Spartans Down Dolphins to Earn Series Win
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team scored four runs in the third inning en route to a 4-2 victory over Jacksonville Saturday afternoon at Harley Park.
Jacksonville (14-27, 4-10 Atlantic Sun) scored the game's first run in the top of the second inning. With runners on second and third and just one out, Garrett Ruckel delivered a sacrifice fly to center allowing Jake Huxtable to score from third.
Dolphin starter Alex McRae retired the first eight batters he faced, but ran into trouble with two outs in the third. McRae walked three consecutive batters, allowing the Spartans (28-12, 12-5) to load the bases with two outs. Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla.) stepped into the batter's box and hit a grounder to short, but thanks to a pair of throwing errors, Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C.), Jordan Stampler (Davie, Fla.), Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C.) and Liput were all able to score.
Jacksonville shortstop, Ethan Loosen threw the ball at the feet of first baseman, Adam Brett Walker and the ball bounced away. Walker, after retrieving the ball, threw the ball into the Spartan dugout when trying to throw out Bumgardner at the plate. Walker's error allowed Liput to score the fourth run of the inning.
The Dolphins closed the gap to two runs, 4-2, as Jake Huxtable scored his second run of the game in the fourth. Huxtable led off the inning with a double to right center and came around to score on Garrett Ruckel's RBI double with two outs.
Upstate registered its lone hit of the contest in the bottom of the fifth inning when Stampler delivered a one-out single through the left side.
Spartan starter Scott DeCecco (Cape May Courthouse, N.J.) tossed 93 pitches as he reached the seventh inning before exiting the game. DeCecco allowed a leadoff single in the seventh, before registering a strikeout of Zachary Houck. DeCecco's finished with two earned runs on eight hits with two walks and five strikeouts in 6.1 innings.
DeCecco was relieved by Andrew Wyant (Newton, N.C.) and Wyant quickly escaped trouble in the seventh. The Spartans caught Jonathon Murphy in a run down and Adam Brett Walker grounded out to end the inning.
Wyant tossed a scoreless eighth to complete his Saturday with 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball. Chad Sobotka (Sarasota, Fla.) made his way to the mound for the ninth and despite surrendering two walks, Sobotka picked up his 10th save of the season. The rookie, who struck out a pair, is now just two saves shy of tying the single-season school record of 12 saves (Bradley Blanks, 2006).
Alex McRae (3-5) took the loss for the Dolphins despite allowing just one hit and four unearned runs with four walks and six strikeouts in 7.1 innings of work. Jake Huxtable led the Dolphins at the plate with a 3-for-4 effort and two runs.
Upstate and Jacksonville will meet in the series finale tomorrow with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. Right-hander Brandon Lee (Palatka, Fla.) is the projected starter for the Spartans Sunday and the junior owns a 5-3 record with a 3.53 ERA in 58.2 innings on the hill.