Baseball Snags 6-5 Road Win At East Carolina
GREENVILLE, N.C. – UNCG jumped out to a 4-0 lead Tuesday at East Carolina and held on to down the Pirates 6-5 in a non-conference contest in front of 1,990 at Clark-LeClair Stadium. The Spartans improve to 7-8 overall and 2-2 on their current five-game road swing while the Pirates drop to an even 8-8.
Junior LHP Caleb Henley (2-1) (Salisbury, N.C./East Rowan) earned the win after throwing just 0.2 innings in relief of starter and junior LHP Tyler Long (Halifax, Va./Louisburg College). Long hurled four innings, allowing just one earned run on two hits. Henley gave up two runs while walking three ECU batters. Earning his first career save was freshman RHP Adam Swim (Greensboro, N.C./Northwest Guilford) who threw the final two innings and walked three while allowing two runs (one earned). David Lucroy (0-3) took the loss for East Carolina, giving up four runs on seven hits and two walks over four innings pitched.
Junior outfielder Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) posted three hits in four at bats to lead the UNCG offense while sophomore catcher Jake Hall (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) and Long rapped out two hits each. Long also tallied a RBI to help his own cause on the mound. Junior outfielder Zac MacAneney and senior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) recorded the other two RBI for the Spartans. Additionally, Guite and junior infielder Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) extended their hitting streaks to eight games each.
The Spartans had an opportunity to jump on top in the first inning, but after consecutive singles by MacAneney and Guite and a sacrifice bunt by junior outfielder L.J. Kalawaia (Wailuku, Hawai’i/Ohione College) to move the runners to second and third, junior infielder Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) popped out and McDonald grounded out to terminate the threat.
UNCG broke through in the top of the second as Chapman and Hall singled to begin the frame and redshirt freshman infielder Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) moved them to second and third on a sacrifice bunt. Long helped himself with a RBI single to center for the first run of the contest before MacAneney lifted a RBI single to right field for a 2-0 Spartan lead. Guite then flew out to end the half inning.
ECU put up its first threat in the bottom of the second, loading the bases with two outs, but Long induced a ground ball out to escape any damage. The Blue and Gold did the same in the top of the third, but could not score with the bases juiced and just one out.
The Spartans were able to extend their cushion in the top of the fourth without the benefit of a base hit. Lucroy walked the first two batters he faced, Long and MacAneney, and a wild pitch advanced the runners up a base. The Pirates brought in Nick Durazo to relieve Lucroy, but he uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Long to score from third. Guite followed with a sacrifice fly to center, plating MacAneney and staking UNCG to a 4-0 lead through three and a half innings.
The Pirates scored their first run in the bottom of the fourth on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Kirk Morgan and Long was able to close out the inning allowing just the one tally for ECU. East Carolina would cut further into the deficit in the bottom of the fifth, scoring two runs off of Henley to make it a 4-3 contest. Henley walked Zach Houchins then threw a wild pitch to allow the runner to move to second. A pair of infield singles and a sacrifice fly accounted for the Pirate runs before junior LHP Blair Betts (Cary, N.C./Indiana) came on to record the final out of the inning.
UNCG tallied what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the sixth. After a groundout by Abreu, Long singled to left center before MacAneney was hit by a pitch. Guite then walked to load the bases and Kalawaia hit into a fielder’s choice play, beating out the throw to first to allow Long to score. King drew a walk in the next at bat, but the fourth ball turned out to be a wild pitch that brought MacAneney home for a 6-3 Spartan cushion.
East Carolina threatened in the bottom of the seventh, getting runners to second and third with two outs, but junior RHP Brennen James (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) induced a groundout from preseason All-America selection Drew Reynolds to hold ECU off of the scoreboard.
After the Spartans went down in order in the top of the eighth, Zach Houchins led off the bottom of the stanza with a double to deep right center. Fultz drew a walk before Reid Love scored Houchins with a RBI single to right field. Garrett Brooks brought home the Pirates’ second run of the inning on a RBI groundout to slice the UNCG lead to 6-5 before Swim got Bryce Harmon to groundout for the final out.
Eric Tyler drew a leadoff walk from Swim to begin the bottom of the ninth with the Blue and Gold clinging to its one-run advantage. A sacrifice bunt by Morgan moved Tyler to second and Reynolds flied out for the second out. UNCG gave Houchins a free pass on an intentional walk to bring up Dylan Brown. Swim would close out the save by inducing a groundout to first.
The Spartans close their Spring Break road trip Wednesday with a contest at UNC Wilmington. First pitch inside Brooks Field is scheduled for 4 p.m.