April 16, 2010
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - For the third straight game, the USC Upstate baseball team came-from-behind to post a tough victory on Friday night at Harley Park. And for the third straight game, it was senior Tyler Oliver (Lawrenceville, Ga./Collins Hill) that was the last man to stand on the mound for Upstate, as he pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his third save of the season and clinch a 6-5 win over Campbell in the opening game of an Atlantic Sun Conference series.
The Spartans' bullpen stranded five Camels' on the base paths in the last three innings. Freshman Bobby Jackson (Gaffney, S.C./Gaffney) threw two scoreless innings of relief, scattering three hits in just his third career appearance, but using two strikeouts to hold the lead and get out of the frame. In the ninth, it was Oliver, making his 75th career appearance, working around a leadoff hit to earn his second save in as many games. He earned the win in Tuesday's 11-10 win over the College of Charleston.
Down 5-4 in the sixth inning, Upstate rallied with a pair of runs, thanks to loading the bases with no outs. Junior Blake Green (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) led off with a single through the right side and freshman Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C./Great Falls) followed by singling past a drawn-in third baseman looking for the bunt. Senior Brian Dempsey (Montverde, Fla./East Ridge) also singled with a high chopper over the third baseman's head and junior Joe Barnes (Lake Orion, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.) followed with a sac fly to tie the game. After senior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill) was intentionally walked to load the bases, freshman Trey Richardson (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) drew a four-pitch walk to drive in Bumgardner.
Upstate's outfield was able to keep it in the game, making a series of dazzling plays, with sophomore Tyler Cook (Bloomington, Ill./University) making a diving catch on a low liner in the third inning with a runner on first to end the inning. With runners on first and third in the sixth inning, it was Dempsey's turn, as he slammed into the fence on the right side of the field to haul in a foul ball to end the frame.
Upstate got on the scoreboard in their first at bat, as Dempsey doubled to deep left center and took third on an infield single by Branes. Tanner followed with a single into right center to drive in Dempsey and move Barnes to third, where he scored on a single through the right side by Richardson.
Richardson tacked on another run for the Spartans in the third inning, as he homered over the right-center field wall for his first career bomb, giving Upstate a 3-0 lead.
The Camels broke through with a single run in the fourth inning, as Alex Aycoth scored on a double down the right field line by Josh Holskey. Upstate retook the three-run lead in the bottom of the inning by manufacturing a run, as Bumgardner bounced a ball through the middle to lead off. He took second on a sac bunt, moved to third on a grounder to the right side and Tanner followed with a bloop single into right center to score the run.
Campbell took the lead in the fifth inning thanks to four runs on four hits and an error, with a two-RBI double from Zach Johnson highlighting the inning.
Richardson led the Spartans with three hits, three RBI and his first career homer. Freshman Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path), Tanner, Bumgardner and Dempsey each had two hits for Upstate, with Bumgardner scoring twice and Tanner posting two RBI in Upstate's 15-hit attack.
Campbell also posted 15 hits, leaving 11 runners stranded in the game, as Aycoth led the Camels by going 4-for-5 with two runs and Zach Johnson, Holskey, D.J. Johnson, Kevin Nelson and Chris Bangi each had two hits, with Zach Johnson adding two RBI.
Senior Matt Branham (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) (3-3) earned the win for the Spartans, as he tossed six innings, allowing 11 hits and three earned runs. He struck out four to give him 58 on the season as he won his second career game against the Camels.
Logan Davis (4-3) took the loss for Campbell, allowing 12 hits and six runs in five-plus innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Upstate and Campbell wrap up their A-Sun series with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday. Doug Keelan '87, who holds the single-season school-record after hitting .457 in 1986 to earn All-American honors, will be on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch.