With postseason on the line, UNCG welcomes CoC for three-game set
UNCG (24-25, 9-18 SoCon) vs. College of Charleston Cougars (35-17, 18-9 SoCon)
UNCG Baseball Stadium • Greensboro, N.C.
May 17-19, 2012 • Games 50-52 • 6 p.m., 6 p.m., 1 p.m.
Live Video: Spartan All Access (free all season) (Thursday & Saturday only)
• With a postseason berth in the balance, UNCG welcomes the College of Charleston Cougars to the friendly confines of UNCG Baseball Stadium for a Southern Conference three-game series in the final weekend in the 2012 regular season. The two teams will play at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. The regular-season finale will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday with seven seniors being honored before the first pitch.
• Entering the weekend, both teams have plenty at stake as the Cougars are trying to surpass Appalachian State for the top seed in the Southern Conference Baseball Championship that starts on May 23. College of Charleston trails Appalachian State by a game, but the Mountaineers hold the tiebreaker as they took two-of-three from the Cougars in Boone earlier in the season. UNCG is in a similar situation, but the Spartans are fighting for the eighth seed and the final spot in the tournament. The Spartans trail Furman by one game for eighth place, as, much like College of Charleston's dilemma, Furman holds the tiebreaker over UNCG as the Paladins took two-of-three from the Spartans in Greensboro earlier in the year. UNCG can finish as high as eighth and as low as 11th as multiple scenarios are up in the air. The Cougars can finish no worse than second, but can take the regular-season title if certain scenarios fall into place. If UNCG loses and Furman wins on Thursday, the Spartans are mathematically eliminated from postseason contention. If both teams were to win or lose on Thursday, UNCG would still have a chance going into Friday's game.
• On Tuesday, UNCG traveled to NC State for its final nonconference game of the 2012 slate and was shut out for the second time on the season as the Wolfpack downed UNCG, 7-0, in Raleigh, N.C. The Spartan offense collected only three hits and only two runners reached second base. The Wolfpack's Logan Jernigan struck out eight batters and retired 20 of the 23 batters he faced in 6 2/3 innings of work on 100 pitches. Chris Diaz tormented the Spartan pitching staff as he went 3-for-5 with two RBI and scored two runs. Lloyd Enzor, Trevor Edwards and Cambric Moye were the only Spartans to get into the hit column. The Spartans' Dominique Vattuone weathered the storm as he threw three innings of one-hit shutout ball in relief.
• Sophomore Dylan Hathcock (4-4) has been a key element to the Spartan pitching staff as he has logged 57 2/3 innings of work and has allowed only two earned runs in his last two starts while tossing 11 innings. Hathcock sits ninth in the Southern Conference with a 3.32 ERA. The Tampa Fla., native leads the conference as he has allowed only 25 runs and is second in the conference by allowing 21 earned runs. On May 9, he was named Student-Athlete of the Week in the Southern Conference.
• On Tuesday, College of Charleston won a dramatic 12-inning affair, 9-8, against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers after SoCon Player of the Week Daniel Aldrich hit a walk-off single to give the Cougars their third walk-off at home this season.
• The Cougars hold a 26-18 lead over UNCG in the overall series. UNCG took two-of-three from the Cougars in Charleston last year as the first two games were decided by one run. UNCG enjoyed a 5-4 victory in the series opener, but the Cougars returned the favor by winning game two, 6-5, and snapping UNCG's seven-game winning streak. UNCG took the rubber match 9-6. Prior to the 2011 series, College of Charleston had won six straight including a three-game sweep in Greensboro during the 2010 season. The last time the Spartans defeated the Cougars in Greensboro was on May 4, 2008, in a slobber-knocker of a game as UNCG won 18-17. The two teams have split the last 14 games as both have won seven contests apiece.
• UNCG enjoys playing at home as it is 18-12 on the season and four Spartans, Kris Richards, Zach Leach, Christian Wolfe and Nick Chapman, are hitting over .300 at UNCG Baseball Stadium. Richards leads the quartet as he is hitting .390 (39-for-100) and leads the team with 39 hits, 11 doubles and a .445 on-base percentage. Edwards has sent 10 balls over the fence in 109 at-bats in home contests this year. Junior Tyler Hollstegge enjoys a 4-1 record and a 3.13 ERA in 37 1/3 innings of work while batters are hitting .276 against him.
• The Cougars' Marty Gantt will pace the offense as he is hitting an astounding .372 (75-for-201) on the season and leads the team with 75 hits, 59 runs scored, 18 doubles, 127 total bases, 25 stolen bases, 38 walks, a .632 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .484. Gantt is one of two Cougars to start all 52 contests this season as Bradley Goodson is the other. Goodson is having an impressive year as he leads the team with 225 at-bats and 42 RBI. Goodson has eight homers on the year to go along with 17 doubles and four triples.
• The Cougars' pitching staff is one of the best in the Southern Conference as they lead in almost every statistical category. With a league-leading accumulative ERA of 2.99, the Cougars have struck out 423 batters and have allowed a league-low 401 hits on the year. Christian Powell (8-3) and Matt Pegler (8-2) will man the pitching staff as both have eight wins on the season and have combined for 118 strikeouts compared to 41 walks. David Peterson leads the team with 29 appearances and 10 saves as batters are hitting a bleak .215 against him. Peterson has allowed only three extra-base hits in 35 2/3 innings of work. However, the staff can be a little erratic as it has plunked a league-high 69 batters.
• Like last year, the Spartans are thriving on "small ball" and currently are second in the nation with 78 sacrifice bunts on the season. Long Beach St. has surpassed the Spartans and has 84. Moye leads the team with 14 while Wolfe and Richards have 10 each. Leach and Bobby Martin have chipped in with nine each and Thomas Troelstrup has chimed in with eight.
• It has been a tale of two halves of innings for UNCG as the opposition has outscored UNCG 38-25 in the first inning and 28-11 in the ninth. However, the Spartans enjoy the fourth and fifth innings as they hold a 30-run advantage, 88-58, over their opponents.
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