ROCK HILL, S.C. – UNCG finished the game with eight hits, two coming off the bat of Josh Madole, but it was a run in the sixth and two runs in the eighth that proved to be the difference as Winthrop emerged with a 6-3 victory on Tuesday, March 5 at the Winthrop Ballpark.
Madole (2-4) was the lone hitter in the UNCG lineup with multiple hits. The Spartans (6-4) finished with three extra base hits in the contest, including doubles by Caleb Webster (1-3) and Ryan Caveness (1-3, RBI, run) along with the team leading third home run off the bat of David Flores (1-4, RBI, run).
A total of five pitchers took the mound for the Spartans, allowing seven Winthrop (4-6) hits and six earned runs. Among them was starter Austin Koehn, who had a no decision after logging five innings, allowing three runs on four hits while striking out three Eagle hitters.
The quartet of relivers included Brandon Stephens, Alex Hoppe, Maddux Holshouser and Austin Parsley. Stephens (0-1) was responsible for the loss after allowing three runs on three hits, despite striking out a game-high four Winthrop hitters that he faced over two innings. The trio of Hoppe, Houlshouser and Parsley did not allow a run, but issued two walks over the final inning on the mound.
“We did not play well enough in any phase to come out on top tonight,” said UNCG head coach Link Jarrett. “Koehn was not sharp in the first inning. He really settled in nicely after the first inning, but we were not able to generate enough offensively to ever find ourselves ahead and in command of the game. Our at bats were not awful, our two-strike hitting was good with only two strikeouts.
“Winthrop did a good job of reaching base with their leadoff batters and that obviously creates a higher likelihood of scoring runs,” added Jarrett. “It was good to see Flores and Ferrara hit some balls hard. Hardison had some good at bats, but not much to show. Madole handled himself very well around the bag tonight and had some good at bats. We are continuing to grow as a team, some growing pains can be tough at times- tonight was that.”
After scoring three runs in the home half of the first, the Spartans defense held Winthrop hitless until the sixth, when the Eagles scored the go-ahead run. Grant English opened the frame with a double down the line and quickly stole third. Hunter Lipscomb walked to put runners on the corners for the Eagles, before a fielder’s choice by Jake Sullivan allowed English to score from third for the 4-3 lead.
English, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored in the game, was again a nuisance for the Spartans in the eighth after leading off the inning with a triple to right centerfield. Three batters later, with the bases loaded, Sullivan reached on a fielder’s choice to second, which got English at home on the play. A wild pitch brought Yankle home from third, giving Winthrop a two-run lead. The final run came when Tyler Baker reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Lipscomb from third.
Winthrop opened strong with a three-run first inning, after leadoff hitter Joe McNamara reached on a walk. Alex Raines followed with a single to right, putting runners on the corner for the Eagles. Two batters later, English grounded to third to plate McNamara for the early 1-0 lead. Spencer Yankle drove a double down inside the right field line, scoring Raines for the second run. Lipscomb extended the Winthrop lead to 3-0 with a single to centerfield that brought home Yankle from third.
UNCG got the bats fired up in the third inning when David Flores blasted a solo home run over the left field wall for the first Spartan run of the game. Mike Ferrara kept the momentum going with a single and two batters later, trotted home after Ryan Caveness doubled into centerfield. Zach Kuchmaner followed with a single to left, moving to second on the attempt to get a sliding Caveness at home, as he tied the game at three-all.
UNCG now turns its attention to a four-game, three-day series against Princeton, who comes to Greensboro on March 8-10. The first game of the series is set for Friday, March 8 at 4 p.m.