DURHAM, N.C. - Trailing 3-1 after five innings, UNCG scored three unanswered runs and saw its bullpen allow only one hit over the last 4 1/3 innings to defeat Duke, 4-3, in a nonconference game at Jack Coombs Field in Durham, N.C. on Tuesday evening.
For the second game in a row, UNCG (18-13) would rally back and prevail thanks to some shaky defense by Duke (13-21) and dominate work by the bullpen.
The Spartans took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning following a sacrifice fly from Christian Wolfe that scored Thomas Troelstrup, who tripled down the right field line to spark the offense.
Duke responded quickly by plating a run in the bottom of the third to tie it up at one. Identical to the way UNCG got on the board, Duke's Grant McCabe hit a triple to left past an outstretched Zach Leach to put a runner on third with no outs in the frame. Blue Devil's Angelo La Bruna lofted a sacrifice fly to right field to score McCabe.
Knotted up at one, Duke plated its final two runs of the evening in the bottom of the fifth inning as Jordan Betts singled to start off the inning against UNCG's Jonathan Jones. Following a Betts stolen base, McCabe reached on an error to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Again, La Bruna delivered as he plated Betts on an RBI groundout to give the Blue Devils a 2-1 lead. Two batters later, Andy Perez hit an RBI single to extend the Duke lead to two, 3-1.
However, UNCG sliced the deficit in half in its next at bat as Kris Richards singled to center on the first pitch he saw from Dillon Haviland (1-1) and Cole Harrison smoked a triple down the right field line to bring the score to 3-2 in Duke's favor.
In the top of the seventh, TJ Spina walked to lead off the frame and Bobby Martin reached on the fourth error of the evening by the Blue Devils to put runners on first and second with no outs. Two batters later, Trevor Edwards roped an RBI single to center field. Lloyd Enzor followed with a sacrifice fly of his own to give the Spartans the lead for good, 4-3.
All but two starters recorded a hit for UNCG and four Spartans accumulated an RBI on evening.
Zach Furl (2-0) picked up the win for UNCG as he tossed 1 1/3 inning of no-hit relief while walking one batter and helped the Spartans escape a potential detrimental fifth inning.
UNCG starter freshman Lee Gilliam was sharp in his four innings of work as he struck out the side in the second inning and induced a double play groundball in the first. He finished the night with four strikeouts while allowing two hits and one run on 46 pitches.
Brennen James collected his third save of the year as he threw a 13 pitch scoreless ninth inning.
The Blue Devil's Haviland took the loss as he was rocked for three runs (two earned) and allowed three hits in 1 1/3 innings of work.
UNCG's pitching staff struck out 10 batters on the evening on the way to back-to-back victories for the first time since March 25-28. UNCG has won six of its last nine games and is in the midst of playing 10 of its next 15 games on the road after 25 of its first 30 games at home.
UNCG heads to Charleston, S.C. for a three-game set in a crucial Southern Conference against The Citadel on Friday. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.
UNCG Sports Information Dept.