Gesell’s gem for naught in 1-0 loss

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Gesell’s gem for naught in 1-0 loss

Luke Gesell (12) pitches during UNCW's season opener against St. Joseph on Feb. 15, 2019 at Brooks Field.

Luke Gesell (12) pitches during UNCW's season opener against St. Joseph on Feb. 15, 2019 at Brooks Field.

Brandon Sans/The Seahawk

Luke Gesell (12) pitches during UNCW's season opener against St. Joseph on Feb. 15, 2019 at Brooks Field.

Brandon Sans/The Seahawk

Brandon Sans/The Seahawk

Luke Gesell (12) pitches during UNCW's season opener against St. Joseph on Feb. 15, 2019 at Brooks Field.

Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

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UNC Wilmington dropped their opening game of the Hughes Brothers Challenge Friday afternoon at Brooks Field to Indiana State by a final of 1-0.

Junior Luke Gesell took the mound for his second start of 2019 and once again performed at an ace-like level. Gesell went 6.2 innings, striking out seven Indiana St. (4-0) batters, allowing an unearned run and giving up two hits over 68 pitches. Gesell still hasn’t given up an earned run in his 11.2 innings to start 2019.

“It’s what I worked for,” said on Gesell on how he has envisioned his first two starts of 2019 going. “It’s good to be able to help lead this staff and come together and be the guy that leads this staff to one of the best in the country.”

The unearned run Gesell gave up came in the fourth inning after an error from UNCW’s Adam Smith allowed Indiana St. senior Jarrod Watkins to reach second base. After a sacrifice bunt, designated hitter Joe Boyle hit a sacrifice fly to right field which allowed Watkins to score the only run of the game.

“I feel like I came out with the right mentality,” said Gesell on how he feels coming out of his start Friday. “We had good reports on them and the defense played well behind us. I feel like I did my job tonight.”

The offense continued to struggle as they managed to go 0-15 with runners in scoring position. The Seahawks (3-3) had plenty of opportunities to tie the game throughout the course of the five and a half innings they trailed.

The best opportunity came in the bottom of the eighth inning for UNCW. An error and two walks loaded the bases for freshman Brooks Baldwin who struck out after working into a 3-1 count.

“I was looking for a fastball and I wasn’t just trying to do too much with it,” said Baldwin on his eighth-inning at-bat. “I got a couple of pitches to hit but I just need to do a better job putting the ball in play.”

In the ninth inning, Chris Thorburn started the inning off the way the Seahawks needed with a single into center field. However, after getting to third base, the Seahawks were not able to drive him in as Matt Suggs struck out to end the game with Thorburn standing at third.

Stat of the Day: With the Seahawks falling behind to Indiana State in the fourth inning, UNCW has now gone all six games so far in 2019 without scoring the first run of the game. Greg Jones also extended his current hit streak to five games with his double in the third inning.

Quote of the Day: “The difference in the ballgame was we drop a pop up with no outs and they are able to sac that runner to third and they get a sac fly to score a run and they drop a pop up with one out and we get to second. Unfortunately, we didn’t get that big knock behind that to drive that run in.” -Head Baseball Coach Mark Scalf