It was a big week for UNCG Baseball, with the team seeing three games against Sanford and winning all three of them. Individually for the players, it has been a big week too. Samford University from Alabama came all the way up to North Carolina confident and with pride in their hearts. Samford had been on a 13-game unbeaten streak. Unfortunately for them, 13 is most certainly an unlucky number and the UNCG Spartans are a very superstitious bunch.
The first game at the UNCG baseball stadium started at 6:00 p.m. last Friday. It was a nice night, 62 degrees with a light breeze flowing to the north. The first two innings saw Samford score a run per inning. Clearly, UNCG wanted to lure them into a false sense of security.
In the third inning, UNCG scored two runs to Samford’s none. The fourth inning saw yet another unanswered run for our boys in blue and gold. In the fifth inning, Samford scored two unanswered runs. In the sixth inning, UNCG scored four runs to the Bulldogs’ one. Things were not looking good for Samford. Seven UNCG runs to Samford’s five. Both teams had a further two innings in order to close the gap, yet neither could get any runs out. The game finished after three hours and two minutes, with UNCG heading back to their homes victorious.
The second game began at 3:00 p.m. the next afternoon, a lovely spring day. 66 degrees Fahrenheit and best enjoyed with a beer of your choosing (provided you are of age).
Right out of the gate, the Spartans got a leg up on the Bulldogs with two runs in the first inning. The second inning saw both of the teams scoring a run each. The third inning saw neither team manage to score one. The fourth inning saw the Samford Bulldogs putting just one more run on the board. The fifth, again, was scoreless. The sixth saw UNCG score three runs in a single inning, further solidifying their substantial lead.
The final nail in Samford’s coffin came in the eighth inning in the form of a single run. The game finished after two hours and 44 minutes of play, with UNCG holding a victorious seven runs over Samford’s measly two. Just over six hundred people witnessed the game, an uptick from the day before. They saw Austin Embler and Tripp Shelton score two runs, whilst Josh Madole, Caleb Webster and Andrew Moritz scored a single run each.
The third and final game started at 1:00 on a pleasant Sunday afternoon at UNCG Baseball Stadium. It was a warmer day, 67 degrees with blank overcast above. A notably smaller crowd was present – about two hundred or less. That was no surprise, given that the last week of classes was quickly approaching and many Spartans needed to stay in and study.
The game kicked off with a Samford run. This was quick, and forcefully, answered by UNCG with four runs in the second inning. Things slowed to a stalemate until the fifth inning, when UNCG exploded to get three runs past the Bulldogs, thanks to an RBI triple from Cesar Trejo and a home run from Tripp Shelton.
Samford managed to make four runs against the Spartans in the bottom half to get back within striking distance. The score was now 7-5 in favor of the Spartans. The Bulldogs tried hard, but could only make one more run possible, and it came in the sixth inning; UNCG’s bullpen was too strong. The next two innings saw the Bulldogs try valiantly to get an extra run against the Spartans. They could not manage it. The boys in Blue and Gold swept Samford out of Greensboro – a first in UNCG Baseball history.
As a direct result of the game, and the smartly played set of games by UNCG, Caleb Webster earned his second Southern Conference player of the Week award. The Spartans’ next set of games are this weekend against Wofford, in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The series will pit the leaders of the SoCon against each other and will play a decisive role in determining the SoCon regular season champions.