ATLANTA, Ga. – The UNCG baseball team could only muster four hits Saturday afternoon as Georgia Tech claimed the teams’ non-conference series with a 7-0 victory inside Russ Chandler Stadium. The Spartans fall to 1-3 with the loss while the Yellow Jackets even their record at 3-3.
A Spartan offense that racked up 27 hits against Duke and UNC Asheville has been stymied in the first two games of the series as the Blue and Gold has tallied just seven base knocks. Georgia Tech recorded double-digit hits for the second-straight afternoon as the Jackets put 13 on the board. The Spartans also committed a season-high four errors with three occurring in the eighth inning.
UNCG received a solid effort from starter and junior RHP Max Povse (0-1) (Cary, N.C./Green Hope) as he threw six complete innings giving up nine hits, allowing one earned run and striking out seven with no walks. The loss was his first of the season. Cole Pitts notched his first victory of the campaign for GT scattering three hits over five innings and striking out six.
After the Spartans went down in order to begin the contest, Thomas Spingola led off the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle. However, Thomas Smith grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to put two outs on the board. Matt Gonzalez followed with a base knock through the left side and Povse was called for a balk to move the runner to second. Povse was ultimately able to escape any damage as Brandon Gold lined out to first to terminate the threat.
With two outs in the top of the second, junior infielder Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) ripped a two-out double off of the wall in left center, but junior outfielder Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) grounded out to Pitts to end the half inning. The Yellow Jackets threatened again in the bottom of the frame, but after a two-out infield single and stolen base by Ryan Peurifoy, Povse struck out Connor Justus to keep the game scoreless.
The Spartans put together another two-out rally in the top of the fourth. Junior infielder Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) worked a walk before junior designated hitter Aaron Wright (Asheville, N.C./Chattanooga State) laced a single up the middle. McDonald could not keep it going, however, as he was retired on a fly ball to shallow center.
Another threat by Georgia Tech in the bottom of the fourth fizzled out when, with two away and runners on first and second, Povse made a great pickoff move to first and nailed Elliott Barzilli leaning off of the bag for the final out.
Great defense for UNCG helped keep the Yellow Jackets at bay in the bottom of the fifth as Povse executed his second pickoff of the contest and sophomore catcher Jake Hall (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) caught a runner stealing at second.
Georgia Tech finally broke through in the bottom of the sixth. After pair of singles resulted with runners on first and third with one out, Gold poked a sacrifice fly to right field which scored Spignola for the game’s first tally. The Yellow Jackets put another pair of runners on base in the bottom of the seventh, but Spartan reliever junior LHP Tyler Long (Halifax, Va./Louisburg College) worked a scoreless inning to keep the GT advantage at 1-0.
The Blue and Gold looked to have a rally going in the top of the eighth, but redshirt sophomore Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford) was thrown out at second trying to stretch a single down the third base line into a double for the second out of the inning. The play looked to take the wind out of the Spartan sails as Georgia Tech scored six unearned runs thanks to a trio of UNCG errors in the bottom of the frame to end the contest’s scoring.
The Spartans and Yellow Jackets will complete the three-game set Sunday at 1 p.m.