Spartans gear up for pair of midweek contests
UNCG (14-8, 6-3 SoCon) vs. NC State (14-11, 3-6 ACC); North Carolina A&T (7-15, 1-1 MEAC)
UNCG Baseball Stadium/NewBridge Bank Park • Greensboro, N.C.
March 29-30, 2011 • Game 23 • 6 p.m.
Video: Spartan All Access
• Coming off its first weekend series loss of the season, UNCG will look to get back on track this week as the Spartans host a pair of midweek games. UNCG will play ACC foe NC State on Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the UNCG Baseball Stadium before facing cross-town rival North Carolina A&T at 6 p.m. on Wednesday at NewBridge Bank Park, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers.
• This past weekend, the Spartans hit the road for their first road series of the season and dropped it to Furman, 2-1. UNCG dropped the opening game of the series, 7-4, before Saturday's game was postponed due to rain. The two sides played a doubleheader on Sunday with UNCG taking a 4-2 lead in the first game. The teams were tied at five through nine innings before Furman pulled out the 6-5 win in 12 innings. In the second game of the doubleheader, UNCG took a 9-1 lead en route to holding off the sweep with an 11-4 victory.
• UNCG trails in the all-time series against NC State, 21-6, dating back to 1991. Last season, the two teams were scheduled to meet on March 3, but the game was cancelled due to snow. The teams played twice in 2009 with NC State winning the first game at home, 4-3, as UNCG had a runner thrown out at the plate on the final play of the game. The Spartans avenged that loss later in the season with a 5-3 win over the Wolfpack at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
• NC State comes into the game with a 14-11 record overall after winning a weekend series over No. 15 Clemson, 2-1, over the weekend. The Wolfpack are coming off a brutal stretch that saw them play 18 games in a span of 24 days. NC State had its four-game winning streak snapped on Sunday as No. 15 Clemson avoided the sweep with a 7-3 victory.
• The Aggies are now 7-15 on the year after splitting a pair of games against Norfolk State this past weekend. The Spartans and Aggies met last week, but the game was suspended due to rain with the Aggies leading 9-4 heading into the bottom of the fourth. North Carolina A&T's 7-4 win over Norfolk State on Saturday snapped a nine-game losing streak that dated back to March 5.
• Last Wednesday, the Spartans hosted cross-town rival North Carolina A&T in the lone midweek game for UNCG. The Spartans took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Aggies scored nine unanswered runs to go ahead, 9-2. UNCG got two runs back in the bottom of the third, but with the Spartans coming to bat in the bottom of the fourth the game was suspended due to severe weather. The teams will look to resume the game later in the season.
• 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 22 games this season, Barker has already been hit by a pitch on eight occasions. He only ranks behind Alex Lee from Wofford in the conference in hit by pitches, after being hit 10 times already this season.
• UNCG's sweep of Western Carolina on March 11-13 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.
• 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.
- UNCG -