King Walk-off Home Run Lifts Baseball Past Wake Forest In Extras
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG baseball team earned its second walk-off victory over an opponent from the Atlantic Coast Conference this season Tuesday evening as junior infielder Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) clubbed a leadoff home run to left center in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the Spartans a wild 11-10 win over Wake Forest at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
While King may have been the eventual hero in the contest, junior outfielder Zac MacAneney had a career day at the dish – going 5-for-6 with three runs scored. King would finish the day with two hits in four at bats to go along with two runs scored and three RBI. Additionally, senior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) tallied two hits, three runs scored and a RBI.
The teams combined for 21 runs on 27 hits, but the Demon Deacons were ultimately done in by seven wild pitches by their pitching staff and three defensive errors.
Junior RHP Tyler Frazier (0-1) (Fairfax Station, Va./South County) picked up his first victory of the season, throwing a scoreless 10th inning allowing no hits, walking one batter and striking out two. Aaron Fossas (2-1) was saddled with the loss for Wake Forest as he pitched one inning giving up two runs on three hits and walking two.
Spartan starter and senior RHP Dylan Thompson (Snow Camp, N.C./Guilford Technical CC) pitched arguably his finest game in a UNCG uniform, hurling a career-high 5.1 innings while allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits and fanning three. He retired the first nine batters he faced in three perfect innings to start the contest.
The Spartans struck first in the bottom of the third inning. Guite was hit by a pitch before MacAneney laid down a great bunt that he beat out for an infield single. A pair of wild pitches would allow Guite to score before redshirt sophomore outfielder Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) walked to keep the line moving. Redshirt freshman infielder Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) plated the second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly to left. Another wild pitch and a throwing error by the shortstop accounted for another pair of runs as UNCG would lead 4-0 after three complete.
The visitors had an answer, scoring two runs on four hits in the top of the fourth, but the Spartans responded in the bottom of the frame. Guite led off with a double down the right field line and MacAneney laid down his second bunt single of the afternoon to put runners on the corners. Marrero reached on an error by the pitcher that allowed Guite to score the first run of the inning before Abreu was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. MacAneney then scored on a wild pitch and King poked a RBI single through the left side to extend the UNCG lead to 7-2 after four innings.
Wake Forest kept the score close, netting two runs on a hit and a Spartan error in the top of the fifth, but a RBI single by Marrero in the bottom of the inning left the score at 8-4 entering the sixth.
The teams played scoreless baseball in the sixth and seventh innings as UNCG looked to put the game away. The Demon Deacons had other ideas, however, putting together a four-run eighth inning to knot the score at eight. A double and a single against Spartan junior LHP Caleb Henley (Salisbury, N.C./East Rowan) resulted in the first run before redshirt junior LHP Blair Betts (Cary, N.C./Indiana) was called upon to put out the fire. He could not contain the Wake Forest offense, however, plunking the first batter he faced before giving up a RBI single and a two-RBI double to account for the visitors’ final three runs of the inning.
UNCG was able to edge back in front in the bottom of the eighth as MacAneney singled up the middle to start the half inning and advanced to second on a throwing error at short. Marrero moved him to third on a sacrifice bunt before Abreu was walked intentionally. King then poked a ball over the pitcher’s head that was deep enough to score MacAneney on the fielder’s choice play and give the Blue and Gold a 9-8 advantage.
Freshman RHP Adam Swim (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) came on to pitch the top of the ninth in a potential save opportunity. Things started out well for the rookie hurler as he struck out leadoff batter Jack Carey looking. However, after Swim issued a walk to Ben Breazeale, the next two batters recorded singles to score the first run and Evan Stephens tallied a sacrifice fly to give WFU its first lead of the day at 10-9.
Down to its last three outs, UNCG received a leadoff single from junior designated hitter Aaron Wright (Asheville, N.C./Chattanooga State) before sophomore catcher Jake Hall (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) walked and junior outfielder Tyler Long (Halifax, Va./Louisburg College) followed with a single through the right side to load the bases with no outs. Guite then worked a walk to score pinch runner and junior outfielder Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) – tying the contest at 10 apiece. With the bases still loaded and no outs on the board, UNCG could not find the winning tally and the game went to extra innings.
Frazier quickly retired the first two Wake batters in the top of the 10th, but his error on Nate Mondou’s grounded to the mound allowed Mondou to reach third base. Carey drew a walk to put runners at the corners, but Frazier came through with a huge strikeout of Breazeale to keep the Demon Deacons off of the scoreboard.
King wasted little time in the bottom of the 10th as he took the first pitch he saw and drove it far over the wall in left center to seal the walk-off victory.
UNCG continues its seven-game homestand Wednesday, welcoming local rival High Point to the UNCG Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.