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Ben Spitznagel finished 3-for-4 with a walk and scored three runs as UNCG fell 8-7 to the Wofford Terriers
Ben Spitznagel finished 3-for-4 with a walk and scored three runs as UNCG fell 8-7 to the Wofford Terriers
Courtesy: Photo Courtesy of Carlos Morales

Late Rally Comes up Short as Baseball Falls to Wofford 04-14-2017

GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG scored three runs in its final at bat of Friday’s contest with the Wofford Terriers, but couldn’t climb all the way back into the contest, falling 8-7.  The Spartans fall to 21-13 overall and 7-4 in Southern Conference play.  Wofford improves to 20-16 and 5-3 in conference.

“Overall we didn’t have a great performance today.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “Our base-running and short game were not executed at all and we gave so many runs away on the mound, behind the plate and on the field defensively.  We gave them so many opportunities and they took advantage of every one.”

“I thought (Ben) Spitznagel battled with from his first at bat until the end of the game.” Jarrett continued, “It was good to see Tripp (Shelton) drive some balls, (Andrew) Moritz hit his first home run of the season.  There were some bright spots, but overall we didn’t execute the way we’ve executed most of the year.  Wofford played a very good game, their starting pitcher got deep and they were able to finish it up.  We fought and clawed back, I was proud of the way we fought to get that thing to a one-run ball game. Along the way we had so many opportunities that allowed them to score.  I thought we had a good chance to win it at the end, but when you give a team that many opportunities, and they take advantage on the bases and hit a timely home run, you end up with an 8-7 loss.”

Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) started on the hill for UNCG.  Frisbee threw 6.1 innings, giving up four hits, five runs; three earned and four strikeouts.  Chad Sykes (Creedmoor, N.C./Voyager Academy) was first out of the bullpen.  Sykes gave up three hits, three unearned runs and struck out a batter.  It’s the 37th-straight appearance that Sykes has struck out at least one hitter.  Brandon Stephens (Willow Spring, N.C./Wake Christian Academy) finished off the last 2.0 innings, picking up a strikeout.

The top of the order did the bulk of the damage Friday afternoon.  Lead off hitter Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) went 3-for-4 with a double and scored three runs.  Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) went 3-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and a run scored hitting in the second spot of the lineup for the third time this season.  Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) went 1-for-2 with his first home run of the season.  He finished with two RBI and two runs scored.  Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) added a two-hit performance and hit his second homer of the season.

The Spartans scored runs in back-to-back innings to take an early lead.  Spitznagel and Webster connected for back-to-back singles to put two on.  A pair of fielder’s choices brought Spitznagel in as UNCG took the 1-0 lead in the first. Shelton hit his second home run of the season in the second inning, putting UNCG up 2-0.

Wofford cut the Spartan lead in half in the top of the third, plating a run.  Alex Malsch singled, advanced on a wild pitch and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from McClain Bradley.  Brett Hash ground out to the pitcher allowing Malsch to score and cut the lead to 2-1.

UNCG responded in its half of the third inning.  Spitznagel led the inning off with a single and moved up to third when Webster singled. Moritz hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Spitznagel and regain the two-run cushion.

The Terriers tied the game up with one swing of the bat in the fourth.  After Max McDougald drew a walk, Cody Miller hit a home run to left field to tie the game at three.

Wofford took the lead in the top of the seventh inning, scoring five runs.  After a catcher’s interference allowed the first runner on, a single put two on.  Wild pitches allowed both to move up and scored McDougald.  With the bases loaded, Andrew Orzel hit a bases-clearing double to put the Terriers up 8-3.

UNCG cut into the lead in the bottom of the eighth on Moritz’s first home run of the season.  The Spartans weren’t finished there as they were able to score three runs in the bottom of the ninth. 

The Blue and Gold wrap up the series tomorrow afternoon with first pitch at 1:00 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.  There will be an Easter Egg Hunt for children 10 and younger prior to tomorrow’s game.