GREENSBORO, N.C. – After UNCG scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to send Wednesday’s non-conference game against East Carolina to extra innings, the Pirates plated the winning tally in the top of the 10th to record a 4-3 victory at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
ECU extends its winning streak to four games and improves to 7-5 overall while the Spartans drop to 5-6.
Junior infielder Zac MacAneney was 2-for-3 at the dish in the contest and reached base safely in each at bat to extend his reached base streak to nine games. He also drew two walks, scored a run and recorded a RBI while improving his team-high season batting average to .432. Redshirt freshman infielder Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian), junior infielder Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) and junior infielder Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) also tallied multiple-hit efforts with King tacking on a RBI. Zach Houchins led the way for East Carolina offensively, going 3-for-5 with a run scored and a RBI.
Junior LHP Caleb Henley (1-1) (Salisbury, N.C./East Rowan) suffered his first loss of the season, allowing just the one run in the 10th inning on no hits with a walk and a strikeout. Starter and senior RHP Dylan Thompson (Snow Camp, N.C./Guilford Technical CC) made his second start of the season and threw four innings allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Drew Reynolds (1-0) picked up his first win of the season for ECU throwing an inning and giving an unearned run on two hits with a strikeout.
The Spartans struck first in the bottom of the first inning as MacAneney drew a leadoff walk and advanced to second on a one-out single by Abreu. The runners moved to second and third on a wild pitch before King singled through the right side to score MacAneney and put UNCG on top. McDonald had a chance to add more runs to the scoreboard, but he grounded into a double play to end the inning.
The score would stay the same until the top of the fourth inning when the Pirates plated three runs in the inning on four hits to push in front 3-1. Thompson would work out of the inning, inducing a double play and getting Dylan Brown to strike out looking to end the frame.
UNCG had a chance to cut into the lead in the top of the sixth inning as with two outs, Abreu, King and McDonald singled to load the bases. However, junior outfielder Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) flew out to center to end the threat.
After a trio of Spartan pitchers struck out the side in the ninth, Chapman and senior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) singled to lead off the bottom of the inning. Then with two outs and the runners at second and third, the ECU shortstop bobbled a ball hit by MacAneney, allowing Chapman to score and send the game to the 10th.
Zach Houchins proved the hero for East Carolina in the top of the 10th as his one-out single scored Kirk Morgan who had walked and reached third on an error by Guite. UNCG went down in order to end the contest.
The Spartans return to action Saturday, taking on UMBC at 8:30 p.m. in their opening game of the Chanticleer Classic at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The tournament schedule has been altered due to inclement weather. UNCG will also face Minnesota Sunday at 11 a.m. before wrapping up with a contest against host Coastal Carolina Monday at 4 p.m.