GREENSBORO, N.C. – UNCG junior Ryan Caveness finished 1-for-3 from the plate and tallied four RBI, while teammate Caleb Webster closed the game 2-for-3 with one RBI, but it was a three-run home run in the fifth inning by N.C. A&T that lifted the crosstown rivals to an 8-5 victory on Tuesday evening at the First National Bank Ballpark.
The Spartans (13-5) bolted out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Greg Hardison singled through the right side of the infield for the first UNCG hit. He came home shortly thereafter following a triple to right field by Caleb Webster, establishing a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, with Webster at third, Ryan Caveness lifted a two-run home run over the left field wall to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead.
The Aggies got one run back in the top of the second and eventually tied the game at three-all with a two-run third inning.
UNCG climbed back in front 4-3 when Caveness plated Caleb Webster with a sacrifice fly to right field in the fourth. The one-run lead remained intact until the fifth, when N.C. A&T (11-9) used a three-run home run by Camden Williamson to take a 6-4 lead. The Aggies would add runs in the sixth and ninth, while UNCG manufactured its fifth run in the seventh, on a grounder to third by Caveness, to make for the 8-5 final.
FAST FACTS VERSUS THE AGGIES
-The eight runs for the Aggies mark the most in the series against UNCG since they scored nine on March 22, 2016.
-Caveness’ four-RBI outing against the Aggies mark the fourth time this season that he has multiple RBIs in a contest. His previous single-game season-high was three RBI, which came against High Point (2-5, 3 RBI / Feb. 19) and Jacksonville (1-2, 3 RBI / March 16).
-Greg Hardison extended his hitting streak to seven games after a leadoff single in the bottom of the first. The seven-game streak, which began on March 10 against Princeton, marks the longest by any Spartan this season, topping a series of six-game streaks by Mike Ferrara (March 2-March 9), Josh Madole (March 4-March 10) and Caleb Webster (March 10-March 16).
-Hogan Windish’s five-game hitting streak came to an end after a 0-for-3 outing against the Aggies.
-Aggies have won back-to-back games in the series for the first time since the 2008 when N.C. A&T claimed a 10-7 win on April 2 and followed with a 5-3 victory on May 7. Before Tuesday’s 8-5 victory, the Aggies posted a 3-2 win on April 2, 2018 at the UNCG Baseball Stadium.
HEAD COACH LINK JARRETT’S TAKE ON THE GAME
“N.C. A&T played a solid ball game and earned their win tonight. We jumped out to a nice lead after a nice first inning offensively. (Greg) Hardison led off with a great base hit bunt followed by (Caleb) Webster’s triple and (Ryan) Caveness’ home run. We did not execute on the mound well at all. Poor pitch execution and they capitalized. Offensively, in the middle part of the game, we did not cash in on some opportunities to grind out at bats and extend our lead. The 0-2 three-run home run Williamson hit was a momentum changing pitch, and he had a good night at the plate. It is disappointing to play the way we did tonight especially after jumping out to an early lead on (Ethan) Chavis who has been very effective this season. A&T played a better ball game then we did tonight and deserved to win. Good to see Webster hit two balls hard to right field tonight, he works very hard and it was good to see those at bats.”
The Spartans turn their attention to the three-game Southern Conference opener at Mercer this weekend. The first game of the series is set for March 23 at 6 p.m. It will follow with games on March 24 (2 p.m.) and March 25 (1 p.m.).