The UWG Wolves Baseball team kicked off the 2022 season with a three-game sweep over the Kentucky State Thorobreds. The Wolves outscored the Thorobreds 51-4 for their series wins at Gary Woodfin Cole Field.
The season opening series began on Feb. 5 with a doubleheader with newcomer Jackson Hodnick on the mound pitching. The St. Johns River State College transfer was solid, throwing for four innings while only allowing four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts. Outfielder Edgar Cruz had the first RBI of the season with an RBI single in the second inning.
The Wolves would add two more runs in the third inning after a fielder’s choice RBI by Jonathan Logsdon followed up by an RBI single by Senior transfer Fuzzy Furr. Junior Ronny Piepmeier relieved Hodnick in the fifth inning; pitching two innings and giving up one hit, one run and four strikeouts.
The Wolves would score five runs in the fifth inning. Furr had another RBI with a double and shortstop Sam Ledher had a bases-clearing three-RBI double to cap off the fifth. The offensive explosion continued as six more runs were scored in the bottom of the sixth. Freshman pitcher Andrew Smith came into the game to pitch the final inning, allowing no hits and a strikeout giving the Wolves a 1-0 start in their first game.
Game two of the doubleheader started shortly after the conclusion of game one. Another transfer pitcher made his debut on the mound as former Tennessee Tech and Cleveland State Community College ace Jonathan Hickman took the mound. The Ringgold, Georgia pitcher was phenomenal for the Wolves, pitching five innings, allowing only three hits with one run and seven strikeouts.
Anthony Calabro, another transfer from JUCO South Georgia State, brought in the first run of the game with an RBI single driving in Brody Wortham. Fuzzy Furr then hit the first home run of the season for UWG with a solo shot in the second inning to quickly take a 2-0 lead. Entering the top of the third with a 2-0 lead, UWG would blow the doors open scoring six runs in the third and another nine runs in the fourth giving the Wolves a 17-1 lead over the reeling Thorobreds. The game would be called at the end of the top of the fifth.
Another breezy, cold day of baseball was on tap on Feb. 6 as the Wolves broke out their Sunday red uniforms. The first familiar face UWG fans got to see from last year’s team was pitcher Robert Coleman. Coleman was on the mound for his first start of the season. Coleman pitched four solid innings, allowing only one hit with no earned runs and six walks.
“I think my first outing went really well, besides all the walks. The umpire showed that it was going to be a tight zone early so I was able to adjust early. Instead of working side to side like normal, I had to work my stuff from the top of the zone to the bottom,” said Coleman after his outing. Three pitchers each threw an inning of relief with Jenson Barker, Brycen Jones, and Garrett Mishoe making their first appearances of the year.
Sunday’s offensive output began immediately as the Wolves scored seven runs in the bottom of the first inning. Sam Ledher had an RBI double to kick things off as Brody Wortham and Anthony Calabro scored. UWG led 7-0 and did not score in the second inning.
Calabro would hit his first home run of the year with a two-run shot to right-center field in the third, “It felt great honestly, trying to work up the middle and I got a pitch middle-away and I was able to hit it hard enough with enough backspin to knock it out of here,” said Calabro.
The most notable moment was preseason All-American first baseman Brody Wortham who hit a grand slam to cap off the third.
“I had a few hits Saturday and that helped me with my confidence Sunday,” said Wortham. “I saw the first hit fall and after that, I had all the confidence in the world. Saw a few backside hits and there was one I was able to turn on and knock it out of the park.”
The Wolves scored two more runs in the fourth, giving them a 17-0 lead. The UWG pitching shut down the Thorobreds as they did not score a run until the top of the fifth inning off of reliever Jenson Barker. Jackson Webb’s three-run home run in the sixth gave the Wolves an extremely comfortable and impressive 20-2 lead. Garrett Mishoe closed out the game pitching the final inning and striking out two batters.
“It feels great. One to nine we are unbelievable hitting,” said Wortham [When asked about the 51 run outburst to start the season]. We’re probably deeper hitting this year than we’ve ever been since I’ve been here. I know all our guys can swing it and I have all the confidence in the world in my guys.”
The Wolves are on the road to a three-day Florida swing on February 11, 12, and 13 against Lynn, Palm Beach Atlantic, and Nova Southeastern before returning for a home contest against Augusta on February 15. With the number of runs this team scored in the first three games, this team is entertaining and has a chance to make some noise in the Gulf South Conference.