February 22, 2012

Baseball Routs Furman, 17-3

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Highlighted by Gaither Bumgardner's (Fort Lawn, S.C.) 4-for-5 effort, five RBI and three runs, the USC Upstate baseball team scored 17 runs on 19 hits as the club downed Furman Wednesday afternoon at Harley Park.

Upstate (3-1) sent rookie David Palladino (Emerson, N.J.) to the mound Wednesday and the 6-9 right-hander struggled early before finding his groove in the pre-determined short outing.  After a double by Will Muzika gave the Paladins runners on second and third with just one out in the top of the first, Alex Abrams drove in both Muzika and Will Miller with a double to the gap in right center.

The Spartans responded with two runs of their own in the home half of the first.  After Bumgardner singled with two outs, Spartanburg native Luke Weber sent a 1-2 offering from Tyler Wood over the wall in left field to tie the contest at two.

Upstate took the lead for the first time in the game when Dillon Way (Orangeburg, S.C.) drew a bases loaded walk with two outs in the second inning.  With the bases still loaded, Bumgardner drove in Lee Dunnam (Maitland, Fla.) and Jordan Stampler (Davie, Fla.) to push the Spartan lead to three at 5-2.  Bumgardner was tagged out to end the inning as the junior tried to stretch a single into a double.

Furman (2-3) scored its third and final run of the contest in the top of third inning when Muzika scored on a wild pitch.

Upstate tacked on a single run in the bottom of the third as Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla.) hit a sacrifice fly to left allowing Weber to score.

In the bottom of the fourth, Bumgardner delivered an RBI single, while Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C.) drew a bases loaded walk to put the Spartans in front, 8-3.

Upstate sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the fifth as Upstate tallied nine runs (six unearned) to take a 14-run lead (17-3).  The inning was highlighted by a Liput two-run home run and a two-RBI double by Stampler to the gap in right center.

The two teams posted zeros on the scoreboard the rest of the contest to set the final tally at 17-3.

Palladino earned the victory, the first of his collegiate career, after pitching four complete innings in the short outing.  He allowed three runs on four hits while fanning seven Paladin batters.

Chris Knauff (Marietta, Ga.), Ben Augenstein Sebastian, Fla.), Jordan Rusk (Longwood, Fla.) and Chad Sobotka (Sarasota, Fla.) pitched the final five innings of Wednesday's contest.  The quartet combined to allow just one hit and one walk while tallying eight punch outs (Knauff, 2; Augenstein,1; Rusk, 2; Sobotka, 3).

Tyler Wood took the loss for Furman and he falls to 0-1 on the season.  He pitched just 1.2 innings, allowing five runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.

Aside from Bumgardner's solid effort, the Spartans were also paced by Stampler (2-for-3, four runs, two RBI), Way (2-for-3, one RBI, one run), Weber (2-for-3, three RBI, two runs), Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.; two hits, one RBI, one run), Liput (three RBI), Tyler Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.; two hits, one run) and Dunnam (two hits, three runs).

The Spartans will return to action this weekend when they host Eastern Kentucky for a three-game series beginning Friday at 4 p.m.