GREENSBORO, N.C. – Both Coleman Sawyer and Hogan Windish finished with two hits for UNCG, but it was a pair of four-run innings by Mercer that proved to be the difference as the Bears earned an 8-1 win in game two of the three game series between the two teams on Saturday, March 23rd.
Sawyer capped off the day by going 2-for-3 from the plate, while Windish finished 2-for-4 with a run, to lead the way for the Spartan offense. Teammate Greg Hardison ran his hitting streak to nine games, after going 1-for-5 from the plate with the lone extra base hit for UNCG.
The Spartans sent five pitchers to the mound, including Brandon Stephens who logged 4.2 innings, allowed two hits and three walks while striking out six Mercer hitters.
UNCG (14-7, 1-1 SoCon) fell into an early 4-0 deficit in the first inning when Angelo DiSpigna sent a grand slam home run over the right centerfield wall for the first Mercer runs of the game.
Windish opened the fifth with a single to centerfield, moving to second on a single to shortstop by David Flores. Two batters later Caleb Webster delivered a single to left, scoring Windish from second in the process.
The Bears (12-12, 1-1 SoCon) book-ended the game with a four-run eighth inning, highlighted by bases-clearing triple to right field by RJ Yeager that pushed the lead to 5-1. DiSpigna followed with a single to right centerfield, scoring Kel Johnson to give the Bears a six-run lead. DiSpigna put the final run across the plate after a sacrifice bunt by Alex Crotty.
UNCG FAST FACTS (Game 2 vs. Mercer)
-Greg Hardison extended his hitting streak to nine games, dating back to a 1-for-3 outing versus Princeton (March 10) in the first game of a doubleheader. He is hitting .333 (12-for-36) from the plate with three RBI, two doubles and has a .389 slugging percentage in his streak.
-Hardison now has four doubles on the season, two off the team-high (six), which belongs to Caleb Webster.
-The Bears’ victory snaps a five-game winning streak in the series by UNCG, who now leads the all-time series 10-7.
-UNCG has amassed at least six hits as a team in each of its last 15 games.
-Brandon Stephens’ six strikeouts established his single-game season-high, topping the previous mark of four, which came against Penn (March 2) and Winthrop (March 5) in back-to-back outings.
UNCG HEAD COACH LINK JARRETT ANALYSIS
“Things are tricky when you don’t get a good start on the mound as we found ourselves down quickly and had an entire game to navigate out of the bullpen. (Jeremiah) Triplett was not sharp at all. (Brandon) Stephens did a fantastic job and punched out the first five batters he faced. His outing really helped hold the game in check, but we were not able to ever get to Coulter he threw well. (Coleman) Sawyer had some good at bats, as did (Hogan) Windish. As an offensive unit we were not able to capitalize on the opportunities we had. The quality of our at bats must be better, as does our pitch execution.”