Baseball takes series 2-1 vs Western Carolina over weekend

Photo Courtesy of Quinn Hunter/The Carolinian

Photo Courtesy of Quinn Hunter/The Carolinian

By Daniel Johnson, Staff Writer

Published in print Mar. 25, 2015

The Baseball team opened up their Southern Conference schedule last Friday with a three-game weekend series against the reigning Southern Conference champions, the Catamounts of Western Carolina.

Coming into the series, the Catamounts had won six straight games against UNC-Greensboro.

Manager Link Jarrett, aware of the unfavorable results his team has had against the conference powerhouse, explained how in this opening-conference series, why UNC-Greensboro would not be affected by the results of previous games.

“It is a new season, we are a new team, they’re a different team and you try just to focus on being the best team you can be” he said.

“You tell the guys just to be the best team you can be and perform at your best, and the score and wins will handle itself.”

Game 1: UNCG 17, WCU 2

In the opening game of the series, the Spartans junior pitcher, Ryan Clark, gave one of his best outing of his career, throwing seven shutout innings and allow only five hits while compiling six strikeouts.

Coach Jarrett talked about the importance of his pitcher’s performance after the team’s dominating win.

“We need to save the bullpen, and he is very durable pitcher so we needed as many innings from him as possible tonight” he explained.

“There was never any thought of taking him out until his [pitch] count got to 115-120. He did a fantastic job and I never felt he was in any real trouble.”

The UNCG bats also came to play Friday night, scoring at least one run in all but two innings.

Junior and senior infielders Hunter King and Collin Woody both set career highs with five and four runs batted in (RBI) respectively.

Game 2: WCU 17, UNCG 6

Less than eighteen hours after their series-opening win on the arm of Ryan Clark, the pitching staff was unable to produce a similar outing on Saturday afternoon.

Senior pitcher Brennen James gave up eight runs (five earned) in just four innings of work.

Western Carolina junior Kramer Ferrell led the Catamount’s offense with his second career multi-homer game.

In the contest, Ferrell contributed in some manner for eight of the 17 runs scored by the Catamounts.

On the UNC-Greensboro side of the plate, senior catcher Jake Hall spearheaded the offense with a two home run game, as well as scoring twice.

Game 3: UNCG 7, WCU 4

In the rubber game of the series, the Blue and Gold offense jumped out in front of the Catamounts with four runs in their first plate appearance and never looked back.

Redshirt senior Zac MacAneney extended his early season hitting streak to eleven games with a leadoff double in the first inning which would become the first run of the game later in the inning on a sacrifice fly two batters later. The inning continued with seniors Aaron Wright hitting a two-run home run and an RBI single from Tyler Long.

The Spartans would score three more runs over the next three innings to give the team a safe gap between themselves and the Catamounts.

On the mound to close out the series, junior Bryant Stafford struck out three of the final four batters of the game to earn his first save of the season.

Manager Link Jarrett looked to the Spartans future and where they place in the SoCon standings.

“We have been in the bottom third for a while, and I hope with this roster that we could find ourselves somewhere in the middle and a game here or there, and we will find ourselves up in the top” he said.

The Spartans find themselves a half game behind Samford for third place in the conference.

The team will travel to East Tennessee State next Friday for another weekend series.

Categories: daniel johnson, Sports

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