Princeton (2-5) vs. UNCG (10-5)
UNCG Baseball Stadium • Greensboro, N.C.
March 16, 2011 • Game 16 • 6 p.m.
• Coming off a weekend sweep of Western Carolina and having won six of its last seven games, UNCG will look to ride its recent wave of success on Wednesday as the Spartans host Princeton at 6 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
• This past weekend, the Spartans opened Southern Conference play by hosting Western Carolina and came away with a three-game sweep. On Friday, UNCG built a 5-0 lead behind an impressive pitching performance from Warren Slack, only to have to hold on for the 5-4 win. On Saturday, the Spartans built a 4-0 lead and then ran off seven unanswered runs in the final innings to cruise to an 11-4 win over the Catamounts. It seemed like UNCG wouldn't be able to complete the sweep on Sunday as it fell behind 5-0, but the Spartans rallied for a 9-6 win.
• UNCG's sweep this past weekend was the first weekend sweep for the Spartans in Southern Conference play since May of 2008 when UNCG swept College of Charleston. It was also the first time UNCG had swept Western Carolina in a series since 2004 when the Spartans completed the feat on the road.
• UNCG leads the all-time series against the Tigers, 10-2, dating back to 2006. Last season, the Spartans hosted Princeton for a three-game series, winning it 2-1. In the first game, Chris Barker hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to propel UNCG to a 3-2 victory. On Saturday, the Spartans hit a two-run walk-off single to defeat the Tigers 4-3. It was another tight game on Sunday as the Tigers were able to avoid the series sweep with an 8-7 win in 12 innings.
• After finishing fourth in the nation last season by being hit by a pitch 26 times, Chris Barker has picked where he left off this season. Through 15 games this season, Barker has already been hit by a pitch on seven occasions. He only ranks behind Alex Lee from Wofford and Neal Pritchard from Elon in the conference in hit by pitches, after the two have been hit eight times already.
• Princeton comes into the game with a 2-5 record to start the season. The Tigers began their season with a three-game set at No. 7 LSU and lost their first two games before winning on Sunday, 8-7. Last weekend, Princeton dropped two games to Holy Cross at the Terry Sisisky Classic, but rallied to split a pair of games with Virginia Commonwealth.
• Last Tuesday, UNCG hosted St. John's for a midweek contest and held on for a 9-7 win against the Red Storm. UNCG ran out to a 9-2 lead in the game, but had to hold on late as St. John's scored five runs in the top of the ninth. Drew Gehringer went 3-3 at the plate to lead UNCG and added three RBI and three runs scored.
• On Jan. 19, the UNCG baseball team reached a milestone in the 21st season of the program. The 10-9 walk-off win on Saturday gave head coach Mike Gaski his 600th career win. The win was also the 600th in program history as Gaski has been the lone skipper for the Spartans over the past 21 seasons.
• Following the 2010 season, junior Blake Hassebrock was drafted in the 8th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics. It marked the second-straight season that UNCG has had a player drafted in the 8th round by the Athletics as Rob Gilliam was selected in that slot in 2009. Hassebrock signed with the Athletics a few weeks after being drafted and ended his season with the Vancouver Canadians. UNCG has now had at least one pitcher drafted in 12 of the past 14 seasons.
• The Spartans also return two of their three weekend starters this season in Warren Slack and Colby Hyatt. Hyatt finished in fifth in the Southern Conference last season with a 4.29 ERA to go along with his 7-4 record, while Slack was 10th in the SoCon with his 4.75 ERA. Slack was also ninth in the league last year with 75 strikeouts.
• UNCG will welcome 18 newcomers to the team this season as it looks to plug some holes left by exiting players. An area that will receive the most help will be the pitching staff. After losing Hassebrock to the draft and Alex Shelton to graduation, UNCG needed to bolster pitching staff that featured just nine arms last season. The Spartans have brought in nine new arms this season, led by Jarett Miller who will join the weekend rotation. Four of those nine new pitchers are left handed-pitchers, which was necessary after UNCG lost its only left-handed pitcher from a season ago in Shelton.
• UNCG has made admission free for all home games this season at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. Fans are encouraged to come out and support the Spartans all season long on campus.
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