This past weekend, the Spartans hosted the Keydets for a three game series that lasted from Friday through Sunday. This was the team’s first meeting of the year and also the first time Virginia Military Institute has traveled to face UNCG in Greensboro since the 2001 season. What initially was built up to be a well-balanced series turned ugly for the Keydets as they lost three straight this weekend. These three wins pushed the Spartan Baseball team to an overall record of (23-6) and left them undefeated in conference play.
What stood out on the opening game on Friday was UNCG’s pitching and power at the plate. Overall, the Spartans had 14 strikeouts and four home runs from four different players on Friday night. Dillon Stewart, Ryne Sigmon, Jake Kusz, and Cesar Trejo all managed to crank one out of the park against VMI. Andrew Wantz boasted six strikeouts in a row for the Spartans, helping them secure their lead as he entered the game in the fifth inning. Spartans outfielder Andrew Moritz also shined Friday, batting three for five, knocking in one RBI, scoring twice, and making what could have easily been a SportsCenter Top ten grab as he dove for a fly ball in the third inning. That catch was definitely a momentum crusher for VMI, as they had a runner in position to score on second base. The Spartans took the opener 10-4.
Saturday held more of the same for the Spartans as they finished the game with an 11-6 victory over VMI, pushing them to (2-0) in the Southern Conference. The Spartans were led at the plate by Michael Goss of Georgia, who hit a three run blast over the left field fence, managed two more base hits, and finished with four runs batted in. This game was no blowout, as VMI held the lead until the bottom of the fourth when the Spartans scored six runs. The score streak started when Senior Collin Woody was hit by an errant pitch and later batted in by a Ryne Sigmon single. Jake Kusz was then walked before Michael Goss came to the plate, fouling a couple of balls to work an eight pitch at bat into a crushing three run shot over the left field fence. After the fourth, the Keydets were never the same. They managed to score one more run in the ninth but ended the game losing 11-6.
After losing both games Friday and Saturday, the Keydets were determined to get a win in Greensboro before the long drive back to Lexington, Virginia. Unfortunately for VMI, the Keydets were not able to string together enough successful at bats to be competitive, averaging less than one hit per inning. This game was all about pitching, as both teams struggled to get on base consistently. UNCG pitchers Matt Frisbee and Andrew Wantz combined for a total of 12 strikeouts and only one earned run. What is even more impressive is how Wantz came into the game in the fifth with the bases loaded and was able to hold VMI from scoring by strikeouts. The first run came in the fourth inning when VMI’s Will Malbon hit a ground rule double, knocking in Matt Pita who was on third. The Spartans eventually got a rally going in the fourth to score four runs, making the game 4-1. This rally started with a Collin Woody single, and was aided by a walk from Stewart and a base knock by Sigmon to load the bases for catcher Jake Kusz. Jake lined a single down second base to bring in Woody and Stewart, scoring the first two Spartan runs on the day.
This three game win streak over the weekend has left the UNCG Spartans with 23 wins, the same amount the team garnered the entire 2015 season. They finished the series with a sweep that left them 3-0 in conference play. At this point, the sky is the limit for the Spartans, as they are playing well both offensively and defensively every inning. The Spartans take to the road and will travel to Durham for their next game against Duke on Tuesday, April 5th.