WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – After surrendering four runs in the first two innings, the Spartan bullpen allowed just one run over the final seven innings to earn an 11-5 victory over Wake Forest Wednesday night. UNCG used five pitches in the victory as the bullpen struck out nine hitters to improve to 5-3 on the season. Wake Forest falls to 3-6. This is UNCG’s first win at David F. Couch Ballpark since the 2014 season. Head coach Link Jarrett improves to 5-5 against the Demon Deacons and this was UNCG baseball’s 15 victory all-time over the ACC foe.
“Offensively from the first inning on I thought that we had a good approach against some very good arms.” coach Jarrett said, “Our bullpen did a fantastic job of continuing to just record outs and execute pitches. (Jake) Mayhew wasn’t as sharp as he has been but (Jack) Maynard, (Dan) Loats, Easton (Welch) and (Andrew) Wantz were all really effective. I’m very proud of the way we played. That’s a good baseball team. To come over here on the road, in these conditions, we really played one of our best games. I’m proud of the way we played.”
Jake Mayhew (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) started his second game of the season. He tossed 1.1 innings, allowed four runs on one hit and struck out a batter. Jack Maynard (Crozet, Va./Patrick Henry CC) was first out of the bullpen. He tossed 1.2 innings, allowing three hits and struck out a batter as he earned his second win of the season.
Dan Loats (Eden Prairie, Minn./NIACC) went a season-high 2.0 innings, allowing just two hits and struck out a pair of hitters. Next in was redshirt senior Easton Welch (Randleman, N.C./Gardner-Webb). Welch tossed 2.0 innings, allowed just one hit, a run and tied a career-high with three strikeouts. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) got the save as he entered the eighth inning with UNCG leading 8-5. Wantz tossed the final 2.0 innings without allowing a hit and struck out three batters.
At the plate, UNCG racked up 20 hits for the first time since last March when the Spartans defeated UNC Asheville. Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) and Cesar Trejo (Greensboro, N.C./Ragsdale) led the charge with four hits apiece. The one through five hitters in the lineup combined to go 14-for-25 as Caleb Webster (Randleman, N.C./Randleman), Andrew Moritz (Charlotte, N.C./Providence) and Dillon Stewart (Coats, N.C./Brunswick CC) each tallied a pair of hits.
Every starter recorded at least one hit as the bottom of the order combined for six hits. Greg Hardison (Greenville, N.C./JH Rose) added a 3-for-4 performance. Moritz and Jake Kusz (Durham, N.C./Riverside) each hit home runs in the contest.
UNCG opened up the scoring early. After a miscommunication allowed Webster to double with one out, Moritz homered over the right field wall to put the Spartans up 2-0 early. In three career games at David F. Couch Ballpark, Moritz has hit two home runs.
Wake Forest answered in its half of the frame. After walks loaded the bases with one out, Mayhew got a pair of fly outs, one driving in a run to cut the lead to 2-1.
The Demon Deacons doubled up the Spartans in the second inning. Chris Lanzilli and Logan Harvey walked before DJ Poteet dropped down a bunt hit to load the bases. Back-to-back groundouts to third base scored two runs before Johnny Aiello lined a single to right field to score the third run of the inning and put Wake Forest up 4-2.
UNCG tied it back up in the top of the third inning. Embler singled and Webster laid down a bunt hit to put two on. After Moritz sacrificed to move the runners into scoring position, Stewart doubled down the third baseline to tie the game up at 4-4.
The Spartans pushed two more across in the top of the sixth. Hardison singled and moved to second after a fielding error by the Wake Forest left fielder. Embler followed with a single and Wake Forest attempted to catch him between first and second but the first baseman couldn’t handle the throw, allowing Hardison to score and Embler to move up. Moritz drove a single through the left side allowing Embler to score and putting the Spartans up 7-4.
Wake Forest cut into the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Aiello tripled to center field before scoring on a double play to trim the lead to 7-5.
The Spartans regained their three-run cushion the following inning. Trejo doubled down the right field line and moved to third after a Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) ground out. Josh Madole (Hampstead, N.C./Topsail) connected for a single through a drawn in infield to score Trejo and put UNCG up 8-5.
Trejo and Shelton each connected for one-out singles to put two on in the ninth. Kusz hammered his second homer of the season, taking an 0-2 pitch the opposite way to run the Spartan lead to 11-5.
The Spartans are back in action this weekend as they host the Marist Red Foxes in a three-game series at the UNCG Baseball Stadium, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.