Clinch's Late Grand Slam Lifts Baseball Over ETSU, 7-4
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG saw itself down 4-3 late in the game Friday night against the ETSU Bucs at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. After a walk loaded the bases, Ryan Clinch hit his third home run in the last four games, his first career grand slam, to put UNCG up 7-4. UNCG improves to 25-8 on the season and 6-1 in the Southern Conference. ETSU falls to 17-13 and 4-6 in league action.
Matt Frisbee earned his seventh win of the season Friday night. The junior pitcher threw 8.0 innings, allowing just seven hits, four earned runs, walked one and tied a career-high with 13 strikeouts. Jack Maynard came on to pitch the ninth, earning his sixth save of the season with a strikeout.
Clinch had the loudest hit of the night as he finished 1-for-4 with four RBI and a run scored on the grand slam. Andrew Moritz added a 3-for-4 performance with three runs scored and an RBI. Zach Kuchmaner went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and an RBI. Austin Embler added a 1-for-3 performance, leading off the game with a single and scoring a run.
“We got a great start out of (Matt) Frisbee.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “He had really good stuff, it was just one of those nights that those mistakes that he made were extra-base hits. Aside from some of those pitches that they got, it was a very good performance for him. His slider was good, his fastball command was nice and he got us very deep into the game.”
“Early on I thought we had a good approach at the plate.” Jarrett continued, “(Micah) Kaczor pitched a really good game. He moved his fastball to both sides, he had some life on it, he used his slider well, his changeup was good and flipped a curveball in from time-to-time, he’s a very tough pitcher. Middle part of the game, it wasn’t the quality of at bat that we’re used to. Thankfully in the eighth we were able to string some things together. Our one extra-base hit from (Ryan) Clinch was an incredible at bat for him. Down 0-2, they tried to sneak a fastball inside on him, they struck him out on that earlier in the game and he was able to get his hands and the barrel inside it and do something special. That’s a very good win against a team that pitched well and played a very good game.”
The Spartans jumped ahead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring two runs. Embler singled to start the frame and moved into scoring position on a Caleb Webster ground out. Moritz drove a 2-2 pitch back through the box for a single to score Embler and put UNCG up. After a Cesar Trejo walk, Kuchmaner hammered a single right at the first baseman that ricocheted into the outfield to score Moritz and put UNCG up 2-0.
ETSU quickly erased the Spartan lead with a two-run homer from Ben Jackson in the top of the second inning.
UNCG regained the lead in the bottom of the third. Moritz led off with a single to left field. Kuchmaner put the pressure on the ETSU defense as he looped a single to right field and Moritz went to third on the play. The ETSU right fielder tried to get Moritz at third and Kuchmaner took off for second. The throw from the ETSU third baseman to get Kuchmaner was wide of the mark and went back into right field, allowing Moritz to score and Kuchmaner to move up as the Spartans took the 3-2 lead.
The Bucs again used the long ball to even the score and eventually take the lead as solo home runs from Caleb Longley in the sixth inning and Jackson Greer in the seventh inning put ETSU up 4-3.
After ETSU’s Micah Kaczor had retired 15-consecutive batters, Moritz legged out an infield hit to ignite the eighth inning rally. Trejo follow with a single through the left side to put runners on the corners as Moritz went first to third on the play. ETSU played the percentages after Trejo stole second, walking Dillon Stewart to load the bases. Stewart entered the day with a team-high seven home runs, setting the stage for Clinch. Clinch hammered the 0-2 offering from Kaczor to the scoreboard in right as the grand slam put UNCG up 7-4.
Maynard tossed a perfect ninth inning as he retired all three hitters he faced, using just seven pitches to earn his sixth save of the season.
The Spartans are back in action tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. for a doubleheader with the ETSU Bucs. Due to impending inclement weather Sunday, UNCG and ETSU will move the game scheduled for Sunday to approximately 40 minutes following the conclusion of the first game on Saturday. The first game of tomorrow’s doubleheader is UNCG’s Cancer Awareness game. There will be 400 “UNCG Baseball Strikeout Cancer” wristbands given away as fans enter the gates. There will also be a special presentation that fans can participate in during the seventh inning stretch.