UNCG Throws No-Hitter In Coach Billy Godwin's Return Following Health Scare
GREENSBORO, N.C. - UNC Greensboro got two pieces of good news on Saturday afternoon.
On the field, the Spartans swept a doubleheader against Fairfield, 1-0 and 6-2, and threw a combined no-hitter in the first game. But more importantly, in the dugout, coach Billy Godwin was back in uniform and leading his team.
Last weekend, Godwin suffered a mild stroke while the team was on the road in Conway, S.C., and was not coaching during UNCG’s Sunday win against San Diego State at Coastal Carolina’s Brittain Resorts Baseball At The Beach Tournament. He was also not in the dugout for a Tuesday game against Wake Forest that was suspended due to poor weather.
Needless to say, he was happy to be back doing what he’s been doing for nearly 30 years.
“It was good to be around our kids, I mean, that’s why you’re in coaching,” Godwin said. “They came out today and played well. It was a long day. It was just good to do what I do.”
Godwin, as any coach would be, was itching to get a chance to join his team again. He began the week taking it one day at a time, but felt good as the week wore on and felt ready to get back in the dugout against Fairfield, even in a limited role.
“I really didn’t know until yesterday what I would do,” Godwin said. “I came out and I hung out at practice and I felt good. I had a different role today. I wasn't calling pitches, just more or less facilitating the bullpen and helping where I could, so it was a little different role because I’ve got guys I trust.”
Just being back in uniform would have been enough reason for Godwin to celebrate, but his team gave him plenty of other reasons on this day.
The Spartans (4-1) ended the day with a 6-2 win in the nightcap, but the more notable result was in the opener, when lefthander Jake Lewis and reliever Austin Parsley combined to throw the first no-hitter in UNCG program history in a 1-0 walk-off win.
Lewis started the game with seven perfect innings before giving up a leadoff walk in the eighth inning. Parsley then came on in relief and retired six straight batters.
UNCG still had to push a run across to win the game, however, and did so in the bottom of the ninth. After senior Jacquez Koonce singled to lead off the inning, he came around to score on Pres Cavenaugh's one-out, walk-off single.
Lewis finished the game with five strikeouts, while Parsley picked up his first win of the season.
For Lewis and his teammates, having Godwin back was a pick-me-up.
“It was huge,” Lewis said of having him back. “We’ve all bought into what he’s done here and just everything that he’s put into this program. It’s great to see him back."
This is just the first season he and his staff have been in Greensboro, but Godwin is already pleased with how the team has responded to their leadership.
“We’ve got great kids, that’s number one,” Godwin said. “They’re accountable, they’re responsible, they work, and when you’ve got that, that speaks a lot for the previous staff’s culture they built here. When you have that, you’ve got a special thing. We hope we just try to maintain the success they’ve had and maybe take it to another level.”
With all that he’s dealt with in the last week, however, Godwin certainly isn’t taking for granted being a part of it.
“I’m very thankful,” Godwin said. “Lot of people praying for me, and I’m just blessed.”