Baseball Powers Past UMES, 16-5
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG tallied season highs in runs (16) and hits (19) Wednesday, rolling past UMES 16-5 inside the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Spartans even their record at 10-10 while the Hawks dip to 3-12.
The 16 runs for UNCG were the most in a single game since the Spartans defeated NC Central 17-8 April 1, 2013 at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The 19 hits were also the most since a 21-hit outburst in a 16-4 rout of Southern Conference foe Furman May 10, 2013 in Greenville, S.C.
Senior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) was 4-for-5 at the dish with four runs scored and two RBI while raising his Southern Conference-best batting average to .440. Redshirt junior outfielder Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) and redshirt freshman infielder Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) chipped in with three hits each with MacAneney scoring four runs and registering three RBI. Additionally, junior infielder Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a 2-for-5 performance.
Preseason All-SoCon honoree and junior outfielder Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) made his season debut in the game and smashed a two-run double in his final at bat of the evening. Kalbfleisch led the Spartans and was second in the league last year in doubles with 21.
Earning his first collegiate victory was freshman LHP Andrew George (1-3) (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) as he threw five innings and allowed four runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Chipper Smith (0-3) took the loss for UMES, lasting just 2.1 innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with three walks and a strikeout.
The Hawks struck first in the contest, touching up George for three runs on three hits in the top of the second inning. A two-run triple by Stephen Bull was the big blow in the frame.
UNCG stormed back in the bottom of the third as MacAneney and Guite led off with consecutive singles. Kalbfleisch followed with a fly ball out to center that advanced MacAneney to third before junior infielder Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) ripped a two-run double down the left field line to make the score 3-2. Junior outfielder L.J. Kalawaia kept things moving with a RBI single up the middle that scored King. McDonald doubled to right field to plate Kalawaia who stole second during the at bat and McDonald would score on a passed ball to complete the inning’s scoring – leaving the Spartans with a 5-3 cushion.
UMES scored an unearned run in the top of the fourth to pull within 5-4, but Guite led off the bottom of the stanza with a double and advanced to third on a groundout by King before scoring off of a wild pitch.
Abreu began the bottom of the fifth inning with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman catcher Jake Kusz (Durham, N.C./Riverside). After junior outfielder Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) flew out to shallow left field, MacAneney reached on a throwing error that plated Abreu and stole second before advancing to third on another throwing miscue. That brought up Guite and he crushed a ball over the wall in left center for his first home run of the campaign, scoring MacAneney and making the score 9-4 after five complete.
The teams traded runs in the seventh and eighth innings before UNCG exploded for six runs on six hits – including MacAneney’s first home run of the season, in the bottom of the eighth to account for the final 16-5 margin.
The Blue and Gold opens SoCon play this weekend, hosting Furman for a three-game set at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Spartans and Paladins will open the series Friday, March 21, with a 6 p.m. contest.