UNCG to host backyard-rival Elon for weekend series
UNCG (14-9, 6-3 SoCon) vs. Elon (17-9, 8-1 SoCon)
UNCG Baseball Stadium • Greensboro, N.C.
April 1-3, 2011 • Game 24-26 • 6 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m.
Video: Spartan All Access
• In a battle of two of the top teams in the Southern Conference, UNCG will host is conference rival Elon for a three-game series beginning on Friday at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. The Spartans and Phoenix will start the series at 6 p.m. on Friday before playing game two on Saturday at 1 p.m. The series will wrap up on Sunday with a 1 p.m. matchup.
• On Tuesday, the Spartans hosted ACC foe NC State and fell, 9-1. Wolfpack starter Ethan Ogburn had his no-hit attempt broken up in the fifth inning with his team holding a 9-0 lead. UNCG struck for one run in the bottom of the ninth to break up the no-hitter, but that was as much offense as the Spartans could generate on the evening.
• UNCG trails in the all-time series against Elon, 24-10, dating back to 1991. Last season, the Phoenix swept the Spartans at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. Elon won the first game 17-10 on Friday and then followed it up with a 12-1 victory on Saturday. The Phoenix wrapped up series sweep on Sunday with a 19-5 victory.
• Elon comes into the game with a 17-9 record overall and an 8-1 mark in the Southern Conference. The 8-1 start by the Phoenix is their best since joining the Southern Conference back in 2004. UNCG currently sits two games behind Elon at 6-3 in the SoCon, tied with Georgia Southern and Samford.
• Last weekend, the Spartans hit the road for their first road series of the season and dropped it to Furman, 2-1. UNCG dropped the opening game of the series, 7-4, before Saturday's game was postponed due to rain. The two sides played a doubleheader on Sunday with UNCG taking a 4-2 lead in the first game. The teams were tied at five through nine innings before Furman pulled out the 6-5 win in 12 innings. In the second game of the doubleheader, UNCG took a 9-1 lead en route to holding off the sweep with an 11-4 victory.
• 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 23 games this season, Barker has already been hit by a pitch on eight occasions. He only ranks behind Alex Lee from Wofford and Neal Pritchard from Elon in the conference in hit by pitches, after both have been hit 10 times already this season.
• 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.
• 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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