Box Score (PDF)
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The UNCG baseball team scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth, including a game-winning RBI single from senior infielder Trevor Edwards (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Taddle Creek Academy) to give the Spartans a 10-9 victory over in-state rival UNC Asheville Wednesday night at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
The Blue and Gold held an 8-3 cushion after the fourth inning, but the Bulldogs chipped away – scoring six unanswered runs before the Spartans rallied late.
Edwards broke out in a big way in the midweek affair as he was 3-for-5 at the plate with five RBI – including a three-run bomb in UNCG's six-run fourth inning. Senior outfielder Christian Wolfe (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll) continued his strong offensive start to the season, recording three hits in six at bats while also scoring three runs and posting a pair of RBI. Additionally, redshirt freshman infielder Nin Marrero rounded out the Spartans' 15-hit attack with three base knocks of his own. As a team, the Blue and Gold recorded double-digit hits for the second time in three contests to open the year while UNCG also tallied its first double figure run output of the young season.
"Very proud of the way Ryan Clark came out in his first outing," said head coach Link Jarrett. "He got us out of a heap of trouble and had a good ninth inning. Our at bats gave us a chance to come out on top and Trevor Edwards had a huge day that propelled us offensively.
"We didn't change our approach at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning, even though it looked like their pitcher had pretty good command of his stuff. I told Trevor to make absolute sure he saw a pitch he could drive during his final at bat and he came through for us."
Freshman Ryan Clark (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) (1-0) picked up the win in relief for UNCG after throwing two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts. The Spartans used eight pitchers in the four-hour marathon. Sophomore RHP Tyler Frazier threw three innings without allowing a hit or run and struck out five batters to keep the Bulldogs at bay.
The teams committed seven errors between them, four by the home standing UNCG side, in a sloppy contest which led to four unearned runs for UNC Asheville and six unearned for the Spartans.
UNCG took a quick 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first as a bunt single by senior infielder TJ Spina was followed by a wild pitch and an Edwards RBI double. The Spartans could not muster anything further as a strikeout and groundout helped the Bulldog starter Tommy Houmard escape the inning.
A two-out hit parade in the top of the second by UNC Asheville propelled the visitors into the lead as the Bulldogs benefitted from two extra-base hits (four total) and a UNCG error to move in front 3-1. Eli Miller posted a RBI triple in the frame before Robert McIntosh delivered with a RBI double.
The Spartans grabbed a run back in the bottom of the third as Wolfe led the inning off with a double. He then advanced to third base on a wild pitch before Spina flied out to left. Edwards was then hit by a pitch, bringing up senior infielder Lloyd Enzor (Newberry, Fla./Santa Fe) who came through with a sac fly to left field which scored Wolfe. Sophomore designated hitter Eric Kalbfleisch (Pilot Mountain, N.C./North Stokes) struck out swinging to end the threat.
After Frazier silenced the Bulldog bats in the top of the fourth, UNCG exploded for a six spot in the bottom of the frame to assume an 8-3 cushion. The inning began innocently enough as junior outfielder Cole Harrison (Key West, Fla./Key West) struck out and sophomore outfielder Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Western Alamance) grounded out, but Marrero singled up the middle with two outs and junior catcher Cambric Moye (Goldsboro, N.C./Eastern Wayne) reached on an error by the UNCA third baseman. Wolfe singled up the middle in his at bat, scoring Marrero and Moye before Spina took advantage of an error by the Bulldog second baseman to put runners on first and third for Edwards.
The Canada native saw a pitch he liked and smashed it over the left field wall for his first home run of the season and the 27th of his career – a mark which leads all active players in the Southern Conference. Kalbfleisch rounded out the inning with an RBI double which plated Enzor. All told, the Spartans scored six runs on four hits and two UNC Asheville errors in the frame.
The game settled down until the top of the seventh as the Bulldogs took advantage of a pair of UNCG fielding gaffes to net three unearned runs. McIntosh walked to lead off the inning Billy Creighton reached on an error by freshman pitcher Adam Anderson (Georgetown, Ontario, Canada/Christ the King Catholic). Creighton was thrown out at second 2-5-6 on the play for the first out but the Spartans could not limit the damage. UNCA pulled within 8-6 before junior RHP Dylan Thompson (Snow Camp, N.C./Guilford Technical CC) induced a groundout to end the frame.
MacAneney singled on the infield to begin the Spartans' half of the seventh, but he was eventually thrown out at home and Wolfe and Spina struck out consecutively to keep the score the same.
The UNCG bullpen faltered in the top of the eighth as UNC Asheville benefitted from a pair of bases loaded walks on the way to a three-run outburst. Miller singled to begin the inning before advancing to second on a wild pitch by Spartan sophomore reliever Brennen James (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central). McIntosh walked in his at bat and Creighton reached on catcher's interference to load the bases. The Bulldogs tied the game via the free passes in their next two at bats and Kyle Towles put UNCA into the lead 9-8 with a two-out infield single off the newly-entered Clark which plated Creighton. Clark was able to fan pinch hitter Lucas Owens looking to terminate the inning and keep UNCG within striking distance.
Kalbfleisch reached on catcher's interference in the bottom of the eighth, but that was all for the Spartans as Clark worked a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to set up the Blue and Gold's heroics in the ninth.
The Spartans return to the diamond Friday, Feb. 22, hosting Atlantic 10 member Dayton in the first of a three-game series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. First pitch is slated for 4 p.m.
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