MACON, Ga. – The UNCG baseball team took advantage of a pair of three-run innings to earn a 9-4 win at Mercer in the Southern Conference opener for both teams Friday evening. David Flores highlighted a three-run fifth for the Spartans (14-6, 1-0 SoCon) with a two-run home run that brought home Hogan Windish, who came through with a two-run double to left that scored Josh Madole and Jacquez Koonce in the seventh.
Flores, who finished 1-for-2 from the plate, emerged with two RBI and a run scored. Windish capped off the game by going 2-for-4, both hits resulting in doubles, with two RBI and one run as he has now had at least one hit in six of his last seven games. Austin Embler led all UNCG hitters, wrapping up the game 3-for-5 with two RBI.
UNCG established a 1-0 lead by the top of the first by virtue of an RBI single to right field by Embler to score Greg Hardison. The second run crossed the plate in the top of the second when Windish reached on a wild pitch, which allowed Koonce to bolt home.
After Mercer (11-12, 0-1 SoCon) scored three runs in the home half of the second, the Spartans capitalized on a single to left by Koonce, scoring Ryan Caveness from second, resulting in a three-all contest. Windish opened the fifth with a double down the left field line, coming home as Flores sent a home run over the left centerfield wall for the 5-3 UNCG lead. Three batters later, Embler delivered a single to centerfield, scoring Hardison from second, to push the lead to three runs.
Mercer got one run back in the bottom of the fifth, but UNCG tacked on three runs in the eighth, including Windish’s second double of the game that scored Madole and Koonce for the final run of the game. The first run of the inning came as Madole singled past the pitcher, scoring Coleman Sawyer from second.
Phillip Sanderson (2-1) scattered eight hits over 5.1 innings, allowing four runs and one walk, while striking out three Mercer hitters. The combination of Jack Voigt, Corey Jackson and Chad Sykes would combine to toss the next 3.2 innings, giving up just two hits along the way, striking out seven batters. Sykes was responsible for five of those strikeouts as he toed the rubber for 2.2 innings.
GAME ONE BREAKDOWN (Mercer Series)
-UNCG head coach Link Jarrett picks up his 195th career coaching win, leading the Spartans to their second road win in 2019 in the process.
-David Flores hits his team-leading fourth home run of the season, breaking a tie with teammate Ryan Caveness who has three and giving him two more than Hogan Windish. It marks the first home run for Flores since Winthrop (March 5), where he finished 1-for-4 at the plate.
-UNCG has now won five straight games against the Bears head-to-head and three of the last four in Macon. The Spartans have accomplished this by scoring at least six runs in six of the last seven games.
-The Spartans closed the game with 12 hits, which is tied for third-most hits in a game this season. It marks the seventh time this season that UNCG has had double-digit hits, led by a 16-hit performance in the season opener against Quinnipiac (Feb. 15).
-Austin Embler’s three-hit outing results in the seventh multi-hit outing for Embler in 2019, which ties teammates Greg Hardison and Caleb Webster for the most of any Spartan on the team.