UNCG (18-16, 4-11 SoCon) vs. Wake Forest (22-15, 7-11 ACC)
UNCG Baseball Stadium • Greensboro, N.C.
April 16, 2012 • Game 35 • 6 p.m.
Video: Spartan All Access (Free all season)
• After being swept by The Citadel in a three-game series for the first time in 23 months, UNCG will look to bounce back as it hosts Wake Forest in nonconference action on Tuesday evening at UNCG Baseball Stadium. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
• Over the weekend, UNCG traveled down to The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., for a pivotal three-game series in a battle for eighth place in the Southern Conference standings. On Friday, The Citadel's Austin Pritcher pitched a gem as he threw a four-hit shutout as the Bulldogs took game one, 3-0. It was the first time since April 1, 2011, that UNCG was shut out and that loss came by the hands of Elon, 1-0. On Saturday afternoon, The Citadel would rally twice and score the go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth. UNCG's Lloyd Enzor was on fire at the plate as he produced a four-hit performance, but UNCG would drop a heartbreaker, 5-4. On Sunday afternoon, UNCG was in the driver's seat for the first 26 outs of the afternoon. However, The Bulldogs staged an unbelievable comeback as they sent nine batters and plated six runs, all with two outs, to erase a five-run Spartan lead to win the game 8-7 following a Johnathan Stokes walk-off RBI single.
• Garner, N.C., native Kris Richards has compiled quite an impressive senior year as he leads the team with a .368 batting average. Richards has played in all but two games this season and is second on the team with five stolen bases. At the moment, he is hitting the cover off the ball as he is on an 11-game hitting streak, which is a team high for the season. Over the last 11 contests, Richards has accumulated eight RBI and smacked five two-baggers and is rocking a .590 slugging percentage. On the season, the senior leads the team with 42 hits and is tied for second with five home runs. He has touched home 22 times this year and has earned 10 free passes this year while leading the team in a .425 on-base percentage.
• UNCG's bullpen has been electric as the quartet of Lee Gilliam, Dylan Hathcock, Brennen James and Zach Furl has accumulated 70 strikeouts on the year while walking 40 batters. All but Furl are underclassmen and each has collected at least one save on the year. The four pitchers have a combined era of 2.35. Each player has appeared in at least 15 games as Furl leads the bunch with 20 appearances. The four have logged a combined 103 2/3 innings of work. In a victory against Duke on April 10, the quartet combined for all but two outs and accumulated nine strikeouts. With a 3.22 era, Hathcock sits ninth in the SoCon and has allowed a league-low 16 runs on the season while Furl is tied for fifth with 20 appearances.
• Wake Forest leads the overall series, 35-9. On April 3, UNCG made the short trip to Winston-Salem to square off with the Demon Deacons. The game turned into a slugfest as the scoreboard read 6-4 after 2 1/2 innings of play in UNCG's favor when the skies opened up. Following an hour delay, officials decided to cancel the game, so the stats were voided and no make-up date was announced.
• The Demon Deacons took victories in both games last year, 11-1 and 10-6. The last time UNCG defeated Wake Forest was on April 21, 2010, by a score of 13-7. UNCG will be looking for its first victory against Wake Forest at home since April 15, 2009, when the Spartans downed the Deacs, 10-4.
• Over the weekend, Wake Forest hosted Georgia Tech in an ACC showdown. On Friday, the Demon Deacons scored four runs in the sixth inning to snag game one, 4-2. Georgia Tech would even the series on Saturday as it scored eight runs between the third and fifth innings to collect the victory in game two, 8-7. In the rubber match, Carlos Lopez exploded for three RBI and had a two-hit day as Wake Forest ran away with the series finale, 11-3.
• UNCG is 1-1 on the year against ACC opposition. North Carolina handed UNCG a 5-1 loss on March 13, but UNCG defeated Duke, 4-3, on April 10. Thanks to the cancellation of the April 3 game, Wake Forest has not faced a Southern Conference team this season but went a perfect 4-0 in the 2011 season against SoCon opposition.
• The Demon Deacons will be led by Pat Blair, who sports a .323 batting average and has played in all 37 contests on the year. Blair leads the team with 155 at-bats, 45 runs scored, 50 hits, 27 walks and 13 stolen bases. He is tied for first on the team with 13 doubles and sits third with 69 total bases. Blair has blasted two home runs and has accumulated 22 RBI. The junior infielder is slugging .445 and has two sacrifice flies on year. Wake Forest's Mac Williamson has nearly imitated the Spartans' Trevor Edwards as Williamson has hit 11 home runs on the year while Edwards has 12 dingers.
• Like last year, the Spartans are thriving on "small ball" and currently lead the nation with 62 sacrifice bunts on the season. Long Beach State is in second with 53. Cambric Moye leads the team with 12 while Richards has nine and Bobby Martin, Christian Wolfe and Thomas Troelstrup have chimed in with eight a piece.
• Zach Leach is on a roll as he is sporting a 10-game hitting streak. The junior has 12 multi-hit games on the season and is batting .400 (16-for-40) over the last 10 games with two triples and two doubles and is slugging .550.
• UNCG has made admission free for all home games this season at UNCG Baseball Stadium. Fans are encouraged to come out and support the Spartans all season long on campus.
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