BLACKSBURG, Va. – Greg Hardison, who finished 3-for-5 from the plate, was one of three UNCG hitters in the lineup with multiple hits, but it was a seventh inning home run by Virginia Tech’s Kerry Carpenter that made the difference as the Hokies earned a 2-1 victory at Union Park on Monday, Feb. 25.
Leading the way on the mound for UNCG was Jeremiah Triplett, who went 4.2 innings, allowed three hits, one run, five walks and fanned two Virginia Tech hitters. He gave way to Jack Voigt (0-1) for the next 2.2 innings, who surrendered four hits, one run, and closed with three strikeouts. Chad Sykes came into close out the final 0.2 innings, facing three batters in the process, and allowed one hit and converted one strikeout.
“Triplett navigated some early traffic very well and settled in to give us a quality start,” said head coach Link Jarrett. “Our infield defense was outstanding today and we turned some very nice double plays in the middle. Voigt had good stuff today, obviously there is a pitch sequence to Carpenter he would like to have back. Offensively we had multiple chances and did not execute well enough to beat a good team that is playing well.
Virginia Tech (6-0) starter Chris Gerard lasted 4.1 innings and allowed seven hits, one run and made three strikeouts. The Hokies’ bullpen of Jack Dellinger and Zach Bryzykcy combined to toss the next 4.2 innings, scattering two hits, walking two UNCG hitters and converted six strikeouts.
The Spartans put the first run of the game on the board in the second inning when Caveness reached on a single to left and Hogan Windish followed by virtue of an error in right field. Zach Kuchmaner delivered a one-out single, loading the bases for the Spartans for Jacquez Koonce. Koonce reached on a fielder’s choice, which resulted in Kuchmaner’s out at second, and scored Caveness from third to result in the 1-0 lead.
Virginia Tech’s offense broke through in the fifth after Nick Owens drew a two-out walk. Carson Taylor followed with the third Hokies hit of the game in the form of a single. Voigt came in relief of Triplett and surrendered a double to Luke Horanski, plating Owens from third to tie the game at one-all.
The Hokies scored the game’s final run in the seventh when Carpenter lifted a 3-1 pitch over the wall for the 2-1 lead. UNCG placed only one runner on base, Hardison who drew a walk in the ninth, in the final two innings as Virginia Tech closed out the win.
“Their two relievers Dellinger and Bryzykcy had very good fastball velocity and we kept us from capitalizing,” added Jarrett. “Their freshman lefty starter also pitched well. VT is a solid well-rounded team and showed good depth in the bullpen. Hardison had very competitive at bats all day, but I wish we could have delivered better offensively as a group. Our bunting game and other phases of our offense were not good enough today. We have to solidify some things we are doing as we move along, and we will.”
UNCG makes a quick turnaround this week as the Spartans head to Winston-Salem to take on Wake Forest at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 27.