JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The UNCG baseball team ran its winning streak to five games when it took advantage of a five-run fifth inning on Friday afternoon against East Tennessee State. The offensive explosion helped the Spartans earn a 7-4 road victory at Thomas Stadium.
The first of four hits in the fifth by UNCG (27-15, 9-7 SoCon) came off the bat of Ryan Caveness, who singled through the left side of the infield. Coleman Sawyer reached on a fielder’s choice, moving Caveness to second on a throwing miscue by the third baseman. Freshman outfielder Jacquez Koonce laid down a bunt single, loading the bases for teammate Zack Budzik.
Budzik delivered the first runs of the fifth with a single to left that plated Sawyer and Caveness in succession. Greg Hardison drove in two runs, stretching the Spartan lead to 5-2, with a single that scored Budzik and Koonce as he reached third on a throwing error. Austin Embler dropped a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher, allowing Hardison to motor home from third for the sixth UNCG run of the game.
East Tennessee State (28-15, 7-8 SoCon) managed just one run from the sixth inning on, which came in the seventh on a home run from Jackson Greer.
Phillip Sanderson tossed the first four innings of the game for the Spartans, allowing three runs on six hits while walking one walk. Corey Jackson (6-1) became the first UNCG hurler to reach six wins on the season after recording three strikeouts, scattering four hits and one run over 2.2 innings.
Chad Sykes (S, 8) slammed the door on the ETSU rally attempt, holding the Bucs hitless over 2.1 innings as he fanned a pair of batters.
Offensively, UNCG was led by the trio of Hardison, Budzik and Caleb Webster. Hardison was responsible for the only multi-hit game for the Spartans (3-4, 2 runs, 2 doubles), while Budzik (1-4, 2 RBI, run) and Webster (1-4, RBI) were responsible for at least one RBI o one hit.
UNCG-EAST TENNESSEE STATE (GAME 1) FAST FACTS
-Spartans improve to 5-9 on the road this season
-UNCG has put together a five-game winning streak, its second-longest streak of the season. The longest is a six-game streak that spanned from March 8-March 16th.
-The Spartans now hold a 30-14 advantage in the all-time series between the two programs, winning 11 of those contests under head coach Link Jarrett.
-Chad Sykes, who fanned a pair of ETSU hitters in his 2.1 innings on the mound, extends his consecutive game streak with at least one strikeout to 59 games.
-The UNCG trio of Phillip Sanderson, Corey Jackson and Chad Sykes combined to record nine strikeouts.
The second game between the Spartans and East Tennessee State has been moved to 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 4th, due to inclement weather in the forecast.