Baseball Emerges Victorious Over Samford On Senior Day
GREENSBORO, N.C. – On a day when the UNCG baseball team honored its six seniors, the Spartans defeated Samford 8-6 to even the teams’ Southern Conference series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Blue and Gold improves to 21-20 overall and 8-9 in league play while the Bulldogs drop to 27-20 and 11-9.
UNCG used the long ball to do most of its damage, hitting three home runs in the contest – including the first career long ball by redshirt freshman Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian). Junior Tyler Long (Halifax, Va./Louisburg College) also hit his first home run as a Spartan while classmate Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) tallied his fourth round-tripper of the campaign. Long ended the contest 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two driven in. A total of four UNCG players recorded multiple hits in the game. Junior Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) drew a walk to make it a team-high 24-straight games reaching base safely.
Samford was led once again by T.J. Dixon who went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and a RBI.
Junior RHP Max Povse (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) earned his sixth win of the season, throwing seven innings and allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits. He struck out nine batters in the contest and walked just one. Jared Brasher suffered the loss for Samford after giving up six runs on six hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Junior RHP Tyler Frazier (Fairfax, Va./South County) picked up his fourth save, throwing two scoreless innings to close out the game.
After Povse set the Bulldogs down in order in the top of the first inning, Kalbfleisch’s home run in the bottom of the frame staked UNCG to an early 1-0 advantage. A two-out, RBI single up the middle by Frankie Navarette tied the score in the top of the second before Abreu’s long ball in the bottom of the inning made it 2-1 after two complete innings.
More two-out trouble plagued the Spartans in the top of the third as Drew McWhorter and Caleb Bryson tallied run-scoring singles to put the Bulldogs ahead, 3-2. Samford scored again with two outs in the top of the fourth when Dixon doubled to right center to plate Richard Greene and give his team a 4-2 cushion.
Long worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the fourth before Abreu and freshman Jake Kusz (Durham, N.C./Riverside) singled to load the bases. Junior Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) then battled to a 3-2 count and eventually won the matchup with Brasher, sending a single through the left side that scored Long and Abreu to tie the contest at four.
The Spartans took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth thanks to Long’s two-run bomb. King had walked to lead off the half inning before the blast. Chapman came through again later in the stanza with two away, dropping in a single to right field to score Kusz and extend the UNCG advantage to 7-4. Kusz tallied his first career triple to put himself in scoring position for Chapman.
Samford made things interesting again in the top of the seventh, plating two runs to pull within 7-6. Frazier came on with the one-run lead in the top of the eighth and induced three consecutive fly-ball outs to keep the Bulldogs off the board.
The Blue and Gold would add an important insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, taking advantage of a leadoff triple from Long who just missed another home run in deep center field. Abreu would bring him home in the next at bat with a sacrifice fly to left to make the score 8-6.
Frazier gave up a bunt single to Tripp Martin to begin the top of the ninth, but fanned pinch hitter Brandon Powell for the first out. A single up the middle by Dixon put runners at first and second for Tyler Filliben. However, senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) turned a 5-3 double play to end the contest with the tying run on base.
UNCG and Samford will close their three-game series with the rubber game Sunday at 1 p.m. inside the UNCG Baseball Stadium.