CLEMSON, S.C. – UNCG knocked off the No. 23 St. John's Red Storm 3-1 in an elimination game in the NCAA Clemson Regional on Saturday afternoon. The Spartans see their season continue and will play the loser of Saturday night's Vanderbilt/Clemson game at 1 p.m. Sunday. The Spartans improve to 36-23 on the season and have now won at least one game in the NCAA tournament in all three of their appearances.
St. John's finishes its season 42-13.
Matt Frisbee logged a quality start in the elimination game. The sophomore went six innings, giving up three hits, struck out two and didn't allow a run. Andrew Wantz earned his fifth save, going three innings, allowing a pair of hits and a run while striking out two batters.
The offense managed six hits, all by different players in the contest. Ben Spitznagel walked and scored a run and drove in a run on a squeeze. Caleb Webster added an RBI single in the first inning, and Michael Goss drove in an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth inning.
The Spartans got the scoring started in the bottom of the first. Spitznagel drew a five-pitch walk and went first-to-third when Andrew Moritz dropped a single into center field. Webster pushed a 1-0 pitch past the diving St. John's first baseman to score Spitznagel and give UNCG a 1-0 lead.
UNCG manufactured another run in the bottom of the second frame. Austin Embler and Ryne Sigmon led off with back-to-back singles. A balk moved both into scoring position. With the runners moving, Spitznagel laid down a squeeze bunt to score Embler. St. John's didn't cover first and Spitznagel reached on the hit, but the Red Storm first baseman fired to the catcher, who tagged out Sigmon attempting to score from second on the play.
St. John's cut the lead in half in the top of the seventh. Anthony Brocato led off with a single and moved to second on a hit-and-run ground out off the bat of Gui Gingras. With two outs, Troy Dixon doubled down the left-field line to drive in Brocato and cut the Spartan lead to 2-1.
The Red Storm threatened in the eighth, getting a leadoff walk to the nine-hole hitter, Jamie Galazin. After a sacrifice bunt moved him into scoring position, Wantz got Michael Donadio to strike out before Spitznagel made a running catch down the line in left to strand the runner.
The Spartans added an insurance run in the top of the eighth. Tripp Shelton tapped a chopper to second that was a tough play for the St. John's defense and was ruled an error. A ground out moved him to second for Goss, who delivered with a double to center to bring in Shelton and put the Spartans up 3-1.
Wantz worked a perfect ninth inning, striking out Josh Shaw to close the game.