GREENSBORO, N.C. – Every batter in the UNCG lineup recorded a hit Wednesday as the Spartans swept the season series from North Carolina A&T with a 13-8 victory at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Spartans improve to 14-13 overall while the Aggies drop to 11-18.
The triumph was the seventh straight for the Blue and Gold over its crosstown rival and upped UNCG’s advantage in the all-time series to 40-6.
The Spartans reached double figures in hits for the 18th time this season with 18 base knocks and produced their eighth double-digit run performance of the campaign – improving to a flawless 8-0 in such contests. A total of seven UNCG batters notched multi-hit efforts during the evening. The Spartans committed four errors in the game, three on Aggie stolen base attempts, while North Carolina A&T committed two defensive miscues.
Redshirt junior Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Virginia Tech) and sophomore Jake Hall (Asheboro, N.C./Southwestern Randolph) led the way with three hits apiece as MacAneney also chipped in with two RBI and Hall scored a team-high three runs. Junior L.J. Kalawaia (Wailuku, Hawai’i/Ohlone College) extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 2-for-3 performance while also crossing the plate twice. Additionally, junior Hunter King (Mason City, Iowa/Northern Iowa Area CC) was 2-for-6 with three RBI and two runs scored – stretching his own hitting streak to 10 games in the process.
Junior Brennen James (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) picked up his first win and decision of the season, throwing 1.1 innings and allowing just one unearned run on one hit with no walks and two strikeouts. Justin Godette was charged with the loss for A&T and dropped to 0-4 on the year. He gave up nine runs (all earned) on 12 hits with two walks and no strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched.
A pair of hits and errors in the top of the first helped the Aggies to a 2-0 advantage after the top of the first, but the Spartans were quick to respond in the bottom of the second. King singled on the infield to lead off the frame before Kalawaia doubled to center field and advanced to third on a throwing error at short. King would score on the play to make the score 2-1. Junior Jordan McDonald (Perth, Australia/Chattanooga State) followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Kalawaia and knotted the score. Redshirt freshman Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) then doubled down the left field line and Hall kept the line moving with a single to score Abreu. Junior Tyler Long (Halifax, Va./Louisburg College) singled for UNCG’s fifth hit of the inning before MacAneney reached on a fielding error at short to load the bases. Senior Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley CC) came through with a sac fly to plate Hall and leave the Blue and Gold with a 4-2 advantage after two complete innings.
Spartan starter and freshman Andrew George (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) ran into trouble in the top of the third and was lifted in favor of senior Dylan Thompson (Snow Camp, N.C./Guilford Technical CC). North Carolina A&T would go on to score five runs, four of which were charged to George, on three hits and a UNCG error in the inning to jump back on top 7-4. The Spartans would pull a run back in the bottom of the stanza thanks to a RBI-double by McDonald.
After the Aggies stretched their lead back to 8-5 in the sixth via a sac fly by Micah Carmony, the UNCG offense went to work in the bottom of the inning. Hall singled and Long was hit by a pitch to begin the proceedings before MacAneney moved the runners up a base with a sacrifice bunt. Guite then drew a walk to load the bases before junior Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) lined out sharply to short for the second out. King battled in his at bat and came through with a huge bases-clearing, three-run triple to right center that deadlocked the score at eight. Kalawaia and McDonald drew walks in their at bats, loading the bases once more for Abreu. He would also work a walk to put the Spartans ahead 9-8 and close the scoring in the frame.
North Carolina A&T threatened in the top of the seventh. The visitors managed to load the bases thanks to a pair of singles off redshirt junior Blair Betts (Cary, N.C./Indiana) and a walk by junior Tyler Frazier (Fairfax, Va./South County) with two outs. However, Frazier worked out of the jam brilliantly – getting Brandon Mitchell to fly out to shallow left field and leave the bags full of Aggies.
The Blue and Gold cruised from that point, notching a run in the seventh and three in the eighth to seal the five-run win.
UNCG remains at home for a weekend league series with Southern Conference leader Western Carolina. The Spartans and Catamounts will start things off Friday at 6 p.m. inside the UNCG Baseball Stadium. Admission is free for all fans.