GREENVILLE, S.C. – UNCG totaled 12 runs on 14 hits, including four home runs, scoring in five of seven innings to clinch a 12-2 victory over top-seeded Wofford and claim the title Sunday at the 2022 Southern Conference Baseball Championship presented by Holston Gases at Flour Field. The tournament title was the Spartans’ first since 2017.

The Spartans (34-28), who tallied four runs in the third, three in the fourth and sixth and one in the fifth and seventh innings, claimed the SoCon’s automatic berth to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in the last five years andwill learn their postseason fate on Monday, May 30, at 12 p.m. ET, when the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship Selection Show airs on ESPN2.

Wofford finishes the tournament with a seasonal record of 42-16-1 under head coach Todd Interdonato, the SoCon Coach of the Year, and reached the title game for the first time since 2019.

Kennedy Jones, who won the Walt Nadzak Award as the Most Outstanding Player, was 1-for-5 with one run scored and one RBIin the win and finished the tournament with a .432 average, going 16-for-37 over seven games. Jones set tournament records with 16 hits, 17 RBIs, 37 at-bats and 33 total bases and matched the tournament record with five home runs. He also became UNCG’s single-season RBI record-holder with 73 on the season.

The game was scoreless through the first two innings, with Jones starting off the third with a single to right field before Hogan Windish, Pres Cavenaugh and Mitchell Smith hit back-to-back-to-back home runs, handing the Spartans the 4-0 advantage.

The Spartans added three more runs in the fourth inning, with Bradley Bott hitting a line-drive single to the pitcher before Windish knocked a 416-foot two-run home run over the left center field fence, his second of the contest, extending UNCG’s lead to 6-0. Cavenaugh followed Windish’s at-bat with a single to left field and crossed the plate in the end of the frame for the Spartans’ final run of the inning, scoring off a Wofford fielding error to hand the Spartans a seven-run lead.

After trailing 7-0 entering the bottom of the frame, the Terriers broke out with two runs on two hits, with Ryan Galanie reaching on a throwing error before Jack Renwick slashed a double to left field, driving in Galanie to collect Wofford’s first run of the game. Trey Yunger followed with an RBI single through the right side, advancing Renwick to home to cut the Terriers’ deficit to 7-2.

UNCG added five more runs on five hits in the final three innings of the contest. The Spartans took advantage of a hit by pitch and a throwing error in the fifth before Jones hit an RBI groundout to first base, driving in Zack Budzik for the 8-2 advantage. After Smith, Greg Hardison and Dallas Callahan started off the sixth inning with three consecutive singles to left field, the Spartans saw GC Jarman reach base on a fielder’s choice, Budzik hit a sacrifice fly to center field and Bott knock a single down the left field line, with all three batters driving in one run each as UNCG’s lead ballooned to 11-2. Smith started off the seventh reaching base on a fielding error before Hardison laced a double down the left-field line to make it a 12-2 contest.

Smith went 3-for-5 with three runs scored, one home run and one RBI to pace the Spartans at the plate, while Windish went 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two home runs and four RBIs. Five of nine UNCG batters registered two or more hits in the win. 

Lawson Hill, Galanie, Hester, Renwick and Yunger all went 1-for 3 to lead the Terriers at the plate, while six of nine Wofford batters tallied a hit in the contest. With his single in the fifth inning, Hill recorded the 300th hit of his career to become the first Terrier to ever reach that benchmark and just the 15th player in SoCon history.

Spartans starting pitcher Hunter Shuey, who pitched all seven innings for UNCG, tossed three scoreless innings in the final three frames to prevent the Terriers from cutting into the lead. The Hamburg, Pennsylvania, native, allowed two unearned runs on six hits and recorded four strikeouts in the contest, improving to 2-2 on the season with the win. 

Wofford’s Dalton Rhadans (7-4) took the loss for the Terriers, allowing six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 innings of work. Holden Wilder, Luke Stephens and Lucas Mahlstedt also took the mound for Wofford in the contest, with Wilder allowing two unearned runs on one hit and recording one strikeout in 2/3 of an inning of action, Stephens allowing three runs on four hits and recording two strikeouts in two innings of action and Mahlstedt allowing only one hit in his one inning of work. 

UNCG’s Alex Hoppe, a senior right-handed pitcher, earned the Pinnacle Award as the student-athlete with the highest GPA on the championship-winning team.

2022 Southern Conference Championship All-Tournament Team
SP – Price King, UNCG

SP – Matthew Marchal, Wofford

RP – Jackson Kelley, Mercer

C – Dallas Callahan, UNCG

1B – Greg Hardison, UNCG

2B – Garrett Staton, Samford

SS – Zack Budzik, UNCG

3B – Zach Ketterman, Western Carolina

OF – Pres Cavenaugh, UNCG

OF – Kennedy Jones, UNCG

OF – Colton Ledbetter, Samford

DH – Brennen Dorighi, Wofford

Walt Nadzak Most Outstanding Player
Kennedy Jones, Fr., OF, UNCG

Pinnacle Award (highest GPA on championship-winning team)

Alex Hoppe, Sr., RHP, UNCG

May 25 (Wednesday)

SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+) 
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 1: #8 The Citadel 3, #5 ETSU 1                 
Game 2: #6 Western Carolina 4, #7 VMI 1            
Game 3: #4 UNCG 7, #8 The Citadel 6                   
Game 4: #3 Samford 22, #6 Western Carolina 3 (7 inn.)

May 27 (Friday)

SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+) 
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 5: #1 Wofford 6, #4 UNCG 3        
Game 6: #3 Samford 13, #2 Mercer 10                   
Game 7: #4 UNCG 9, #6 Western Carolina 7          
Game 8: #2 Mercer 2, #8 The Citadel 1            

May 28 (Saturday)

SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+) 
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 9: #1 Wofford 10, #3 Samford 3               
Game 10: #4 UNCG 16, #2 Mercer 5 (8 inn.)                
Game 11: #4 UNCG 8, #3 Samford 2                   
May 29 (Sunday)

SoCon Championship presented by Holston Gases (ESPN+) 
 (Fluor Field; Greenville, S.C.)
Game 12: #4 UNCG 10, #1 Wofford 2                    
Game 13: #4 UNCG 12 vs. #1 Wofford 2 (7 inn.)