UNCG (21-21, 6-15 SoCon) at No. 28 Appalachian State (32-10, 16-5 SoCon)
Smith Stadium • Boone, N.C.
May 4-6, 2012 • Games 43-45 • 6 p.m., 3 p.m., 1 p.m.
• In wrapping its longest road trip of the year, UNCG will pay a visit to the Southern Conference leading Appalachian State Mountaineers for a three-game series in Boone, N.C., at Smith Stadium starting Friday at 6 p.m. The two teams will reunite at 3 p.m. on Saturday and once again at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
• UNCG will look to avoid going below .500 for the first time this year as the Spartans are 21-21 on the season going into Friday's game and have dropped eight of their last 11 contests. UNCG has been .500 or better since the conclusion of the 2010 season. However, the Spartans will have a daunting task in doing so as the Mountaineers are 21-1 at home in 2012.
• Following his 1-for-4 performance on Sunday, Thomas Troelstrup extended his hitting streak to nine games. The senior is batting .324 (12-for-37) during the streak and is slugging .405. Troelstrup has collected three doubles, scored six runs and amassed five RBI in the span. The Tallahassee, Fla., native currently leads the team with 49 hits and is tied for second with six stolen bases.
• Senior Kris Richards has continued to have an impressive senior season as he leads the team with a .333 batting average. The Garner, N.C., native has ripped 12 doubles on the year to go along with 24 RBI. Richards is tied for second on the team with five dingers and sits in second with 48 hits. The senior also had a 12-game hitting streak earlier in the year and has played in 40 of UNCG's 42 games this year.
• UNCG enjoys a 36-20 lead in the series. The two teams have met at least once every year since 1991 except for 1993. Last year, the Spartans took two-of-three in Greensboro, N.C. Every game was decided by two runs as the Spartans won a pair of 5-3 games with a 4-2 loss sandwiched in between. However, Appalachian State got the last laugh as it defeated UNCG, 6-4, to eliminate the Spartans from the 2011 Southern Conference tournament. The Spartans don't mind the trip as they have claimed four-of-six three-game series in Boone, N.C. The two teams have split the last 16 games as each as won eight contests.
• On Wednesday, Appalachian State saw a seven-game winning streak come to a halt as it lost a 7-4 bout to East Tennessee State. Last weekend, the Mountaineers traveled to Spartanburg, S.C., to face Wofford and made the most of the trip. Due to rain on Friday, the two teams played a doubleheader on Saturday and the Mountaineers won both games by a single run, 3-2 and 7-6. On Sunday, Rob Marcello and Jamie Nunn combined to throw a three-hit shutout as Appalachian State completed the sweep with a 6-0 victory.
• UNCG has smoked its opponents in the fourth and fifth innings by outscoring the opposition by 34 runs, 80-46. However, luck hasn't sided with the Spartans when it comes to the ninth inning as opponents are outscoring UNCG by 18 runs, 26-8, in the frame.
• The Mountaineers lead the conference with a cumulative .316 batting average, .487 slugging percentage, .396 on-base percentage, 105 doubles, 19 triples and 85 stolen bases. They sit second with 318 runs scored, 291 RBI, 715 total bases and claim third with 464 hits on the year. Tyler Tewell and Daniel Kassouf will pace the offense as they both have started all 42 contests on the year. Kassouf leads the team with 15 home runs, 50 RBI, 126 total bases, .737 slugging percentage, 171 at-bats and 65 hits and is tied for the team lead with 14 doubles. Tewell is batting an astonishing .391 (61-for-156) on the year and has walked 17 times compared to only 12 strikeouts. The speedster is tied for the team lead in triples with four and sits second with four long balls.
• The Mountaineers' starting pitching staff is one of the best in the conference as the trio of Seth Grant, Marcello and Ryan Arrowood are a combined 20-5 on the season. Each pitcher has won the Pitcher of the Month award in the Southern Conference. Arrowood was tabbed as April's recipient while Grant enjoyed the honor in March and Marcello took home the award for his performances in February. They have combined for 199 2/3 innings of work while compiling 156 strikeouts with each starting 11 games on the season. They have only allowed a combined 80 earned runs on the year while walking just 69 batters.
• Like last year, the Spartans are thriving on "small ball" and currently are second in the nation with 70 sacrifice bunts on the season. Long Beach State has surpassed the Spartans and has 72. Moye leads the team with 13 while Richards, Zach Leach and Bobby Martin each has nine. Christian Wolfe and Troelstrup have chimed in with eight each.
• It has been a tale of two halves for the Spartans in the home run department. UNCG sent 23 balls over the fence in the first half of the season (18 games), but has only collected 11 dingers in its last 24 contests.
- UNCG -