Season high 18 strikeouts hold off the Great Danes; UNCG takes 9-7 victory
GREENSBORO, NC – With UAlbany down by two, zero outs in the ninth, and the tying run holding the bat, UNCG’s Rob Gilliam fanned three straight to hold onto a 9-7 Monday night victory and give the UNC Greensboro baseball squad their eighth-straight win of the season.
With the win, Spartans move to 16-5 on the season with an undefeated 3-0 Southern Conference record and are currently in the No. 2 spot in the league. After dropping their 15th game of the season, the Great Danes fall to 4-15-1.
After being down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the third, the Spartans jumped out in front with a four-run rally which included back-to-back home runs by shortstop Matt Gaski and designated hitter Greg Feltes. UAlbany tallied one in the fifth and three in the sixth to make it a one-run game, but UNCG’s first baseman Ricky Orton hammered a fly ball over the right field fence to give UNCG the 8-6 advantage. A wild pitch in the bottom of inning eight upped UNCG’s lead to 9-6. The Great Danes chipped the lead down to two in the ninth after scoring a run off of a Spartan wild pitch and then left a runner in scoring position as the UNCG mound retired the final three batters and took the 9-7 victory.
UNCG’s first hit of the game came off of the bat of designated hitter Greg Feltes as he knocked out his seventh home run of the season. His solo over the left field wall put the Spartans on the board first with a 1-0 lead.
UAlbany snatched the lead away from the Spartans in the top of the second inning with a two-run shot over the left field fence from Jamie Liebowitz to score Ryan Gugel who was ahead of him.
Control of the game fell back in the hands of the Spartans in the home-half of the third as catcher Sean Snell lined a double just off the top of the glove of UAlbany’s third baseman. Snell’s line-drive hit down the leftfield line was enough to score both second baseman Tim Carrier and shortstop Matt Gaski and give UNCG the 3-2 lead.
After holding the Great Danes scoreless in the top of the fourth, UNCG tallied a four-run inning to extend their lead to 7-2. Left fielder Drew Gehringer got the scoring drive started with a double down the leftfield line to plate centerfielder Corey Overholtzer from first. The Spartans tacked on the final three with back-to-back, two out homeruns. Gaski slapped the first just to the right of the scoreboard to round Carrier from first. In the next at-bat, Feltes cranked his second solo home run of the game over the leftfield wall.
To top the fifth, UAlbany scored one off of a groundout double play to cut the UNCG lead down to four. They made it a one-run game in the following inning with a two RBI, right center double from Ryan Gugel and one run scored off of a wild pitch.
Holding a 7-6 lead heading into the bottom of inning six, UNCG’s Orton sent a towering fly ball over the right field fence and parked it on Kenilworth Street. In the next inning, the Spartans tallied a single run off of a wild pitch to extend the lead to 9-6.
A UNCG wild pitch in the ninth cut the lead down by one. The Great Danes had a chance to knot the game with the tying run at the plate, but Rob Gilliam took the final three batters from the mound to tally the save and hold onto UNCG’s 9-7 win.
The UNCG pitching staff did a number on the UAlbany lineup. The first five innings were closed out with the Great Danes striking out swinging and the seven pitchers appearing for the Spartans struck out their opponents more times than they let them hit. In nine innings, they allowed 12 hits and struck out a season game high 18 batters.
The Spartans’ James White (4-0) earned his first win of the season. In his first collegiate start, freshman Matt Bjorkstrom threw a team and season high seven strikeouts. Rob Gilliam earned his second save of the season. Josh Willimott of UAlbany (2-1) took the loss.
The Spartans hit a season game-high four home runs. Greg Feltes sent two over the fence while Matt Gaski and Ricky Orton added one apiece. Feltes led the lineup going 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBI, Gaski was 1-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, and Orton went 2-for-5 with one run, one RBI, and one double. UAlbany’s Gary Pitcheralle and Ralph Rizzo were both 2-for-4 at the plate.
UNCG and UAlbany return to UNCG Baseball Stadium tomorrow night for the second half of the two-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 6pm.
For news about UNCG baseball, complete season schedule, and any other information regarding Spartan athletics log onto www.UNCGSpartans.com.
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UNC Greensboro 9, UAlbany 7 (Mar 25, 2008 at Greensboro, NC)
UAlbany............. 020 013 001 - 7 12 1 (4-15-1)
UNC Greensboro...... 102 401 010 - 9 10 0 (16-5)
Pitchers: UAlbany - Willimott, J; Herrick, M.(4); Gregory, S.(6).
UNC Greensboro -Matt Bjorkstrom; Warren Slack(4); James White(5); Clay Gibson(6); Blake Hassebrock(6); Wes McCall(7); Rob Gilliam(9).
Win-James White (4-0)
Save-Rob Gilliam (2)
HR ALBANY - Liebowitz, J (2).
HR UNCG - Matt Gaski (3); Greg Feltes 2 (8); Ricky Orton (7).
Slack faced 3 batters in the 5th