Webster - The SoCon's Freshman of the Year hits at a .397 batting average in 48 games this season. He has hit 14 doubles and five triples and leads the team with a .524 slugging percentage. Manning the hot corner, Webster has committed just three errors on the season, helping lead the nation's 16th best defensive unit. He was also an All-Tournament selection for his performance during the SoCon Tournament.
Andrew Moritz - Moritz is a first team All-SoCon selection, playing in 56 games this season with 97 starts as UNCG's center fielder. He has hit for a .394 career average, which ranks as the top average in school history. He has played a stellar centerfield this season, including making ESPN's Top Ten plays on March 10th. He's stolen a team-best 16 bases and scored a team-high 59 runs,
Cesar Trejo - The second-team All-SoCon selection leads the team with 10 home runs on the year and has driven in 54 runs. He was a D1baseball.com and Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American last season, and hits at a .284 average this season.
Michael Goss - Goss hits at a .320 average this season and has driven in 52 runs, nine during the SoCon Tournament. In the championship round against Furman, Goss had a career day, going a combined 5-for-9 with six RBI and scored four runs. He had at least one hit in all five SoCon tournament games, hitting as the cleanup hitters during the tournament.
Tripp Shelton - Shelton provides sneaky pop from the shortstop position. He has hit six home runs this season, and leads the team with 15 doubles. He played in integral role in the SoCon Tournament, driving in nine runs during the tournament. He had multiple hits in four of five games, driving in nine runs in the tournament and recording four extra-base hits. Shelton has started 131 games at shortstop, the most of any active player in his three-year career.
Bryce Hensley - Will be making his 17th start of the season. Hensley worked in the first game of the SoCon Tournament before starting in the first game of the SoCon Championship. He went 7.0 innings, scattering five hits and two earned runs while striking out two batters in the victory over Samford. When Hensley throws in 6.0 innings, UNCG is 12-2.
Matt Frisbee - Frisbee has started 15 games this season, appearing once out of the bullpen. Frisbee has logged a team-best 90.2 innings and has earned a 7-4 record. He started the contest against ETSU, going 3.1 innings giving up three earned runs. In his relief appearances against Furman, Frisbee went 4.0 innings, allowing just three hits. Although his strikeout numbers aren't high, Frisbee is a consistent strike thrower, routinely working ahead of batters and missing barrels.
Andrew Wantz - Wantz has made a team-high 25 appearances on the season. In his 65.0 innings, he has struck out 62 batters earning a 6-4 record and four saves. In the conference tournament, he made three appearances, including earning the win after throwing 3.1 shutout innings against the ETSU Bucs.
Jack Maynard - Maynard was a midseason addition to the bullpen after serving as the Friday night starter for the first seven weeks. He earned the All-Tournament honors in the SoCon Tournament after earning saves in both of his appearances. He entered the with runners on the corners in a 6-4 game against ETSU. After getting first team All-SoCon catcher Hagen Owenby to pop up to shortstop, he got a 6-4-3 double play to end the game. He threw 3.2 innings against Furman to earn a spot in the championship game. He allowed one hit over 3.2 innings of work. In the top of the eighth inning, Maynard gave up a single and loaded the bases before striking out Jason Costa to strand the bases loaded and give UNCG the 12-8 victory.
All-Time NCAA Regional Results (3-4)
1997 - (2-2); L - USC 19-3; W - Southeast Louisiana 22-12; W - Tulane 4-1; L - USC 25-9
1994 - (1-2); L - LSU 14-0; W - Houston 9-5; L - Long Beach State 14-4
Series vs. Regional Opponents (0-3)
Clemson - 0-2
2008 - at Clemson, L - 11-10; L - 6-5
Vanderbilt - N/A
St. John's - 0-1
2015 - at Keth LeClaire Classic - L, 4-0
Winner of the NCAA Clemson Regional advances to take on the NCAA Corvallis Regional. Teams participating in the Corvallis Regional are Oregon State (49-4), Nebraska (35-20), Yale (32-16) and Holy Cross (23-27).