GREENSBORO, N.C. – Austin Embler and Jacquez Koonce ended the game with three hits apiece, while teammates Greg Hardison and Ryan Caveness each added two hits and a pair of RBI, helping UNC Greensboro to earn a 12-5 victory in the season-opener over Quinnipiac on Friday, Feb. 15.
The Spartans are now 7-1 under head coach Link Jarrett in season openers.
Embler, hitting second in the lineup, wrapped up the game by going 3-for-6 from the plate and accounted for an RBI. He was one of four Spartan hitters with a double on the afternoon. Koonce, making his collegiate debut, was 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs and two RBI. Both hits resulted in doubles as the UNCG lineup tallied 16 hits on the day.
Hardison, who served as the leadoff hitter for UNCG, opened the slate by going 2-for-5 with a double, one run and two RBI. Caveness, hitting fifth in the lineup, also connected on a double while scoring one run to go along with two RBI.
UNCG sent four pitchers to the mound, including Phillip Sanderson who earned the victory after tossing six innings, allowing two hits, two runs, one earned run, two walks and striking out six Bobcat hitters. The trio of Corey Jackson, Brandon Stephens and Maddux Holshouser allowed three runs on four hits and fanned six Quinnipiac batters over the final three innings of play.
“I was very proud of the way we competed today,” said Jarrett. “Sanderson settled in and had good presence his entire outing. Getting Jackson, Stephens and Holshouser in was important as we will need contributions from our entire staff all year. Offensively we showed versatility, which was nice to see as we work so hard on those aspects.
“Embler had a great day at the plate and really jumpstarted our offense,” added Jarrett. “Their starting pitcher had very good stuff and moved the ball around well with velocity. They are a talented, experienced and well-coached team.”
Tyler Poulin took the loss for the Bobcats after allowing seven runs on nine hits in 4 1/3 innings. The right-handed hurler faced 25 UNCG hitters on the day and finished with three walks and four strikeouts.
UNCG established an early 2-0 lead, after scoring runs in the first and third innings, before the Bobcats cut the lead in half with a run in the fifth. The Spartans answered with a five-run fifth, extending the advantage to 7-1, before Quinnipiac got a run back in the top of the sixth.
Five runs, including two each in the seventh and eighth innings, over the final three innings of play kept Quinnipiac at a distance for UNCG.
The two teams return to UNCG Baseball Park on Saturday, Feb. 16, when they clash at 2 p.m.