Baseball Wins Series Opener Over Elon, 5-1
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG received a stellar start from sophomore RHP Ryan Clark (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) Friday evening and the offense scored four runs in the sixth and seventh innings to propel the Spartans to a 5-1 victory over Elon at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The Blue and Gold handed the Phoenix its first Friday loss of the campaign while UNCG (18-19, 5-8 SoCon) also snapped a six-game losing streak against Elon (25-17, 11-8 SoCon).
Clark (3-4) worked 7.2 innings and allowed just one run while scattering six hits and striking out seven batters. Lucas Bakker (5-2) was charged with the loss for the Phoenix as he gave up three runs on seven hits with a walk and five strikeouts. Junior RHP Tyler Frazier (Fairfax Station, Va./South County) threw the final 1.1 innings for UNCG and notched a strikeout.
Juniors Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) and Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) tallied two hits apiece in the contest with McDonald also driving in a pair of runs. Classmate Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) scored a run and drove in two in a 1-for-3 effort at the plate.
The Spartans struck first in the bottom of the second. King drew a leadoff walk and junior L.J. Kalawaia (Wailuku, Hawai’i/Ohlone College) followed with a single through the left side. McDonald followed with a base hit to center that scored King from second and gave UNCG a 1-0 advantage.
Clark settled in and cruised through the middle innings, receiving some more run support in the bottom of the sixth. Senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) found the gap in left center for a leadoff double and scored a batter later when Kalbfleisch singled to right field. King recorded a single in his next at bat, putting himself on second base when Elon tried to nab Kalbfleisch going to third base. Both runners would be safe on the play. McDonald drove in his second run of the contest when he hit a sharp single off the shin of Bakker. The ball rolled all the way into foul territory past the third base line, allowing Kalbfleisch to easily cross home. Bakker would have to leave the game with UNCG owning a 3-0 edge.
The Spartans added to their cushion in the seventh on a Kalbfleisch sacrifice fly and a RBI single by King, making the score 5-0 after seven complete innings. The Phoenix would avoid the shutout in the top of the eighth thanks to a RBI single by Casey Jones, but Frazier set Elon down in order in the top of the ninth to preserve the win.
The teams will continue the series Saturday at 2 p.m.