GREENSBORO, N.C. – The Elon University baseball team saw the UNCG Spartans eliminate a five-run deficit as the Phoenix dropped a 12-8 decision on Tuesday at UNCG Baseball Stadium.
James Venuto had a big day at the plate for Elon (6-7). Venuto matched a career high with four RBI and was 3-for-4 with a double and his first home run of the season. His three hits also equaled a personal best.
UNCG’s (6-6) offense was led by Cesar Trejo who was 2-for-5 with a homer and four RBI.
Nick Beaulac (0-2) took the loss after giving up one run in a third of an inning. Making the first start of his career, George Kirby went 4.1 innings and was charged with six runs (five earned) on seven hits.
Andrew Wantz (2-1) earned the win in relief. He threw 4.0 innings and gave up one run on one hit while striking out seven.
How It Happened: With the game tied at eight, Elon pitchers issued a pair of walks in the last of the seventh that would both score on Ryan Clinch’s two-out triple down the right field line. Clinch would then score on Austin Embler’s single through the left side to make it 11-8 in favor of UNCG.
Elon sent seven men to the plate in the top of the second and Kory Shumate got things started with a single up the middle. Shumate would work his way around the bases on a sacrifice bunt and ground out before scoring on a passed ball. Back-to-back walks to Jamal Clarke and Garrett Stonehouse were followed by a ball off the wall in left-center off the bat of Ryne Ogren. The double scored both runners as the Phoenix jumped out to a 3-0 lead.
The Phoenix tacked on a pair in the top of the fourth when Venuto crushed a 2-0 pitch deep over the wall down the right field line. The shot also scored CJ Young who started the inning with a walk.
UNCG was able to get something going in the last of the fourth as Embler blooped a single down the left field line and moved to second on Caleb Webster’s bunt single. Andrew Moritz followed with a single through the right side that was misplayed to allow the Spartans to score to make it 5-1 and left runners on the corners. A sacrifice fly to left cut Elon’s advantage to 5-2. Trejo then made it a one-run contest with a homer to left.
Venuto stayed hot in the fifth, driving in two more runs on a double off the wall in center.
The Spartans would knot the game at seven in the bottom of the fifth. With runners on second and third with one out, a ground ball scored one and an error on the play kept a pair of runners in scoring position. With two down, Trejo hit a soft, two-RBI single to center to tie it up.
UNCG moved in front on Webster’s two-out double down the left field line in the sixth that scored Ryne Sigmon who began the frame with a double.
The Spartan advantage was short-lived as the Phoenix pushed across the tying run on a bases-loaded walk to Jamal Clarke in the seventh.
Notes: Elon hitters drew a season-high 11 walks… Zach Evers has reached base safely in all 13 games this season after drawing two walks and being hit by a pitch.
On Deck: The Phoenix will begin an 11-game homestand this weekend by playing host to the Georgia Southern Eagles in a three-game series. Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Latham Park.