On April 15, the Wofford Terriers came to UNCG to kick off a three game series. There was a cool breeze riding through the stands, on what turned out to be a day filled with offense.
The Spartans struck first, in the bottom of the second inning. It started with a single from Caleb Webster, a freshman who is having an astounding start to his college career—he is batting .434 on the year, and holds the team’s highest slugging percentage with .604.
“Anytime you have a freshman player come on you don’t know how they are going to be until they get in the spotlight,” Coach Jarrett Link said. “Until they get to play….so it’s always great to see a guy like Caleb come in and do very well right away. I didn’t know how exactly good he was going to play. But I did know that he had a great work ethic, and a lot of talent.”
“A lot of these guys have great work ethic, but to see that kind of work ethic from a freshman—that’s just amazing.”
Webster advanced to second base on a bunt that turned out to be unnecessary. Cesar Trejo, the DH, piloted a baseball over the left field fence for a two run home run.
In the bottom of the third, UNCG continued to do damage with their bats. Brian Spitznagel singled up the middle of the field and then advanced to second on a wild pitch by Wofford hurler Adam Scott. A single by Michael Goss knocked in the third run of the game.
Unfortunately, things started to get out of hand from there. After pitching three excellent innings, UNCG’s Bryce Hensley gave up three consecutive doubles to the Terriers. Their bats were on fire and they managed to manufacture five runs in the top of the fourth inning.
It’s worth noting that Hensley is a left-handed pitcher, and Wofford penciled in a line-up of nine right handed batters. However, Coach Jarrett Link wasn’t making any excuses for Hensley.
“I don’t think that had anything to do with it honestly, I think he really just lost command of his pitches. Of course, sometimes it is easier for batters the second time around in the line-up, and maybe once one or two guys got on he lost composure a little bit.”
UNCG was able to muster an immediate response in the fifth inning by putting up a run of their own to make it 5-4, with Wofford leading.
What looked like a very close Southern Conference baseball game then fell apart in the final three innings.
In the seventh inning, Wofford scored two runs—one off of a wild pitch by Andrew Wantz and another off of a double into right field by Andrew Orzel.
The eighth and ninth inning were marred by Spartan mistakes. While Wofford did its share of the work, UNCG made several fielding errors and wild pitches that led to an endless cycle of Terriers crossing the plate. UNCG failed to match their offensive explosion and the final score was 13-4.
It was a tough loss for a strong UNCG baseball team.
“We know that mistakes were made,” Coach Link said. “We know that we didn’t play our best—there was not one part of our game that was strong today.”
Friday was a much closer game, but Wofford was able to take it 8-7. Saturday’s game was a showcase for both offenses, as UNCG won a tight 13-12 battle. Even though they lost the three game series, they were able to pull out one important win.
Last year, UNCG finished second in the conference to Mercer. This season, they are once again in a race to the finish line with Mercer, fighting to catch up. The Spartans are searching for a path towards success.
“I think more consistency from our starting pitchers [would give us an edge]. Just getting more depth out of them before we go to the bullpen.”
UNCG’s next series is on the road—a Big Ten vs. Southern Conference battle against Ohio State. Ohio State is 14-21 overall.