UNCG Hosts UNC Asheville In Midweek Baseball Contest
GREENSBORO, N.C. - After a solid opening weekend in which it posted two wins over defending Patriot League champion and 2012 NCAA Regional participant Army, the UNCG baseball team looks to continue its strong start when it hosts UNC Asheville Wednesday at 4 p.m. The Spartans downed the Bulldogs 13-5 when the teams met last season at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The game was originally scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 19, but the onset of inclement weather drove school officials to postpone the contest one day.
UNCG's offensive potential was on full display during the two games against the Black Knights as the Spartans pounded out 15 runs on 22 hits - eight of which went for extra bases. Senior outfielder Christian Wolfe batted .667 over the weekend, going 6-for-9 at the plate with three RBI and two doubles. He also slugged .889 and posted a .600 on base percentage. As a team, UNCG turned in a 22-for-65 performance at the plate (.338) while the pitching staff limited Army to a .175 average and just 11 total hits.
Speaking of pitching, the Blue and Gold received a pair of brilliant performances from right handers in junior Dylan Hathcock and sophomore Lee Gilliam. Hathcock relieved Max Povse in the first contest and picked up the first win of the Jarrett era as he threw 4.1 innings, allowed one hit, one unearned run and struck out five (four looking). Gilliam started Sunday's game and kept the Black Knight bats quiet. He threw 4.1 frames, scattered two hits, gave up three unearned runs and fanned seven batters. Senior southpaw Corey Taylor picked up both of UNCG's saves, throwing a total of 3.1 innings, allowing just two hits and tallying four strikeouts.
# Wednesday's game marks the 25th meeting between the Spartans and Bulldogs with UNCG holding a commanding 19-4 edge in the series. The teams have split the last two contests but UNC Asheville has captured three of the last four.
# UNCG has opened 2-0 for the second-straight season. Last year, the Spartans won their first seven games before falling to Radford at home.
# Taylor's two saves were the second and third of his career. His first occurred last season against College of Charleston (May 18) when he threw four innings, giving up just one run and striking out four in a 10-8 UNCG victory.
# An early look at the Southern Conference statistics finds the Spartans first in the league in ERA (1.50), saves (2), hits allowed (11) and earned runs allowed (three) and second in triples (2) while UNCG has struck out the fewest times of any SoCon squad (6). Wolfe is third among league players in batting average (.667) while Hathcock and Gilliam are two of several pitchers with a 0.00 ERA. Additionally, opposing batters have compiled just a .175 average against the Spartan pitching staff - tops in the SoCon.
# UNCG faced a tough task in its opener, matching up against senior All-America pitcher Chris Rowley. However, the Spartans roughed up the right-hander for five runs in 3.2 innings of work. Rowley walked two and four of the first five UNCG batters recorded hits - including two extra base knocks. The Spartans handed the Patriot League preseason Pitcher of the Year just his second loss in two seasons. He was 11-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 2012.
# The UNCG lineup is full of experience this season as head coach Link Jarrett penciled in six upperclassmen into Sunday's lineup against Army. The Spartan seniors were key in both victories over the Black Knights both at the plate and on the bump.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
Tommy Houmard (Jr., RHP) vs. Brandon Browne (R-So., LHP)
The Spartans remain at home this weekend, hosting Atlantic 10 foe Dayton for a three-game set Friday through Sunday at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The teams will match up Friday at 4 p.m. before concluding the series Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m.