Baseball season is right around the corner, folks. After a very successful season last year, the baseball team is looking to improve and perform even better this year. With a lot of new freshman, solid returning players and stable coaching, it should be a good team to watch and follow.
UNCG is looking so good in fact that they have been tabbed to finish first in the SoCon preseason coaches poll. This is not the first time in recent years that UNCG has been picked, as they were also picked as the favorites last season as well.
Along with the polls, the Blue and Gold also had seven players selected for the preseason team. Five of the guys made it to first team, including third baseman Caleb Webster and second baseman Austin Embler. Webster’s impressive freshman season as a Spartan led him to earn SoCon Freshman of the Year last season. Last season, Webster hit for a .383 average, which was second-best on the team. Embler hit .319 last season as well, which was helped by three homers among other hits.
Three other players got included on the preseason first team, including Andrew Moritz and Dillon Stewart, who both play outfield. One other who got picked is designated hitter Devin Ruiz, who is a senior this season.
UNCG placed two in the preseason second team, including starting pitcher Matt Frisbee and Tripp Shelton, infielder, who earned SoCon most outstanding player last season.
UNCG added eight freshman to the team this year, all of them varying in position, ranging from catcher to first base to outfielder to pitcher. This diverse amount of talent should benefit the Spartans this season.
The schedule this season is quite exciting, with the team kicking off the season with a three-game long matchup in the UNCG Baseball Stadium versus Appalachian State from Feb. 16-18. That weekend will be an entertaining one for students and players alike.
UNCG also gets to see the University of Tennessee in a three-game series in Knoxville, Tennessee, from Feb. 23- 25. An interesting matchup that will draw attention is a one-game game against North Carolina A&T. That game will likely bring in a large crowd since it is a local rivalry. Coach Link Jarrett is also looking forward to a series against Georgetown later in the season, at the end of March.
Regarding SoCon matchups, an intriguing one will be the three game series that the Spartans play against Mercer in the UNCG Baseball Stadium. UNCG and Mercer tied for first in the 2018 preseason Southern Conference coaches poll. In the preseason SoCon media poll, Mercer outranked UNCG by five points. The matchup should be fun and high-scoring.
One goal that head coach Link Jarrett has for the team is to win the SoCon regular season. He was very excited and proud of his guys for winning the Southern Conference playoffs last season, but he wants to win every aspect of the SoCon, whether it be the regular season or the playoffs.
The team also aspires to make it back to the Division I NCAA tournament. After a tough loss to Clemson, 5-4, last season, the team and coaching staff certainly want to prove their worth by making it to the tourney once more.
One of the hardships that the team had to go through last season were some major injuries to key players. Jarrett acknowledged this and realized that his team could have been even better last season and gone even further if they had been completely healthy. Staying healthy this season will be key for the team, and hopefully that will help lead them to future successes this season.
From players, to coaches, to scheduling, this season should be a good one for the Spartans. They love playing at their stadium, and they love the fans and support that they continuously obtain, so make sure to get out there this season and support our boys in their chase for the SoCon championship.