Moritz Makes a Game-Saving Catch to Preserve Victory over Wofford
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG baseball needed all eight of its insurance runs as the Spartans and Wofford Terriers battled at the UNCG Baseball Stadium Saturday afternoon. Wofford scored seven runs in its final at bat, but ultimately fell 13-12 to the Spartans. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) made a leaping grab at the wall in center field with a runner on second to preserve the victory. UNCG improves to 22-13 overall and 8-4 in Southern Conference action. Wofford falls to 20-17 and 5-4 in the SoCon.
“We got a very good start out of (Dan) Loats today.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “He punched out nine hitters in five innings and got us deep into that game, and our bullpen was fresh enough to finish it up. I was impressed with the way he pitched today. He got himself into a little bit of trouble here and there, but he really commanded his ball away well, his slider was good and he rolled his breaking ball. Anytime you punch out that many guys, you’re doing something well, and he was able to repeat it. (Jack) Maynard came in and got us out of a jam in the sixth.”
“Offensively, our short game really helped us out.” Jarrett continued, “(Ryan) Clinch’s base-hit bunt got things going in the third, both of our sacrifice bunts were effective, we stole two bases and that all factored in. You look at Caleb Webster’s two-run double late in the game was a key hit for us. (Michael) Goss, the home run, and just being able to add on and extend that lead was important. And you understand with the way the ninth inning went, how valuable every single run along the way becomes. Andrew Moritz’s catch in the ninth inning was the finest game-saving catch I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, we didn’t win the series, but the guys came out and played one of our better games defensively and offensively today. You take that win and move on.”
Dan Loats (Eden Prairie, Minn./NIACC) started for UNCG. The junior threw 5.0 innings, striking out a career-high nine hitters. Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) was first out of the bullpen, he didn’t allow a run and struck out one batter. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) gave up a run as he worked in the seventh inning. Chad Sykes threw 1.1 innings, allowing six earned runs and recording a pair of strikeouts. Brandon Stephens (Willow Spring, N.C./Wake Christian Academy) earned the save; throwing the final 0.2 innings, allowing just one run and earning his first save.
Five players recorded multi-hit games. Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman) went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI and scored three runs. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) also went 3-for-4 and scored two runs. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) finished 2-for-4, scored a game-high four runs and drove in another. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored. Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga St. CC) continues to swing a hot bat, going 2-for-5 with a home run, four RBI and a run scored.
The Spartans got the scoring started in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) got the inning started with a bunt single and moved to second on a Ryne Sigmon (Danville, Va./Danville CC) sacrifice bunt. Spitznagel singled up the middle to score Clinch and advanced to second on the throw home. Webster followed with a single of his own. A misplay by the Wofford centerfielder scored Spitznagel. A hit-by-pitch from Moritz put two on base for Goss. Goss connected for his fourth home run of the season to put UNCG up 5-0.
Wofford got on the board in the top of the fourth inning. With two outs, a walk and an infield single put two on for Mack Nathanson who homered to left field to cut the lead to 5-3, Spartans.
UNCG scored a solo run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Spitznagel reached on an error and moved to third on a single from Webster. Moritz ground out to third with runners on the corners but the play allowed Spitznagel to score and extend the lead to 6-3.
The Terriers cut into the lead in the top of the sixth. After the first two hitters reached via a walk and a hit by pitch, a sacrifice bunt and two groundouts brought a run in to cut the lead to 6-4.
Wofford used another solo run in the seventh inning to cut the lead to 6-5. Max McDougald singled and Brett Rodriguez doubled to put two in scoring position. A sacrifice fly allowed McDougald to score, but Kody Ruedisili lined out to a drawn in Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) who threw to third to double up the runner and limit the damage.
UNCG scored six runs in its final two turns at the plate to go up by eight. The Blue and Gold scored a pair of runs in seventh, one on a Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) single and another on a Goss single. The Spartans scored four more in the eighth. Webster hit a two-RBI double, Moritz connected with an RBI single and Trejo drove in a run.
Just when UNCG thought the game was out of reach, Wofford rallied to score seven runs in the top of the ninth. The Terriers racked up eight hits in the rally and had the tying run on second base before Moritz made a leaping catch at the wall in center field to secure the Spartan victory.
UNCG is back in action Tuesday, April 18th at Willard Stadium as the Spartans take on Triad-foe High Point at 6:00 p.m.