BLACKSBURG, Va. – Redshirt senior Austin Embler finished with a team-best three hits, including his first triple of the season, in a 12-4 setback to host Virginia Tech on Sunday, Feb. 24 at Union Park in Blacksburg, Va.
Embler (3-5, run), one three Spartan hitters with an extra-base hit on the afternoon, notched UNCG’s first triple of the 2019 season. Joining him with extra-base hits were Hogan Windish (1-4, 2 RBI, run) and David Flores (2-4, RBI, run), who cracked back-to-back home runs in a three-run sixth inning. UNCG completes the Monday afternoon clash with the Hokies with a 3-1 mark and Jeremiah Triplett (1-0, 1.35 ERA) on the mound against Luke Scherzer (1-0, 0.00 ERA).
Embler was responsible for the game’s first hit, motoring to third on a one-out triple off the Hokies Ian Seymour in the top of the first inning. He came home on a grounder to second by Caleb Webster, giving UNCG the early 1-0 lead.
"Virginia Tech played a well rounded game today and deserved to win," said UNCG head coach Link Jarrett. "Offensively we had a good first inning with several good two-strike at bats resulting in a run. Phillip Sanderson was pitching from behind in the count most of his outing and we gave them opportunities by not handling two plays properly on defense. Their hitters did a nice job of managing pitch selection and they had some timely extra base hits. Ian Seymour gave them a quality start and had good feel for multiple pitches. Good to see Flores have some good at bats, and Windish had another home run. Both of those guys have power that we need. Alex Hoppe threw well in an extended outing and his velocity and slider were both competitive. Tough to climb out of the hole we found ourselves in today, we will regroup and be ready tomorrow."
Virginia Tech (5-0) retaliated with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the first, highlighted by a three-run home run to centerfield by Luke Horanski that brought home Carson Taylor and Nick Owens in the process. The final Hokie run of the inning came when Reagan Teegarden singled up the middle to score Nick Biddison from third.
The Hokies distanced themselves with a seven-run second inning that began with a single into right field by Horanski which plated Owens and Kerry Carpenter for the 6-1 lead. Tanner Thomas followed with a single to left field, scoring Taylor for the seventh Virginia Tech run. Corey Jackson replaced UNCG starter Phillip Sanderson on the mound, but Biddison drew the walk to load the bases.
Two batters later, Teegarden kept the inning alive with a one-out walk that pushed the lead to 8-1. Carpenter delivered a bases-clearing double into left centerfield, bringing Teegarden, Biddison and Thomas to the plate as Virginia Tech moved in front 11-1.
The final Hokie run of the game came in the third inning on a home run to centerfield by Thomas.
UNCG enjoyed its biggest inning of the game in the sixth when Zach Kuchmaner reached base on a single down the left field line. Windish followed by lifting a two-run home run over the left centerfield wall that gave the Spartans their third run of the game. Flores followed with a home run down the left field line, scoring UNCG’s final run.
The Spartan bullpen of Jackson, Maddux Holshouser and Alex Hoppe logged seven innings of work, facing 31 Virginia Tech batters along the way. They combined to allow seven hits, six walks and three runs over that span, striking out eight Hokie hitters in the process.