(Army couldn’t get down to Baltimore to play UMBC at the Baseball Factory last weekend, but they are in Greensboro to meet the UNCG Spartans for a weekend series, that gets under way at 4pm this afternoon, on what should be a “Freebie Friday” at UNCG’s baseball stadium)….
To get more on the pitching matchups, etc., go to www.goarmysports.com.
WEST POINT, N.Y. – After inclement weather in the Northeast prevented Army from traveling south last weekend, the Black Knights’ baseball team takes back to the road this weekend, readying for a three-game series with UNC Greensboro.
Army (2-1), which posted wins over Atlantic 10 Conference favorite Dayton and Wake Forest during the opening weekend of the season (Feb. 19-20), saw two series fall victim to winter weather a week ago. The Black Knights were originally scheduled to play three games against Maryland-Baltimore County in Baltimore, but when heavy snowfalls left the Baseball Factory Field unplayable, Army’s coaches scurried to arrange a replacement series against George Mason in Durham, N.C. Unfortunately, blizzard-like conditions that engulfed West Point last Friday kept Army grounded after all.
The Black Knights experienced no such travel difficulties on Thursday, departing the Academy around midday with the sun shining brightly.
“It’s nice to get back outside and test ourselves once again,” stated Army head coach Joe Sottolano. “We went back indoors this week and addressed some of the things we felt we needed to get a little bit better at and still try to maintain a quality level of play. This will be a good test because we’re going to play a good team that has had a lot of success early and has been outdoors quite a bit. We’re going to have to be mentally sharp and play well. I think we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
Army will face a UNC Greensboro team that has broken from the gates quickly, registering six victories in its first seven contests. The Southern Conference-member Spartans have sandwiched three-game sweeps of Cleveland State and Albany around a 12-2 loss to intrastate rival North Carolina.
UNCG has been led in the early going offensively by senior outfielder Corey Overholtzer (.409, 2 HR, 4 RBI), senior catcher Ed Jayjack (.391, 2 HR, 7 RBI), freshman outfielder Zach Leach (.300, 0 HR, 10 RBI) and sophomore infielder Lloyd Enzor (.269, 2 HR, 9 RBI). Junior right-hander Greg Smith (2-0, 2.38 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Wes McBride (2-0, 4.26 ERA) have each picked up a pair of victories in relief for the Spartans.
“We’re looking to challenge ourselves early and trying to find some of the things we need to work on,” Sottolano added. “We’re obviously going to face some good arms and some quality offensive players. I expect the talent level in our conference to be comparable to what we’re going to face this weekend.”
Junior Kevin McKague (.500, 3 HR, 5 RBI) spearheaded Army’s offense during the first weekend of non-league play with classmates Ben Koenigsfeld (.400, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and Clint Moore (.333, 1 HR, 4 RBI) lending solid support. Joey Henshaw (1-0, 3.60) and Koenigsfeld (1-0, 3.38 ERA) turned in strong starting showings off the mound to notch Army’s two pitching victories.
“Getting some of our questions answered will be the most important thing for us this weekend,” Sottolano offered. “We need to get our pitchers’ pitch counts up. We’re looking to get quality starting pitching and fill out our roles out of the bullpen. We want to see improvements from the first weekend to now. We want to keep getting better as the season goes on.”
The teams will play single nine-inning games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. First pitch on Friday is slated for 4 p.m. at UNCG Baseball Stadium. The contests are scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday.
Weekend Schedule (Times Eastern and Subject to Change)
Friday, March 5
Army vs. UNC Greensboro, 4 p.m.
Saturday, March 6
Army vs. UNC Greensboro, 1 p.m.
Sunday, March 7
Army vs. UNC Greensboro, 1 p.m.