Baseball Loses First Game at UNC Greensboro, 7-2
Feb. 16, 2002
GREENSBORO, N.C. - The UNCG baseball team benefitted from some suspect George Washington defense, exploded for five runs in the bottom of the fourth inning and cruised past the Colonials, 7-2, in the season opener at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
"We really just had some better at bats and put the ball in play," said head coach Mike Gaski. "We made contact and put the pressure on them. We forced them to make plays. I give credit to our lineup. They did the job."
The Spartans jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but the Colonials grabbed back the lead with two runs in the top of the second. Chris Barry led off the inning with a bloop single. After back-to-back strikeouts, UNCG starting pitcher Everett Hancock appeared to avoid serious damage, but two more bloop singles and a Spartans error put the Colonials on top.
UNCG tied the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the third. Ryan Gordon (So./Greenville, NC) led off the inning with a triple down the right field line. Justin Saltalamacchia evened the score with an RBI groundout.
Hancock regained his form in the fourth with a pair of strikeouts and did not allow George Washington to regain the lead. The senior lefthander tossed 4.0 innings and gave up just five hits and two runs, just one earned. Hancock (1-0) recorded six strikeouts and picked up his first victory of the season.
Justin Lee led off the five run fourth with a single to left field. Following
a Jason Sarvis ground out, David Adams singled and both runners advanced a
base on an error by Mike Bassett. Krik Strebin, who was on the base paths all
night, knocked an RBI single. George Washington pulled starter Chris Worth,
but DAvid Gramolini performed no better. Gordon greeted the freshman with a
rocket to right field and Justin Saltalamacch singled down the left-field to
push the lead to three, 5-2. After a wild pitch and Craig Whalen was hit by a
pitch, Jesse Martin drew a walk. Lee reached base for the second time in the
inning, this time on another Colonial error, and Saltalamacch scored to end
the five run fourth.
The Spartans bullpen took control the rest of the way. Senior Chris Cloninger tossed 3.0 innings of scoreless baseball and gave up just a single run. Jay Metzger relived Cloninger and tossed a hitless inning, while Scooter Michael retied the Colonials 1-2-3 in the ninth.
"We played pretty well all around tonight," said Gaski. "We pitched played solid in the field and pitched well again. Everett was outstanding and Chris was his bulldog self again."
The top three in the lineup, Strebin, Gordon and Saltalamacchia, went a combined 7-for-15 with four RBI and five runs scored. Strebin was 3-for-5 with an RBI and run scored, while Gordon and Saltalamacchia each picked up two hits and two RBI.
"We took advantage of some younger pitching," said head coach Mike Gaski. "That is the dilemma of college baseball and we will face those things later this weekend, but the kids have to learn how to pitch."
The Spartans get right back to action tommorrow afternoon with the second game of this three-game series. UNCG will put junior Aaron Horne on the mound. The righthander has not started a game since the opening game of the 2000 Southern Conference Tournament. First-pitch at UNCG Baseball Stadium is set for 1 p.m.