GREENSBORO, N.C. - The UNCG baseball team begins its 2013 season Friday, Feb. 15 as it hosts defending Patriot League champion and 2012 NCAA regional qualifier Army for a three-game series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
Friday's game will begin at 4 p.m. while Saturday's first pitch is set for 2 p.m. and Sunday's start time is scheduled for noon.
For the first time in program history, the UNCG baseball team will open a new year under new leadership as Link Jarrett enters his first season as a collegiate head coach. The Spartans look to improve upon a 2012 campaign in which they compiled a 25-27 record and missed qualification for the Southern Conference Championship after posting a 10-20 league ledger.
UNCG returns experience up and down its lineup as six of nine projected positional starters are upperclassmen. The Spartans batted .282 as a team in 2012 while striking out just 352 times - the third least of any team in the SoCon. Redshirt junior Trevor Edwards also provided the Blue and Gold with some pop as he clubbed a team-best 14 home runs, He finished tied for 18th nationally in home runs per game and 49th in slugging percentage (.599).
In terms of pitching, UNCG welcomes back its entire weekend rotation in sophomore Max Povse (2-6, 6.55 ERA), junior Dylan Hathcock (4-4, 3.32) and sophomore Lee Gilliam (2-3, 4.71). The Spartans will also retain the services of sophomore Brandon Browne, who was named to the 2011 Southern Conference All-Freshman Team after going 2-2 in 13 starts with a 3.78 ERA over 66.2 innings.
# UNCG opens the year at home for the sixth-straight season. The Spartans are 4-1 in season lidlifters during that time, defeating Delaware State, Delaware, Cleveland State and Kent State.
# The Spartans were picked ninth in both the 2013 SoCon preseason coaches and media polls after finishing in ninth place a season ago. Edwards earned preseason first-team recognition for the second year in a row.
# UNCG was a solid fielding team in 2012, finishing tied for second in the SoCon in fielding percentage (.967). The Spartans committed a league-low 65 errors while posting 1,384 putouts and 510 assists.
# A total of seven newcomers will step onto the diamond for the Spartans in 2013 - freshmen Julian Abreu (outfield), Adam Anderson (LHP), Ryan Clark (infield/RHP) and Jake Hall (catcher) as well as junior college transfers Sean Guite (infield), Shawn Hendon (infield) and Dylan Thompson (RHP). Clark was named preseason SoCon Freshman of the Year by College Sports Madness.
2013 SPARTAN RETURNERS TO WATCH
Dylan Hathcock was a key cog in the Spartans' pitching staff in 2012 as he logged 59.2 innings of work and a team-low 3.32 ERA. Hathcock finished fifth in the Southern Conference with a 3.32 ERA. The Tampa Fla., native paced the conference, allowing only 31 runs and 22 earned runs. On May 9, he was named SoCon Student-Athlete of the Week.
Trevor Edwards proved to be an integral part of the UNCG lineup a year ago, batting .289 with 33 runs scored, 54 hits, 12 doubles, 35 RBI and 14 home runs. His 26 career round-trippers are good for third in program history and he needs just 13 to break the record held by Tim Guiles (1994-96). Edwards will enter 2013 with a seven-game hitting streak.
Zach Leach exceled at the plate last season, producing a team second-best .315 average with 52 hits. He played in 48 games, making 38 starts in left field. Leach put together the squad's longest hitting streak of the year (18 games) while posting 15 multiple-hit and three multiple-RBI efforts.
Pitching Matchups (Tentative)
Friday: Chris Rowley (Army) vs. Max Povse (UNCG)
Saturday: Alex Robinett (Army) vs. Lee Gilliam (UNCG)
Sunday: Gunnar Carroll (Army) vs. TBA (UNCG)
The Spartans will remain at home for their first midweek contest when they welcome UNC Asheville to the UNCG Baseball Stadium Tuesday, Feb. 19. The game is slated for a 4 p.m. first pitch.