UNCG steps out of conference play to host James Madison
UNCG (17-14, 9-6 SoCon) vs. James Madison (23-11, 11-7 CAA)
UNCG Baseball Stadium • Greensboro, N.C.
April 15-17, 2011 • Game 32 • 6 p.m., 1 p.m., 1 p.m.
Video: Spartan All Access (Friday only)
• For the first time in six weeks, UNCG will face a nonconference opponent in a weekend series as the Spartans host James Madison this weekend for a three-game set. The two teams will start the series on Friday at 6 p.m. before facing each other again on Saturday at 1 p.m. The two teams will wrap up the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
• The games this weekend against James Madison will coincide with UNCG's annual Katie Ball Memorial Weekend. On Friday, all fans in attendance will receive a free McAlister's Deli Mystery Gift Card. On Saturday, UNCG will unveil its new fieldhouse to the public with an open house. Tours of the facility will be available from 12-2 p.m. and there will also be a special presentation and unveiling of Katie's Korner on Saturday, as well.
• On Tuesday, UNCG hosted Wake Forest in the final game of a home-and-home series with the Deacs this season. UNCG took the early 1-0 lead with a run in the third inning, but Wake Forest rallied back for five runs in the fourth en route to a 10-6 win over the Spartans. The win gave the Demon Deacons the season sweep as they also won back on March 1 in Winston-Salem.
• UNCG trails in the all-time series against James Madison, 2-1, dating back to 1998. The last time the two sides met was back in 2005 when UNCG came away with an 8-3 over the Dukes at the Hughes Bros. Challenge in Wilmington, N.C. The Spartans fell to James Madison 6-1 in 1998 and 6-0 in 2002 at home.
• James Madison comes into the game with a 23-11 record overall and an 11-7 mark in the CAA. The Dukes started the year off on a hot streak as they won 11 of their first 12 games. In its lone midweek game this week, James Madison scored a 13-12 win over Maryland in 12 innings. The Dukes built an early 9-1 lead, but held off a Maryland comeback to pull out the win.
• Last weekend, UNCG traveled Davidson and dropped the weekend series to the Wildcats 2-1. The Spartans took the first game of the series on Friday, 8-5, but Davidson came back on Saturday to win 14-3 to tie the series. The Wildcats claimed the series on Sunday by winning the rubber game, 5-2.
• 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 is tied for first in the conference after being hit 12 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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