Baseball Captures Series Opener At Georgia Southern, 6-2
STATESBORO, Ga. – Sophomore Jake Hall (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) hit his first two collegiate home runs Friday to help propel UNCG to a 6-2 victory over Georgia Southern in the opener of a Southern Conference series at J.I. Clements Stadium.
The Spartans (16-16, 3-6 SoCon) handed the Eagles (24-12, 7-6 SoCon) just their fifth loss of the season at home, dropping GSU to 17-5 in Statesboro, while improving to 3-7 on the road.
UNCG received another solid performance from sophomore RHP Ryan Clark (2-4) (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) as he struck out seven batters over 7.2 innings. He gave up just two runs and scattered eight hits. Junior RHP Tyler Frazier (Fairfax Station, Va./South County) picked up his second save in as many contests, throwing the final 1.1 frames and struck out a pair. The loss went to Sam Howard (4-4) who threw five innings and allowed three runs on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
Hall was 3-for-4 in the game with two runs scored and three RBIs while junior Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) went 3-for-4 with a run scored. King and senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) also extended their hitting streaks to 15 and 13 games respectively.
The Spartans out-hit the Eagles 12-8 and took advantage of a pair of GSU errors. The offensive effort marked the 21st time this season that UNCG has reached double figures in hits.
Georgia Southern took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. After Kody Adams popped up to begin the frame, Aaron Palmer was hit by a pitch. Aaron Mizell then lifted a ball to center field that barely cleared the wall and made it a 2-0 game after one complete inning.
UNCG tied things up quickly in the top of the third. After Kalawaia singled through the right side, Hall teed off on a pitch and crushed it deep over the left field wall to knot the score at two. The blast marked his first collegiate home run. Hall was not done though, as he drove a line shot over the wall in left center to lead off the top of the fifth inning and give the Blue and Gold a 3-2 advantage.
Both teams threatened later in the contest but could not score. The Eagles left runners stranded at first and second in their half of the fifth while King was tagged out at the plate on an attempted suicide bunt in the top of the sixth. Georgia Southern menaced again in the bottom of the third, getting runners to first and second with no outs. However, a pickoff at second by Clark accounted for the first out and he worked a fly out to right and notched a strikeout to escape damage.
The Spartans put the game away in the final two innings, scoring three runs all with two outs to take a 6-2 lead. Redshirt sophomore Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) produced a RBI single in the top of the eighth while redshirt junior Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) and Guite picked up RBI doubles in the ninth to account for the final score. Frazier walked two batters in the bottom of the ninth but did not allow them to score
UNCG and Georgia Southern will continue their series Saturday at 4:30 p.m.