Baseball Rallies Past The Citadel On Senior Day, 7-4
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Senior outfielder Christian Wolfe became the UNCG single season record holder in batting average and redshirt junior outfielder Cole Harrison recorded the game-winning hit in his last game as a Spartan as the UNCG Baseball Team scored six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pick up a 7-4 Southern Conference victory over The Citadel in the season finale for the Blue and Gold.
The Spartans (24-31, 11-19 SoCon) picked up their third league series victory of 2013 and ended head coach Link Jarrett's first season with the program with a series win over the SoCon's then second-place squad. The series loss bumped the Bulldogs down to the No. 4 seed for next week's league tournament.
Wolfe surpassed Ryan Gordon's 2003 season batting average mark of .416 as he was 3-for-4 in Saturday's contest to end his campaign at an impressive .421. That average should be good enough to pace the Southern Conference in 2013 and Wolfe should become the first Spartan to do so since Jermaine Mitchell led the circuit with a .397 total in 2006.
Harrison was also 3-for-4 in the game with a run scored and two driven in. A total of seven Spartans tallied a base knock with Harrison and sophomore outfielder Eric Kalbfleisch both recording doubles. Kalbfleisch ended his year with 21 two-baggers – tied for the third-most in a single season in the program annals – and currently the second-most in the conference.
Sophomore RHP Brennen James picked up the victory as he gave up just one hit in the eighth and struck out a batter. The Spartans received a solid start from senior LHP Corey Taylor as he allowed four runs in six and one-thirds innings with four strikeouts. Freshman RHP Ryan Clark posted his second save of the season, throwing a perfect ninth with a strikeout. The rookie began his UNCG career in stellar fashion, compiling a 5-1 record in 26 appearances with a 2.05 earned run average.
The Citadel threatened right from the start, as Mason Davis singled to left center on the first pitch of the game. A couple of one-out walks would then load the bases, but Taylor struck out Tyler Griffin looking for the second out before inducing a flyout off the bat of Drew DeKerlegand.
A pitching duel ensued from there before the Bulldogs put up another threat in the top of the fourth. Griffin doubled to left field to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a groundout by DeKerlegand. However, Taylor worked out of the jam again by getting a lineout to short and striking out Bailey Rush.
The visitors finally got to Taylor in the fifth. The inning began innocently enough with Johnathan Stokes grounding out to short. However, two-straight singles and a walk would load the bases. A hit by pitch with Bo Thompson at the dish brought home the first run of the contest and Griffin doubled to left to make the score 3-0. Taylor would tally two-straight strikeouts, however, to prevent further damage.
The Spartans had a good chance to score in the bottom of the sixth, but after Wolfe reached third with one out, senior infielder Trevor Edwards and senior infielder Lloyd Enzor struck out consecutively to terminate the threat.
After The Citadel tacked on a run in the top of the seventh, UNCG answered with one of its own in the bottom of the frame. Kalbfleisch doubled down the left field line to open the stanza and Harrison laid down a textbook bunt for a single, moving Kalbfleisch to third. Sophomore outfielder Zac MacAneney then grounded into a double play but Kalbfleisch scored to make it a 4-1 ballgame.
James would allow a one-out single in the top of the eighth to Stokes, but the runner was picked off 1-3-6 to end the inning.
Redshirt freshman infielder Nin Marrero and Wolfe posted consecutive singles to greet Bulldog reliever Kevin Connell in the bottom of the eighth before Spina reached on a fielder's choice and Wolfe moved to third on a throwing error by Rush. With one out and runners on the corners, Edwards was intentionally walked to load the bases. Austin Livingston came on to toe the rubber next, but he would walk Enzor to bring home a run and make the score 4-2. The Citadel then signaled for its closer, Skylar Hunter, but he proved ineffective for the second-straight day, walking Kalbfleisch and giving up a two-run double to Harrison to put the Spartans in front for the first time at 5-4. MacAneney then singled through the left side to score Kalbfleisch and push the UNCG advantage to 6-4.
The Bulldogs then brought out Austin Mason out of the bullpen, but he would be pulled without throwing a pitch – leaving it up to the fifth pitcher of the inning, David Rivera, to try to quell the Blue and Gold rally. Freshman catcher Jake Hall put the exclamation point on the six-run outburst as he singled through the left side to plate Harrison and give the home team a 7-4 lead. Marrero would strike out for the second out before Spina grounded out to end the frame.
Clark sliced through the top of The Citadel's order in the ninth to seal the Senior Day victory for the Spartans.
Keep up to date with the UNCG baseball team all year round by logging on to www.uncgspartans.com and following the Spartans' official twitter feed @uncgsports/@uncgbaseball.
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