Baseball Routs Elon To Complete Series Sweep
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG offense exploded for the second-straight contest Sunday as the Spartans completed an impressive series sweep of Elon with a 13-4 victory at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
It is the first three-game sweep in Southern Conference play for UNCG since the 2011 season when the Blue and Gold swept Western Carolina, Georgia Southern, The Citadel and Wofford. Additionally, it was the first sweep by an opponent over the Phoenix since March of 2010.
As a team, the Spartans put on a dazzling offensive display over the weekend. UNCG hit .407 as a team while racking up 30 runs, 44 hits, 11 doubles, two triples and a home run. The Blue and Gold also slugged .574 and produced an on base percentage of .456. The pitching staff did its job as well, compiling a team earned run average of 2.33 and striking out 27 Phoenix batters.
In Sunday’s affair, UNCG pounded out 18 hits – just one off its season high - and did not make an error. Every batter in the lineup who made a plate appearance recorded a hit with seven recording multiple base knocks. Junior Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) capped a stellar weekend with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate while also scoring three runs and driving in three. He fell just short of hitting for the cycle as he recorded a single, double and home run in the game. Classmate Tyler Long (Halifax, Va./Louisburg College) was also 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.
King hit .818 during the weekend with a slugging percentage of 1.545 and a .857 on base mark. He compiled nine hits, three doubles, a triple, a home run, seven runs scored, seven RBI and a stolen base.
Senior Dylan Thompson (Snow Camp, N.C./Guilford Technical CC) turned a strong starting performance on the bump, earning the win and improving to 2-3 overall. He threw 6.2 innings and gave up four runs on seven hits while striking out three batters. Jake Stalzer suffered the loss for Elon and dropped to 5-3 as he allowed seven runs (all earned) on nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts.
A sacrifice fly by junior L.J. Kalawaia (Wailuku, Hawai’i/Ohlone College) plated the game’s first run and gave UNCG a 1-0 lead after two innings. The Phoenix responded with two runs on three hits in the top of the third to move in front 2-1, but that advantage would be short lived.
A heads up play by Long in the bottom of the fourth tied the game at two as he stole home with two outs after Stalzer attempted to pick off freshman Jake Kusz (Durham, N.C./Riverside) at second base. Kusz dove back in time and Long took off for home and crossed the plate safely.
Thompson induced a double play to end the top of the fifth and UNCG opened the floodgates in the next two frames, scoring nine runs in the fifth and sixth innings to blow the game wide open.
Senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the fifth before junior Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) singled through the right side. That would bring up King and he belted a ball over the left field fence for a three-run home run, making the score 5-2. Kalawaia followed with a triple down the left field line and Long doubled to score Kalawaia. After Long stole third, Kusz poked a ball back to the pitcher that plated Long. The Spartans would lead 7-2 after the fifth.
A two-out rally in the sixth resulted in four runs for the Blue and Gold as junior Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) came through with a two-run double. Long and redshirt freshman Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) added RBI singles to make it an 11-2 contest going the seventh.
The Phoenix scratched across two runs with two outs in the top of the seventh before junior Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) capped the scoring with a two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the eighth.
Junior Brennen James (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) worked a scoreless ninth to end the contest.
UNCG will return to action next weekend when Samford comes to town for a three-game SoCon series.