COLUMBIA, S.C. – UNCG baseball used a spectacular start from sophomore Matt Frisbee (Candler, N.C./Enka) to defeat the No. 4 South Carolina Gamecocks, 1-0 in front of 8,017 people at South Carolina’s Founders Park Sunday afternoon. Frisbee, a Freshman All-SoCon selection last season, and a preseason All-SoCon second team selection this year, logged 7.0 shutout innings against the Gamecocks.
The Spartans are now 1-2 on the season, while South Carolina falls to 2-1.
“I’m so proud of the way we played today.” Head coach Link Jarrett said, “We knew this one was going to be a dog fight.We had a lot of confidence with (Matt) Frisbee starting. Frisbee had command of his pitches, we felt good with him on Sunday because we’d have more information on those South Carolina hitters. Frisbee needed to use his fastball more and being able to identify what those hitters do well helped him use his fastball better. We have a tremendous amount of confidence in (Andrew) Wantz at the end of the game. He had two big strikeouts in the ninth, and got the double play in the eighth.”
“We talked a lot in our preseason about the time between 3:00-4:00 is the time where your mental toughness and your focus is tested the most.” Jarrett continued, “I challenged our team last Sunday, at the end of our last practice, the toughness that you’ll need at this time for the next 16 Sunday’s will be the difference in your season. We were at our best in the last 30 minutes of that game. I’m so proud of the way we played, to come in on Sunday, with that kind of poise and composure, to come in and win on Sunday with our backs against the wall, and their whole bullpen fresh, that was just remarkable.”
“The plays we scored on, most people wouldn’t notice the details in how we scored that run.” Jarrett said, “That’s a lot of stuff that doesn’t show up in the box score. I’m very proud of the way we executed some of our stuff to get Austin (Embler) in to score. That one run, in a game of this magnitude, proved to be the difference.”
Frisbee tied a career-high 7.0 innings, scattering three hits, issuing a walk and striking out four batters. He retired the first ten batters he faced and allowed just four base runners. Andrew Wantz (Holly Springs, N.C./Holly Springs) pitched the final 2.0 innings, striking out two batters in the bottom of the ninth.
UNCG was held to one hit in the contest. Tripp Shelton (Winston-Salem, N.C./West Forsyth) connected for a single up the middle in the first inning as UNCG’s lone hit of the contest.
UNCG scored its lone run in the top of the third inning. Austin Embler (Southern Pines, N.C./Pinecrest) led off the third inning, working a five-pitch walk. Embler recorded UNCG’s first stolen base of the season to get to second and moved to third on a passed ball. Ben Spitznagel (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wabash Valley CC) drove Embler in on a ground out to first.
Wantz ran into a little bit of trouble in the bottom of the eighth. The junior gave up a leadoff single to LT Tolbert who moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jonah Bride. Wantz issued a one-out walk to TJ Hopkins to put runners at first and second before getting a ground ball from Danny Blair. Shelton fielded the ground ball and converted the 6-3 double play to get UNCG out of the jam.
The ninth inning was less dramatic,
Wantz retired the Gamecocks in order in the bottom of the ninth inning. Wantz struck out preseason All-SEC selection Alex Destino, and got Chris Cullen to fly out to left field. With two outs, Wantz fell behind shortstop Madison Stokes 3-0, before painting the black with three-straight fastballs to strikeout the Gamecock shortstop and give UNCG the victory.
The Blue and Gold is back in action Tuesday, Feb. 21st as it takes on Triad-foe Wake Forest at David F. Couch Ballpark in Winston-Salem.