UNCG (13-6, 5-1 SoCon) at Furman (11-12, 4-4 SoCon)
Latham Stadium • Greenville, S.C.
March 25-27, 2011 • Game 20 • 7 p.m., 4 p.m., 1 p.m.
Video: FurmanPaladins.com (subscription required)
• After having its lone midweek game washed out, UNCG will head into the weekend looking for its third-straight Southern Conference series victory as the Spartans travel to Furman for a three-game set beginning on Friday at 7 p.m. The two sides will meet again on Saturday at 4 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
• On Wednesday, the Spartans hosted cross-town rival North Carolina A&T in the lone midweek game for UNCG. The Spartans took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but the Aggies scored nine unanswered runs to go ahead, 9-2. UNCG got two runs back in the bottom of the third, but with the Spartans coming to bat in the bottom of the fourth the game was suspended due to severe weather. The teams will look to resume the game later in the season.
• Last weekend, the Spartans took the weekend series from Appalachian State, 2-1. UNCG rallied for a 5-3 win in the opening game on Friday as Trevor Edwards fell just a triple shy of the cycle. The Mountaineers tied up the series with a 4-2 win on Saturday as UNCG left a total of 16 runners on base in the game. The Spartans were able to win the rubber game on Sunday 5-3 to win its seconds Southern Conference series in as many tries.
• UNCG and Furman are tied in the all-time series against, 24-24, dating back to 1993. Last season, the two teams met on the final weekend of the season and the Paladins came away with the series sweep. Furman took the first game of the series with a come-from-behind 4-3 win and then won the final two games of the series by an 11-6 margin to complete the sweep.
• UNCG's sweep of Western Carolina on March 11-13 was the first weekend sweep for the Spartans in Southern Conference play since May of 2008 when UNCG swept College of Charleston. It was also the first time UNCG had swept Western Carolina in a series since 2004 when the Spartans completed the feat on the road.
• Furman comes into the game with an 11-12 record overall and 4-4 mark in the SoCon to start the season. The Paladins are currently tied with Davidson for sixth place in the league. Furman is riding a hot streak as of late as it has won five of its last six games, ignited by a 4-2 midweek win over No. 4 South Carolina back on March 15.
• Last Wednesday, the Spartans defeated Princeton in a pitchers' duel, 1-0. Six UNCG pitchers combined to pitch the seven-hit shutout. It marked the first shutout for UNCG since a 1-0 win over Connecticut on March 2, 2008. Cambric Moye delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth inning to score Ray Quinones from second and the pitching staff made that lead hold.
• After finishing fourth in the nation last season by being hit by a pitch 26 times, Chris Barker has picked where he left off this season. Through 19 games this season, Barker has already been hit by a pitch on seven occasions. He only ranks behind Neal Pritchard from Elon and Alex Lee from Wofford in the conference in hit by pitches, after the two have been hit 10 and eight times, respectively.
• On Jan. 19, the UNCG baseball team reached a milestone in the 21st season of the program. The 10-9 walk-off win on Saturday gave head coach Mike Gaski his 600th career win. The win was also the 600th in program history as Gaski has been the lone skipper for the Spartans over the past 21 seasons.
• Following the 2010 season, junior Blake Hassebrock was drafted in the 8th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Oakland Athletics. It marked the second-straight season that UNCG has had a player drafted in the 8th round by the Athletics as Rob Gilliam was selected in that slot in 2009. Hassebrock signed with the Athletics a few weeks after being drafted and ended his season with the Vancouver Canadians. UNCG has now had at least one pitcher drafted in 12 of the past 14 seasons.
• The Spartans also return two of their three weekend starters this season in Warren Slack and Colby Hyatt. Hyatt finished in fifth in the Southern Conference last season with a 4.29 ERA to go along with his 7-4 record, while Slack was 10th in the SoCon with his 4.75 ERA. Slack was also ninth in the league last year with 75 strikeouts.
• UNCG will welcome 18 newcomers to the team this season as it looks to plug some holes left by exiting players. An area that will receive the most help will be the pitching staff. After losing Hassebrock to the draft and Alex Shelton to graduation, UNCG needed to bolster pitching staff that featured just nine arms last season. The Spartans have brought in nine new arms this season, led by Jarett Miller who will join the weekend rotation. Four of those nine new pitchers are left handed-pitchers, which was necessary after UNCG lost its only left-handed pitcher from a season ago in Shelton.
• UNCG has made admission free for all home games this season at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. Fans are encouraged to come out and support the Spartans all season long on campus.
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