Baseball Defeats The Citadel in Seven innings in 2017's Final Home Contest
GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG scored in six of seven innings to earn a 15-5 victory in a run-rule shortened contest Sunday afternoon. Seven of nine Spartans had multi-hit performances as the offense went for 19 hits. UNCG improves to 30-19 and 13-8 in SoCon play. The Citadel falls to 15-32 and 6-15 in league action. The 30-win plateau is the first time since the 2007-2008 seasons that UNCG has posted back-to-back 30 win seasons. Spartan baseball has now posted at least 30 wins in 15 seasons of the program's 27-year history.
“You need your starting pitcher to get you through the first inning, and we had a good presence and atmosphere in the dugout today.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “Easton Welch had the dugout in shape, and he has a lot of energy in there and we had it the whole day. We went out and got a 1-2-3 first inning, and then rattled off those type of at bats out of the gates gave us four runs was impressive. We didn't know much about their pitcher, but the at bats were good and we strung a bunch of hits together. Devin (Ruiz) had a nice two-out knock to cap off that first inning.”
“(Andrew) Moritz, 4-for-4 with some very timely hits. Our short game was well executed. JoJo (Underwood) had a nice sacrifice, Tripp (Shelton) had another sacrifice that turned into more, and (Ryan) Clinch had a squeeze play that were all important parts of our offense today. I'm proud of the way we played. The Citadel came in and beat us Friday, but we were able to bounce back and win Saturday and Sunday with our backs against the wall. Good series, proud of the way we played today.”
Dan Loats (Eden Prairie, Minn./NIACC) started on the hill. The junior went 5.1 innings, allowing eight hits, five runs, four earned and struck out seven hitters. Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) threw 1.2 innings out of the bullpen, allowing two hits and struck out three batters.
The Spartan offense recorded its most his in a month and a half Sunday afternoon, racking up 19. Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) led the charge with a perfect 4-for-4 performance with a pair of RBI, two runs scored. Devin Ruiz (Pennsauken, N.J./Paul VI) was perfect from the plate as well, going 3-for-3 with an RBI and scored twice. Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) led the squad with three RBi, going 2-for-4 and finishing with two runs scored. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) continued to be productive, going 3-for-4 and scored a game-high four runs.”
UNCG wasted no time getting on the board, scoring four runs in the first inning. Spitznagel tripled to start the inning and scored on a Shelton infield single. Moritz followed with another infield single. Michael Goss (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga St. CC) dropped a single into left field to bring in a run. After Moritz and Goss executed a double steal, Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. Ruiz singled up the middle to bring in Goss and put the Spartans up early.
The Spartans tacked on another run in the second. Spitznagel doubled and the left fielder misplayed the ball allowing him to take third. A wild pitch brought him in and the Spartans took a 5-0 lead.
The Citadel got on the board in the top of the fourth. With two outs, Jonathan Sabo doubled and came around to score on a Bryce Leasure single to center field to cut the Spartan lead to 5-1.
UNCG answered in the bottom of the fourth. Ruiz started the rally with a double down the right field line and moved to third on a JoJo Underwood (Cartersville, Ga./Chattanooga St. CC) sacrifice bunt. Ryan Clinch (Jamestown, N.C./Brunswick CC) followed with a bunt hit to bring in Ruiz. After Spitznagel drew a walk, Shelton doubled to deep center field to score both and put the Spartans up, 8-1.
The Spartans continued to build on their lead in the bottom of the fifth. Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) doubled to start the frame and came around to score after an infield single from Ruiz was misplayed. Ruiz went first to third on an Underwood single and scored on a fielder's choice from Clinch.
The Bulldogs cut the Spartans' lead in half in the top of the sixth inning. Jeffrey Brown started the frame with a double and scored on a Leasure single. UNCG was unable to record an out on a fielder's choice to put two on before a Joe Sabatini single scored Leasure. Another single from Clay Martin drove in William Kinney, and a bases loaded walk brought in the fourth run of the inning.
UNCG answered with a rally of its own in the bottom of the frame. Singles from Moritz and Goss put two on before Ruiz drew a walk to load the bases for Underwood. Underwood lined a double to right center to score two. Ruiz was thrown out at home attempting to score from first to push the lead to 12-5.
The Spartans closed out the game in the bottom of the seventh inning, scoring three more runs. Clinch and Spitznagel led off the inning with back-to-back singles. Shelton followed with a sacrifice bunt and reached on a fielder's choice when the throw got away from The Citadel pitcher. With runners in scoring position, Moritz singled to left field to drive in two and give UNCG the 10-run cushion needed to shorten the contest.
The Blue and Gold return to action Thursday evening at 6 p.m. in Birmingham, Ala. as UNCG begins its final regular season series against the Samford Bulldogs.