SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Tyler Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.) scored what proved to be the game-winning run as the USC Upstate Baseball team defeated visiting Albany, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at Harley Park.
At 8-1 on the year, the Spartans are off to their best start of the D-I era and the last time Upstate posted eight or more wins this early in the season was 2007 (8-2).
"The success of the team obviously starts with our pitching staff," said head coach Matt Fincher. "Grant Rembert has done an outstanding job of recruiting quality players and Dusty Blake has done a great job with our pitching staff. I am thrilled that our pitching staff is able to keep us in games and it sure makes it a lot more fun for everyone involved in the program. We are hopeful our hitters will continue to improve because we have a good baseball team this year."
Albany (0-5) had just one base runner during the first four innings, but the Spartans were unable to capitalize as they stranded five runners on base. Four of the five stranded Spartans were in scoring position.
The Great Danes ended starter David Roseboom's (Pattersonville, N.Y.) no-hit bid in the fifth when Greg Muller singled to left with one out. After Brian Bullard was hit by a pitch, Joey Tracy delivered a RBI double down the right field line as Muller scored the first run of the contest. Albany pushed the lead to 2-0 when D.J. Hoagboon delivered a RBI groundout as Bullard scored the second and final run of the contest for the Great Danes.
Upstate finally cracked the scoring column in the sixth as the team plated three runs to take a 3-2 lead after six. With just one out and runners on first and second, Albany made its first pitching change of the inning as Cameron Sorgie replaced starter Sean Lucas.
Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla.) drew a bases loaded walk as Trey Richardson (Lakeland, Fla.) scored the first run of the game for the Spartans. Sorgie, who walked the first two batters he faced on just eight pitches, was relieved by Austin Chase.
With the bases still loaded and Jordan Stampler (Davie, Fla.) standing at the plate and a 2-2 count, Chase's offering bounced in the dirt allowing Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C.) to score, while Liput and Miller advanced to second and third, respectively. Stampler was able to reach on a fielding error by third baseman Joey Tracy and Miller scored from third to give the Spartans the 3-2 advantage.
Roseboom returned for the seventh inning and the sophomore southpaw retired the final three Albany batters he faced.
After Chris Cox (Simpsonville, S.C.) tossed a perfect eighth inning, the Spartans went back on the attack in the home half of the eighth.
With two outs, Miller doubled down the line in left, while Austin Liput walked. Stampler singled to the gap in right center and was able to reach second thanks to a fielding error by right fielder Pete DiResta. Miller scored his second run of the contest, while the error allowed Liput to score all the way from first.
Chad Sobotka (Sarasota, Fla.) relived Cox to start the ninth and the Spartan closer retired the Great Danes in order (two strikeouts) as he recorded his fourth save in a nine-day span.
Roseboom, who made his third start of the season Saturday, allowed two runs on two hits with six strikeouts. During his seven-inning outing, he tossed 101 pitches (68 strikes).
"I thought David did a great job today of mixing his pitches and he was in command today," added Fincher. "Albany got the one double down the line and the kid did a good job with it. Their big hit happened to come with runners on base, but other than that David did a great job today."
Albany reliever Cameron Sorgie took the loss and falls to 0-1 on the season.
Upstate was led at the plate by Tyler Cook's (Bloomington, Ill) 2-for-4 effort. Meanwhile, Stampler drove in a pair of runs and Miller scored twice.
Albany tallied just two hits on the afternoon (Muller; Tracy), both of which came in the fifth inning.
The Spartans will return to action tomorrow when they host Air Force at Harley Park (1 p.m.).