Baseball Drops Tough Twinbill To Dayton
GREENSBORO, N.C. – The UNCG baseball team had the lead in the ninth inning of both games of Sunday's doubleheader with defending Atlantic 10 champion Dayton, but the Flyers rallied twice to hand the Spartans 3-2 and 9-8 setbacks at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. Dayton won its first two games of the season to improve to 2-3-1 while UNCG loses its first two and drops to 4-2.
"It was tough day," head coach Link Jarrett said. "We were really inconsistent out there so we will take the week to correct some things."
Senior utility player Trevor Edwards (Toronto, Ontario, Canada/Taddle Creek Academy) capped an impressive week as he went 6-for-18 (.333) with two doubles, two home runs, a sacrifice fly and nine RBI while slugging .778 in four contests.
A pitcher's duel ensued as game one began. Ian Hundley led off by reaching base on an error by freshman infield Nin Marrero (Greensboro, N.C./Western Guilford). He reached second on a groundout but was caught stealing at third to kill Dayton's momentum. Senior outfielder Christian Wolfe (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll) began the bottom of the frame with a single, but senior infielder TJ Spina (Newberry, Fla./Santa Fe) lined into a double play as the game remained scoreless after one complete.
The Flyers threatened in the second. However, with one out and runners on first and third, Mel Skochdopole lined out to sophomore outfielder Zac MacAneney (Gibsonville, N.C./Western Alamance) who proceeded to throw a perfect strike to junior catcher Cambric Moye (Goldsboro, N.C./Eastern Wayne) to get Aaron Huesman at the plate and end the inning.
The next real scoring chance for either squad occurred in the fifth as Dayton loaded the bases with no outs. However, UNCG starter sophomore Lee Gilliam (Chapel Hill, N.C./Chapel Hill) struck out Spencer Rohr before inducing a ground ball double play to escape the jam and keep the Flyers off the board.
Dayton finally struck in the top of the sixth when Hundley hit a leadoff triple to right center. Robby Sunderman then poked a fly ball out to left field which was deep enough to score Hundley and give the visitors a 1-0 lead. That would be all for the Flyers, however, as a strikeout and groundout ended the frame.
After the Spartans went quietly in their half of the sixth, sophomore RHP Tyler Frazier (Fairfax Station, Va./Halifax County) came on to relieve Gilliam. He had little trouble retiring the side, allowing just a walk to A.J. Ryan.
With one out in UNCG's half of the seventh, MacAneney walked and Marrero singled before junior infielder Sean Guite (Huntington Beach, Calif./Irvine Valley College) flew out to right field. Freshman outfielder Julian Abreu (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) came through in his at bat, hitting a high chopper to third for an infield single that scored MacAneney and tied the game. Abreu stole second but he was stranded there as Wolfe fouled out to terminate the threat.
Frazier came up big again in the eighth, giving up a walk to Hundley but he struck out Sunderman looking for the final out. The Spartans capitalized in the bottom half, scoring a run on two hits to take a 2-1 advantage. Spina singled to lead off the frame and advanced to second on a balk by Flyer pitcher Noah Buettgen. Senior infielder Lloyd Enzor (Whiteville, N.C./Southeastern CC) then singled to put runners on first and third for Moye. The catcher put down a textbook bunt up the first baseline for the squeeze which scored Spina. MacAneney couldn't keep the inning going, however, striking out swinging to send the game to the top of the ninth.
The inning began innocently enough, as senior LHP Corey Taylor (Fallston, Md./Fallston) recorded two quick outs. He then rung up two strikes on Huesman, but the designated hitter battled back to draw a walk. The Flyers capitalized in their next two at bats, posting two-straight singles to score two runs and assume a 3-2 advantage. UNCG could only muster a two-out walk by Abreu as Wolfe flied out to center to end the contest.
Abreu was 2-for-3 with a RBI the game while Moye racked up the other RBI on his squeeze play in the eighth. Gilliam and Frazier combined to throw eight innings, scattering four hits between them and striking out four. Gilliam threw the first six innings and recorded three strikeouts while Frazier did not allow a hit in his two innings. Taylor was saddled with his first loss of the season and lost the chance at his first save of the campaign.
Dayton rode the momentum of their comeback win into the second game, scoring two quick runs in the first after racking up two doubles and a single in their first three at bats. The Spartans responded in the bottom half, using a RBI single from Enzor to cut the Flyer advantage in half.
The teams exchanged single runs in the fourth, keeping the score tied at 3-3 before Dayton scored two unearned runs in the fifth via a Huesman single to right field and moved back in front 5-3. A two-out error by Spina allowed the inning to continue as he could not come up with a grounder hit by Mark Podlas.
UNCG pulled a run back in its half of the fifth as Edwards smashed a two-out solo home run to deep right center. Enzor and Moye followed with consecutive singles, but MacAneney struck out looking to end the frame.
The Flyers re-established their two-run edge with an unearned run in the sixth, but the Spartans rallied for two in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game. Spina, Edwards and Moye all tallied doubles in frame to give UNCG new life.
Sophomore reliever Brennen James (Taylorsville, N.C./Alexander Central) worked a 1-2-3 top of the eighth before Marrero reached first to lead off the bottom of the inning. Junior infielder Shawn Hendon (Bethesda, Md./Montgomery College) stepped up and clubbed a RBI triple to deep center field to give the Spartans a 7-6 edge before Abreu smashed a RBI double to right field which scored Hendon to increase UNCG's lead to 8-6. Jack Rose entered to pitch for Dayton and retired the next three Spartans to limit any further damage.
The visitors rallied again in the top of the ninth, tagging sophomore LHP Brandon Browne (Hope Mills, N.C./Gray's Creek) with a single and a RBI triple to slice their deficit to 8-7. Frazier returned to pitch for UNCG but walked Skochdopole which allowed Podlas to smack a sacrifice fly which scored Sunderman to tie the game. Huesman fouled out to right field for the first out of the inning before freshman RHP Ryan Clark (Johnson City, N.Y./Johnson City) entered to pitch. Ryan greeted the rookie with a single through the left side before Jared Broughton hit a single of his own to score pinch runner Ralph Alloco. Clark was then able to induce a groundout by Luke Wolford to end the inning and give UNCG a chance in the bottom of the ninth.
Moye laced a one-out single through the left side to bring up MacAneney but the sophomore struck out. Marrero came up next as the Spartans' last chance but he hit a ground ball to the second baseman who flipped the ball to the shortstop and nabbed pinch runner and sophomore Nick Chapman (Morganton, N.C./Patton) to end the game.
Moye turned in a solid effort as he went 4-for-5 with a RBI while Edwards was 2-for-4 with three RBI. The Spartans pounded out 15 hits, but five errors plagued their efforts as four of Dayton's nine runs ended up being unearned. Starter and junior RHP Dylan Thompson (Snow Camp, N.C./Guilford Technical CC) gave up five runs (three unearned) while allowing eight hits and striking out three. Frazier (0-1) was tagged with his first loss of the season as Skochdopole scored the game-winning run after the pitcher was replaced.
The Blue and Gold return to the diamond Friday, March 1 as the Spartans host America East member Albany in the first of a three-game series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
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