UNCG hosts Appalachian State for weekend SoCon series
Appalachian State (8-9, 0-6 SoCon) vs. UNCG (11-5, 3-0 SoCon)
UNCG Baseball Stadium • Greensboro, N.C.
March 18-20, 2011 • Game 17-19 • 6 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m.
Video: UNCGSpartans.com (Friday and Sunday only)
• Having won seven of its last eight games, UNCG will look to carry that momentum into this weekend as the Spartans host Appalachian for a three-game series. The teams will start the series on Friday with a 6 p.m. game at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The teams will meet again on Saturday at 1 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
• On Wednesday, the Spartans defeated Princeton in a pitchers' duel, 1-0. Six UNCG pitchers combined to pitch the seven-hit shutout. It marked the first shutout for UNCG since a 1-0 win over Connecticut on March 2, 2008. Cambric Moye delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to score Ray Quinones from second and the pitching staff made that lead hold.
• UNCG's sweep last weekend of Western Carolina 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 Mountaineers, 34-18, dating back to 1991. Last season, the Spartans traveled to Boone for a three-game series, but were only able to win the final game on Sunday. Appalachian easily took game one on Friday night, 12-1. On Saturday, UNCG took a 4-0 lead on a grand slam by Lloyd Enzor, but the Mountaineers struck for six unanswered runs to win 6-5. Enzor hit another grand slam on Sunday to help propel the Spartan to a 9-3 victory.
• 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 16 games this season, Barker has already been hit by a pitch on seven occasions. He only ranks behind Neal Pritchard from Elon and Alex Lee from Wofford in the conference in hit by pitches, after the two have been hit nine and eight times, repsectively.
• Appalachian State comes into the game with an 8-9 record overall and 0-6 mark in the SoCon to start the season. The Mountaineers started the year with a 6-2 record before being swept by The Citadel in a weekend series two weeks ago. After picking up a pair of midweek victories over La Salle, Appalachian State was swept by Elon last weekend.
• Last 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.
• 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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