BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – A doubleheader sweep by Samford on Saturday, April 20th, allowed the Bulldogs to complete the three-game series sweep of visiting Southern Conference rival UNCG at Joe Lee Griffin Field in Birmingham, Ala. Samford fought off a hard-charging UNCG squad in the opening game of the doubleheader to claim a 3-2 win (10 innings) and followed with a decisive 14-0 victory (7 innings) in game two.
GAME 1 Recap: Samford 3, UNCG 2 (10 innings)
The Spartans, looking to avenge a 7-3 setback in series opener on Thursday, grabbed the early 1-0 lead in the top of the third inning of Saturday’s first game. Freshman Jacquez Koonce led off the frame with a single to third and moved to second on a single through the right side of the infield by David Flores. After a sacrifice bunt by Zack Budzik advanced the pair, Austin Embler grounded to short to score Koonce from 90-feet away for the first run of the game.
Freshman starting hurler Austin Koehn kept the Samford lineup off-balance for most of the game, scattering six hits, surrendering two runs and allowing one walk in 7.1 innings on the mound. Koehn, who struck out six Bulldog hitters, enjoyed his longest outing of the season. It is the third straight game that Koehn has tossed at least six innings and fanned six opposing hitters for the Spartans.
Samford answered with its first run of the game in the sixth, which came on a home run to left field by Brooks Carlson. The Bulldogs added their second run in the seventh when Ayrton Schafer sent a two-out double down the left field line to extend the inning. That was followed by a base hit to right by Taylor Garris, giving Samford a 2-1 advantage.
UNCG began its rally in the top of the ninth opening with a double to right-centerfield by Josh Madole. Hogan Windish sent a bunt single back to the pitcher, putting runners on the corners with no outs. Zach Kuchmaner came through with a timely single through the right side of the infield to deadlock the score at 2-2.
Samford answered in the bottom of the 10th inning with a leadoff double to left centerfield by Max Pinto. After moving to third on a wild pitch, Pinto crossed the plate on a walk-off single to short by teammate Branden Fryman.
Two UNCG hitters finished with multiple hits in the game, including Kuchmaner (2-4, RBI), who recorded his first double of the season. Madole was 2-for-4 from the plate for UNCG, enjoying his 13th multi-hit outing of the slate.
Austin Embler finished the game 1-for-5 for UNCG, extending his hitting streak to six straight games with single in the tenth.
UNCG FAST FACTS (Game 2: vs. Samford)
-Third extra-inning affair for the Spartans this season after a 6-5 (13 inn.) win over Penn (March 2) and an 11-9 (13 inn.) win over Furman (April 6).
-Spartans slip to 3-7 on the road on the season.
-Chad Sykes extended his consecutive game streak with a strikeout to 55 as he tallied one strikeout in 1.2 innings of work against the Bulldogs.
-UNCG has now outscored their opponents 37-22 in the ninth inning.
-Spartans finished with 10 hits in the game, marking the 14th time this season that they have had double-digit hits in a game.
-Austin Koehn has struck out at least three batters in eight of his 10 appearances this season for UNCG. He has tied his season-high in K’s (six) in each of his last three outings against Furman (April 7), George Mason (April 14) and Samford (April 20).
GAME 2 Recap: Samford 14, UNCG 0 (7 innings)
UNCG endured a shutout for the first time in the 2019 season in the second game of the doubleheader on Saturday. It is the first shutout of the Spartans since a 4-0 loss at Samford on May 18, 2017.
The Spartans (22-15, 5-7 SoCon) were led at the plate by Austin Embler (1-3) and David Flores (1-2). Embler, who recorded a single to left field in the third, has now had a base hit in each of his last seven games, tying Caleb Webster for the fourth-longest streak by a Spartan this season.
The Bulldogs (28-11, 11-1 SoCon) jumped out early and never looked back. Samford scored its first run in the first inning when Sonny DiChiara hit a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Branden Fryman from third base. That was followed by a two-run second inning, highlighted by an RBI single up the middle by Brooks Carlson, who scored Kaden Dreier from third.
Samford stretched its lead to 4-0 in the bottom of the third on an infield throwing error that allowed Aryton Schafer to move home from 90-feet away. The Bulldogs followed that with a pair of five-run innings in the fourth and fifth frames that resulted in the 14-0 final.
UNCG FAST FACTS (Game 3: vs. Samford)
-First shutout of a Spartan team since Samford accomplished feat on May 18, 2017.
-Spartans slip to 3-8 on the road on the season.
-Austin Parsley made his second start of the season and first since earning the nod against Elon (March 12).
-The two hits were the fewest in a game by UNCG this season. The previous mark was three, which came at Wake Forest on Feb. 27.
-Austin Embler tied teammate Caleb Webster for the fourth-longest hitting streak by a Spartan this season (seven games) with a single to left in the third inning.
-UNCG sent five pitchers to the mound including Austin Parsley, Corey Jackson, Brandon Stephens, Alex Hoppe and Maddux Holshouser. They combined for three strikeouts and five walks in the game.
UNCG continues its road stretch on Tuesday evening when the Spartans head to Elon for a 6 p.m. contest against the Phoenix.