GREENSBORO, NC – After knocking the College of Charleston out of their Southern Conference first-place standing on Friday evening, Ricky Orton smacked a single game record three home runs to bring in seven and help lead the UNC Greensboro ball club, 12-9, over Charleston. Orton is now tied with former Spartans Steve Mokan and Tonka Maynor for the single game record. His three, combined with two others, tied UNCG’s season high five homers in one game recorded on April 12 against Wofford.
The Saturday afternoon victory at UNCG Baseball Stadium gave the Spartans (28-19, 13-7 SoCon) the 2-0 series lead over the Cougars (30-16, 13-7 SoCon).
A two-run single up the middle by College of Charleston’s Michael Kohn in the second gave the Cougars the early game lead. Just minutes later, senior first baseman Ricky Orton smoked a three-run home run over the right field wall to give UNCG the 3-2 lead.
Charleston took back the lead in the fourth with another two runs scored off of a single; this time Mike Hentz was credited with the dual RBIs. The CofC lead lasted just two pitches as sophomore centerfielder Corey Overholtzer led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo homer over the right field wall to tie the game at 4-4.
A Cougar four-run rally in the fifth – highlighted by a three-run home run by Michael Harrington – pushed them in front once again with an 8-4 lead. A lead off solo in the fifth by Orton, an RBI single by senior shortstop Matt Gaski in the sixth, and a solo to right field by senior right fielder Sean Snell in the seventh brought UNCG to within one of Charleston.
The Spartans took a three-run lead in the home half of the eighth with the help of another three-run home run by Orton. After allowing just one hit to top the ninth, the blue and gold walked away with the 12-9 game two victory.
Freshman reliever Greg Smith (3-1) took the win after a four inning showing with just three hits allowed. Closer Rob Gilliam (2-3) earned his seventh save of season after holding the Cougars to just one hit in the ninth. Charleston’s Danny Meszaros (4-4) took the loss after allowing UNCG to load the bases for the eighth inning home run by Orton.
The Spartan sticks were led by Ricky Orton who was 3-for-4 on the afternoon with a season high three home runs, seven RBI, and three runs. At the plate, the Cougars were led by Michael Kohn who batted 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and a run.
In the opening inning, CofC loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Jeremie Tice and Michael Harrington. Kohn stepped up in the five hole with a line drive single up the middle to round in both Brandon Sizemore from third and Tice from second to give the Cougars the 2-0 lead.
In the home half of the inning, junior Pedro Leon led off with a left field single. He was then joined by senior designated hitter Greg Feltes who reached first on a five pitch walk. With runners on, Orton belted his 12th home run of the season over the right center fence and pushed the Spartans ahead of the Cougars, 3-2.
Charleston took its first lead of the game in the fourth with another pair of runners brought in following a set of walks. Kohn and Gabe Marchant came around home as Mike Hentz slapped a two-run single to left center to give the Cougars the 4-3 lead. With bases loaded and a chance to do more damage, CofC was shutdown by the Spartan defense as they turned their 47th double play of the season.
Just two pitches later, the Spartans tied the game at 4-4 as Overholtzer drove out his fifth home run of the season. The hit extended his hit streak to seven straight.
A no out, three-run home run by Charleston’s Harrington to start out the fifth pushed the Cougars out in front once again with a three-run lead. With a strand of center field singles, CofC plated Kohn to take the 8-4 lead.
Orton answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a lead off, solo home run out the right side. The roundtrip was Orton’s second of the game and his 18th career at UNCG.
In the eighth, UNCG tacked on a five-run rally to take back the lead. Following a throwing error by the Cougar pitcher, Leon came around home to cut the gap by one. In the next at-bat, Orton ripped his third homer of the game over the center field wall to give the Spartans the two-run lead. After reaching on a double, two hit batter brought in Snell to give the home team the 12-9 advantage.
With the closer Gilliam on the rubber, the Spartans allowed the Cougars just one hit to walk away with the three-run victory.
The Spartans and the Cougars return tomorrow for a 1pm series finale at UNCG Baseball Stadium. The home team will play the final two games of their 12-game homestand this week as they face High Point University on Tuesday at 1pm and North Carolina A&T at 6pm on Wednesday. This will be the second time UNCG has faced both teams this season.
For news about UNCG baseball, complete season schedule, and any other information regarding Spartan athletics log onto www.UNCGSpartans.com.
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UNC Greensboro 12, College of Charleston 9 (May 03, 2008 at
College of Charleston..... 200 240 010 - 9 7 2 (30-16, 13-7 SoCon)
UNC Greensboro............ 300 111 15X - 12 14 1 (28-19, 13-7 SoCon)
Pitchers: College of Charleston - Jesse Simpson; Danny Meszaros(6); Austin Garrett(8); Michael Kohn(8).
UNC Greensboro - Wes McCall; Kory Judd(4); Greg Smith(5); Rob Gilliam(9).
HR COFC - Michael Harrington.
HR UNCG - Ricky Orton 3; Sean Snell; Corey Overholtzer.
Judd faced 3 batters in the 5th.
Meszaros faced 3 batters in the 8th.