GREENSBORO, N.C. – Western Carolina capitalized on a one-out bases-loaded grounder to third by Justice Bigbie, scoring Justin Sparks from 90-feet away, to earn a 2-1 win over UNCG as the two teams wrapped up the three-game Southern Conference series on Sunday, March 31st.
Seven UNCG hitters finished with at least one hit in the game, including Josh Madole, who wrapped up the day by going 2-for-3 from the plate. Austin Embler finished 1-for-4, recording the lone RBI for the Spartans, who slipped to 17-9 overall and 3-3 in league play.
Starting hurler Austin Koehn also put together a solid performance, toeing the rubber for five innings, allowing five hits, one run and one walk along the way, while tying his single-game season-high in strikeouts (five).
Koehn gave way to Brandon Stephens, who allowed just two hits over two innings of work, striking out two of the eight WCU (12-12, 2-4 SoCon) batters he faced. Chad Sykes, who dropped to 3-2 on the season in the setback, surrendered two hits and three walks while striking out a pair.
The game was scoreless over the first four complete innings as the two teams were playing at a rapid pace. Western Carolina tallied the first run of the game in the fifth when Immanuel Wilder lifted a solo home run over the right field wall for the 1-0 Catamount lead.
UNCG answered with a run in the seventh after a leadoff single up the middle by Zach Kuchmaner, followed by a Jacquez Koonce single to right field, moving the lead runner into scoring position at second. Two batters later, with Kuchmaner at third following a fly out to right field by David Flores, Embler came through with a fielder’s choice that scored Kuchmaner from third.
FAST FACTS (Game 3: vs. Western Carolina)
-Marks the first time since the 2015 season that UNCG suffered a series setback to the Catamounts at home.
-Coleman Sawyer led the way for the Spartans in hitting in the three-game series, hitting 4-of-10 (.400 batting average) from the plate, accounting for two RBI, two runs and one triple along the way. He posted a .600 slugging percentage and a .500 on-base percentage.
-Chad Sykes made nine appearances for the Spartans in the month of March, allowing just two runs and one earned run while striking out 24 hitters.
-The Spartans now have three players with at least an eight-game hitting streak. Coleman Sawyer is responsible for a team-best 12-game hitting streak (which began March 10 vs. Princeton), Greg Hardison’s stands at 11 straight games and Josh Madole has an eight-game streak that dates back to a 1-for-4 outing against N.C. A&T (March 19).
-Austin Koehn finished the game with five strikeouts, which ties his single-game season-high, set against High Point (Feb. 19) in his collegiate debut.
ON DECK FOR UNCG
The Spartans return to action on Tuesday, April 2nd, when they host High Point at 6 p.m. It is the second meeting of the two teams this season and first since UNCG posted a 6-2 win in High Point on Feb. 19.