March 5, 2012

Guers, Way Lead Spartans Past Crusaders, 8-2

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) and Dillon Way (Orangeburg, S.C.) combined for five hits and five runs Monday as the USC Upstate baseball team picked up an 8-2 victory over Valparaiso at Harley Park.

After Upstate (10-1) starting pitcher Brandon Lee (Palatka, Fla.) retired the Crusaders in order, the Spartans went on the attack in the bottom of the first.

After Jordan Stampler (Davie, Fla.) and Way tallied back-to-back singles, Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C.) doubled down the right field line to give the Spartans the early 1-0 lead.  The Spartans pushed the lead to 3-0 after Luke Weber (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Guers drove in runs.  The final run of the first inning came when Guers was able to score from second base after a throwing error by Crusader third baseman, Elliot Martin.

Valparaiso (4-5) scored its only runs of the contest on a two-RBI single by Bobby Martin.  Martin's single through right side allowed Will Hagel and Elliot Martin to score, trimming the Spartan lead to 4-2.  After tallying three hits in the second inning, the Crusaders managed just three hits over the final seven innings.

The Spartans tacked on a single run in the third and fifth innings to push the lead back to four at 6-2.  Weber opened the third with a triple to the gap in left center and was able to score on a sacrifice fly by Tyler Cook (Bloomington, Ill.).  In the fifth, Cook again delivered a sacrifice fly, this time it was Guers that scored from third.

In the seventh, the Spartans score a pair of runs and set the final tally at 8-2.  With two outs and Way standing on first, Guers delivered a RBI double down the left field line.  Guers was able to score as Cook followed with a RBI single through the right side.

Lee earned the win, his second of the season, after allowing two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and one walk in seven innings on the hill.  Chris Knauff (Marietta, Ga.) tossed a scoreless eighth, while Andrew Wyant (Newton, N.C.) pitched a perfect ninth to end the contest.

Crusader starter Ben Mahar (1-1) took the loss after allowing seven hits and four runs (six total) in six innings of work.  Mahar, who tossed 110 pitches, struck out two batters and walked two.

Guers finished 3-for-4 at the plate with three runs and two RBI, while Way finished with two hits, two runs and drew a pair of walks Monday.

The Spartans will play its fourth contest in four days as they travel to Charleston, S.C., for their first road game of the season.  Upstate will face The Citadel at Joseph P. Riley Park with first pitch slated for 6 p.m.

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