UNCG hits the road to Davidson for weekend series
UNCG (16-11, 8-4 SoCon) at Davidson (14-14, 6-8 SoCon)
Wilson Field • Davidson, N.C.
April 8-10, 2011 • Game 28-30 • 7 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
• Sitting in a tie for third place in the Southern Conference and just a game out of first place, UNCG will look to keep its place at the top of the standings this weekend as the Spartans hit the road for a three-game set at Davidson. The Spartans and Wildcats will kick off the series on Friday at 7 p.m. at Wilson Field. The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 2 p.m. before wrapping up the series on Sunday with a 1 p.m. contest.
• On Wednesday, UNCG played its third ACC team this season as it hosted Duke for a midweek contest. UNCG jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the game, but aided by a six-run sixth inning, Duke was able to take a 7-2 lead. UNCG tried to mount a comeback late in the contest, but the Blue Devils were able to hold off the Spartans for the 8-6 win.
• UNCG leads in the all-time series against Davidson, 31-22, dating back to 1991. Last season, the Spartans and Wildcats met in three separate midweek games instead of the traditional weekend series. UNCG narrowly took the first game, 6-5, before winning the second game eight days later, 7-1, to clinch the annual series. The Spartans made it a clean sweep with a 12-5 victory three weeks later.
• Davidson comes into the game with a 14-14 record overall and a 6-8 mark in the Southern Conference. The Wildcats took down UNC Asheville 6-3 on Wednesday in their lone midweek game. Last weekend, Davidson dropped two of three from Samford as the Wildcats came away with a 6-4 win on Saturday.
• Last weekend, the Spartans hosted backyard-rival Elon for a three-game series and took the series from the Phoenix, 2-1. UNCG and Elon were locked in a scoreless affair through eight innings in the first game of the series on Friday before Elon scored a run in the top of ninth to come away with the 1-0 win. UNCG came back on Saturday to tie the weekend series after the Spartans scored six runs in the sixth inning en route to a 13-9 win. It appeared as if Elon would win the series as it held a 5-3 in the ninth inning on Sunday, but UNCG struck for three runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the series finale 6-5.
• Teammates Trevor Edwards and Chris Barker have been in the line of fire this season as both are in the top-5 in the SoCon in hit by pitches. Edwards currently ranks tied for second in the conference after being hit 10 times already, while Barker has been hit on eight different occasions. Last season, Barker finished fourth in the nation after being hit by a pitch 26 times.
• 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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