GREENSBORO, N.C. – After being held to one hit over a four-inning stretch between the third and seventh innings, the UNCG baseball team came through with two hits and four runs in the home half of the eighth to earn a 5-3 win at UNCG Stadium on Saturday, March 9 versus Princeton.
The Spartans (8-4) took advantage of two walks and a hit by pitch in the first three batters of the eighth inning when Mike Ferrara drove a single through the left side of the infield to score the second run of the game. Josh Madole followed with two-run single to centerfield, scoring Austin Embler and Ryan Caveness in the process, giving UNCG a 4-3 advantage. The final Spartan run crossed the plate when Coleman Sawyer grounded into a double play, scoring pinch runner Hogan Windish from third, extending the lead to 5-3.
Princeton attempted a rally in the ninth, when Joseph Flynn reached on a walk and Max West followed with a double to centerfield that put runners at second and third, but a Brandon Stephens strikeout coupled with a diving catch by Zach Kuchmaner to end the game slammed the door on the Tigers comeback.
The two teams complete the four-game series on Sunday, March 10 with a doubleheader that will begin at 12 p.m. The second game of the doubleheader, which begins approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the first game, is scheduled for seven innings.
Stephens picked up his first save of the season after getting the final two outs of the game. Junior lefthander Jack Voigt (2-1) earned his second win in as many days after recording two outs in the top of the eighth, including one for a strikeout.
Maddux Holshouser tossed the first five innings for UNCG, allowing three runs on four hits along with a walk, while striking out three Princeton batters along the way. He gave way to Corey Jackson, who faced eight batters over the next 2.1 innings, where he tallied one strikeout.
Caveness (2-3, 2 RBI, run) and Madole (2-3, 2 RBI, run) were the only hitters in the UNCG lineup with multiple hits on the day. The Spartans finished the afternoon with eight hits, five of which came in the first two innings of the game.
“Maddux (Holshouser) had a good start in his first outing,” said UNCG head coach Link Jarrett. “Defensively, there is a play early that if we make that play it changes the early part of his game. He wasn’t ahead in the count in the first few innings, but as he settled into his rhythm, he started to find himself in better counts and was obviously more effective. The fourth and fifth innings he really settled in and that was a point that we needed him to settle in because if you have to make a move that early, knowing what you are facing with the remainder of this game and into tomorrow.
“The base hits by (Josh) Madole and (Mike) Ferrara late in the game were huge moments,” added Jarrett. “Our at bats got a little better once we got Princeton’s starting pitcher out of the game. The bunting game helped us, but we just have to be better offensively because we are still not clicking at times. But I give Princeton a lot of credit because they really pitched well today and it was a good win. For Stephens at the end of the game to come in and finish it off, while Kuchmaner got the bunt down and make great diving catch to end it was good stuff.”
The Tigers (1-4) put the first run of the game across in the opening frame, capitalizing on a single off the bat of Jake Boone, who advanced to second on the throw. After a grounder moved Boone to third, Joseph Flynn sent a single through the left side of the infield to give Princeton the 1-0 advantage.
Two innings later, Eric Marasheski reached base on a one-out single to right field. Leadoff hitter Chris Davis followed with a home run over the right field wall, providing Princeton with the 3-0 lead. The Tigers defense and sound pitching silenced the UNCG bats over the next four innings of action.
The Tigers replaced starter James Proctor, who got the no decision, in the sixth after facing 24 batters and making 111 pitches. Proctor scattered six hits and allowed two walks over six innings, while striking out eight Spartan hitters on the day.
“Their starting pitcher had good velocity and totally different than what he was a few years ago when we faced him,” added Jarrett. “He did a really good job pitching to both our righties and lefties, but he really seemed to give our lefties trouble. He did a really nice job.”
UNCG tallied its first run of the game in the seventh after Madole reached plate by virtue of a hit by pitch. Madole stole second with Sawyer at the plate and moved to third on a balk by the Tigers’ Eli Kimbell. Madole scored with Greg Hardison at the plate after a wild pitch by Kimbell, slicing the lead to 3-1.