The men’s baseball team had a big home series against conference foe East Tennessee State University. UNCG was trying to stay atop of the SoCon standings and continue to excel in conference play. With a weekend home series against conference rivals East Tennessee State University, the blue and gold swept their visitors to stay firmly on top of the Southern Conference.
Game one of the series saw Dillon Stewart shine for the Spartans as he delivered the go-ahead two-run double in the bottom of the six inning. This would be the eventual game-winner, because UNCG took game one over ETSU 6-5. The Spartans had nine hits for the day, led by multi-hit efforts from Ben Spitznagel, Ryne Sigmon and Jake Kusz, who all collected two hits. L.J. Kalawaia registered one hit, scored two runs while drawing three walks, one intentional. Cesar Trejo finished with a hit and a run scored. Collin Woody also drove in a run.
UNCG had similar success in the second game of the series. Senior pitcher Keaton Haack had a solid outing for the Spartans as he pitched seven strong innings. It would lead to another win as UNCG topped ETSU 13-6. The offense continued to shine in light of Haack’s impressive performance.
Collin Woody paced the Spartan offense, going 3-for-5 with three RBI, and three runs scored. Woody added his eighth home run of the season, as well as his team-leading 16th double.
Dillon Stewart and Michael Goss each had three hits and two RBI in the contest. Goss finished with a triple and two doubles to go with a run scored. Cesar Trejo added three hits, along with an RBI. Andrew Moritz added two hits, including his seventh triple of the season, an RBI and a run scored.
UNCG would keep performing at a very high level as they finished out the series. They jumped on the board early by tacking on a run in the bottom of the first. ETSU responded back quickly by scoring their first run in the top of the second inning. UNCG stayed hot offensively by adding three more runs in the bottom of the second to take the 4-1 lead. UNCG added another run to make it 5-1. They added another run in the bottom of the fifth to take a commanding 6-1 lead. This would not be the case for long as ETSU heated up in the sixth inning scoring four runs to make it 6 The game was really made interesting by tying the game in the top of the eighth inning. The Spartans found their offense again in the bottom of the eighth inning as they scored three runs to make it 9-6. ETSU scored one run in the ninth inning, but it was not enough as UNCG defeated ETSU 9-7 for the sweep of the conference rival.
The offense was on point in the third game. “I think the key to our offense today was our bunting” coach Link Jarrett said. “Some games the bunting is hard for our team, but we did that very well today. That was the game-changer on offense”, said coach Link Jarrett after Sunday’s closer.
The Spartans showed a lot of resilience in the third game. ETSU came back, but UNCG did not let it get to them. “It was very impressive to see how the team played today” coach Jarrett said. “Spitznagel had an incredible hit to score two runs when we really need them. It was difficult to switch around the players without Moritz in centerfield, but Dillon Stewart had some great plays to help the defense”.
There is always one question for every team: “How can we get better”? “We can always improve defensively” coach Jarrett said. “We need to stop giving up walks and freebies to the other teams. If we can clean that up, we will be a lot better off and hard to stop”. The future is bright continuing going into conference play and as UNCG progresses to the SoCon tournament in May!