LEXINGTON, Va. – Despite eclipsing double-digit hits for the sixth time in the last eight games, finishing with 17, the UNC Greensboro baseball team suffered a 6-5 setback at Southern Conference foe VMI which halted a seven-game winning streak by the Spartans on Friday, May 10th at Gray-Minor Stadium.
The Spartans (29-16, 11-8 SoCon) had their second-most single-game hits of the season as six players tallied at least two hits in the contest. Among those with multi-hit outings for UNCG were Josh Madole (4-5), Austin Embler (3-5, RBI, run, double), Zack Budzik (2-3, run), Greg Hardison (2-4, RBI, run, HR), Coleman Sawyer (2-3, run, double) and Caleb Webster (2-5, RBI).
On the mound, Austin Koehn (3-2) tossed 4.1 innings, allowed five runs on five hits and issued one walk. Koehn fanned five of the 19 VMI hitters he faced, marking his seventh consecutive game with at least five strikeouts, a streak that began against Western Carolina (March 31).
Also taking the mound for UNCG was Corey Jackson, who tied his single-game season-high in strikeouts (six) in 3.1 innings of work. Jackson, who scattered three walks and allowed one run, faced 17 Keydet hitters along the way. His six strikeouts are the most since he fanned six High Point hitters on Feb. 19th.
Facing a 1-0 deficit, following a first inning home run by VMI’s Jake Huggins, UNCG took its first lead of the contest in the top of the second when a single by Sawyer was followed by a two-run blast over the left field wall by Jacquez Koonce.
VMI (15-35, 9-13 SoCon) regained the lead 3-2 in the bottom of the third, following a two-run home run by Jordan Ebersole, but the Spartans capitalized on a home run to right-centerfield by Hardison to pull even at three-all in the top of the fourth.
The Keydets took advantage of a four-hit, three-run fifth inning to establish a 6-3 lead. UNCG chipped away at the lead, scoring one run in the seventh after Embler opened the frame with a double into left field. Webster followed with a single to right field, scoring his teammate for the fourth run of the game.
After a scoreless seventh for the VMI, the Spartans picked up their fifth run in the eighth by virtue of an Embler single that plated Budzik and resulted in Hardison being thrown out at the plate.
The two teams return to action on Saturday, May 11th at Gray-Minor Stadium for a 2 p.m. game.
UNCG-VMI FAST FACTS (Game 1)
-UNCG is now 25-14 in head-to-head meetings against VMI.
-The top four hitters of the UNCG lineup (Hardison-Embler-Webster-Madole) were a combined 11-for-19 from the plate with three RBI, two runs, one double and one home run.
-UNCG has now had double figure hits in six of their last eight games since April 23 versus Elon. After recording 13 against the Phoenix, UNCG came through with 12 vs. The Citadel (April 27), 20 vs. The Citadel (April 27), 10 vs. The Citadel (April 28), 10 at ETSU (May 5) and 17 vs. VMI (May 10).
-UNCG has had 20 games this season with at least 10 or more hits, nine of which have come against Southern Conference opponents.
-Reliever Corey Jackson has now had at least three strikeouts in nine appearances this season, tying his single-game season-high (six), which also came against High Point (Feb. 19).
-The UNCG pitching combination of Austin Koehn (5 K’s), Corey Jackson (6 K’s) and Jack Voigt (1 K) combined for 12 strikeouts in the game. It marks the 20th time this season that the Spartans have tallied double-digit strikeouts.
-Koehn, who has tossed at least 4.1 innings in his last seven appearances for UNCG, has recorded at least five K’s in each of those contests. He has recorded 39 of his 57 K’s in his last seven outings.