JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – Junior relief pitcher Corey Jackson notched his team-best seventh victory of the season as the UNCG baseball team tied its season-long winning streak of seven games with a 5-4 triumph over East Tennessee State on Sunday, May 5th in Johnson City, Tenn.
The Spartans, which moved to 29-15 overall and 11-7 in Southern Conference play, began their current seven-game streak with a 9-8 victory over Elon on April 23. Since that point they have won a pair of series against league rivals The Citadel (April 27-28) and ETSU (May 3-5). That ties a previous seven-game winning streak that spanned from March 8-16, which included wins over Princeton (three), Jacksonville (two) and Elon (one).
Jackson (7-1), who followed Jake Mayhew and Jack Voigt on the mound, picked up his second win of the series against East Tennessee State on Sunday. Jackson toed the rubber for 1.2 innings, allowed two hits, one run and one walk, while striking out two of the five Bucs’ hitters that he faced. Brandon Stephens took over for Jackson in the top of the seventh, surrendering two hits and one run, before giving way to Chad Sykes.
Sykes (S, 9) took over with two outs in the seventh and would limit ETSU to three hits over the next 2.1 innings of the contest. The redshirt-senior faced 10 batters, converted a pair of strikeouts, and made 40 pitches along the way to his team-best ninth save of the season.
The Spartan offense, responsible for five doubles in the game, tallied double-digit hits for the 19th time in 2019. Those hitters included Greg Hardison, Austin Embler, Caleb Webster, Josh Madole and Jacquez Koonce.
UNCG had nine batters with at least one hit, including Zack Budzik, who was the lone Spartan slugger with multiple hits (2-3, 2 RBI) in the game.
Madole generated the first UNCG run of the day in the second after his double to left field was followed by a single to left by Zach Kuchmaner, putting runners on the corners. Two batters later, a Ryan Caveness grounder allowed Madole to trot home for the 1-0 UNCG lead.
ETSU would score the next three runs of the contest, establishing a 3-1 advantage, before a four-run, six-hit seventh inning forged UNCG back in front. The seventh began with a single to centerfield by Caveness, who moved to second on a single to left by teammate Coleman Sawyer. A sacrifice bunt by Koonce moved the pair to second and third, respectively, where Budzik delivered a single to right field that allowed both Caveness and Sawyer to score, knotting the game at 3-3.
Hardison continued his onslaught on ETSU pitching with a double to left, however Budzik was thrown out on a relay to home. Austin Embler followed with a double into left-centerfield, scoring Hardison, before Webster dropped a double into left that plated Embler for the 5-3 Spartan lead.
The Bucs (28-17, 7-10 SoCon) got one run back in the home half of the seventh, following a home run to right field by Cullen Smith, but were limited to just four hits over the remainder of the contest.
UNCG-EAST TENNESSEE STATE (GAME 3) FAST FACTS
-Spartans snag their seventh road win of the season.
-The Spartans now hold a 32-14 advantage in the all-time series between the two programs, winning 13 of those contests under head coach Link Jarrett.
-Spartans have conducted series sweeps of Quinnipiac (two games), High Point (two games), Penn (three games), Princeton (four games), Elon (two games), The Citadel (three games) and ETSU (three games) this season.
-UNCG has had 19 games this season with at least 10 or more hits, eight of which have come against Southern Conference opponents.
-Corey Jackson made two appearances against ETSU this weekend, tossing 4.1 innings, allowing six hits, two runs, one walk and recording five K’s along the way.
-Chad Sykes earned two saves this weekend against the Bucs as he logged 4.2 innings, surrendered three hits, one walk and converted four strikeouts.
-Greg Hardison was the most potent individual hitter in the three games against ETSU, finishing 6-of-12 (.500 batting avg.) from the plate with four doubles, one home run and five runs scored as he posted a 1.083 slugging percentage and a .538 on-base percentage.
UNCG returns to action on Friday, May 10th, when the Spartans head to Lexington, Va., for a three-game series against VMI that begins at 6 p.m.