PANTHERSVILLE, Ga. – For the second consecutive night, USC Upstate junior Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C.) posted a 5-for-5 effort at the plate while tallying six RBI and two runs as the Spartans downed Georgia State, 15-3, Wednesday night at the GSU Baseball Complex. With the win, the Spartans improve to 4-0 all-time against the Panthers.
The Spartans picked up their 30th win of the season for the first time in the D-I era and it is first occurrence since the 2007 season (34 wins). It is just the eighth time Upstate has recorded 30 or more wins in a single season, with the 36 wins in 1987 still standing as the school-record. Meanwhile, Georgia State fell to 19-26 on the year.
Upstate starter Ben Augenstein (Sebastian, Fla.) improved to 3-1 after scattering six hits and three runs (all unearned) during the course of his 6.2 innings of work. He walked just one batter and registered a career-best five strikeouts.
With one out in the top of the first Bumgardner was hit by a Connor Stanley pitch and later stole second to move into scoring position with two away. Luke Weber (Spartanburg, S.C.) drove in Bumgardner with a double that bounced down the left field line after a diving Drew Shields was unable to make a play.
After Augenstein struck out the first two batters he faced, Brandon Williams broke through with a single to left field. After Augenstein surrendered the first hit of the game, his defense behind him committed a pair of errors. Williams stole second and advanced to third as catcher Dillon Way's (Orangeburg, S.C.) throw found its way into shallow center field.
Williams tied the game at one when he scored (unearned) on a wild pitch. After Kody Adams reached on a fielding error by Trey Richardson (Lakeland, Fla.), Jonathon Kolowich doubled to the gap in left center allowing Adams to score (unearned), giving the Panthers a 2-1 advantage after one complete inning.
Upstate loaded the bases in the second as Way singled up the middle, followed by eight straight balls by Connor Stanley, allowing Richardson and Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C.) to reach base. Jordan Stampler (Davie, Fla.) stepped into the batter's box and on a 2-1 count, grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Spartans committed their third error of the contest as Austin Liput's (Oviedo, Fla.) fielding error allowed Joey Wood to reach first. Wood advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Landon Anderson and then Wood advanced to third on a ground out by Daniel Blaustein. Wood was left stranded at third when Caden Bailey struck out to end the second.
After the Panthers made a pitching change to start the third, Caleb Gore for Connor Stanley, Bumgardner and Liput connected on back-to-back singles up the middle. Bumgardner moved to third on a fly out to center field by Weber, while Liput stole second to improve to 6-of-6 on the year in stolen base attempts. After Greg Guers (Langhorne, Pa.) drew a walk, Tyler Cook (Bloomington, Ill.) recorded a RBI (Bumgardner scored) as he was hit by a pitch.
The Panthers immediately made a call to the bullpen as Tyler Claburn replaced Gore with the bases loaded and one out in the inning. Liput gave the Spartans a 3-2 advantage as the senior crossed home plate when Way drew a bases loaded walk. Richardson followed with a RBI single to left field allowing Guers to score the third run of the inning.
After Greer struck out, Stampler was hit by a pitch as the Spartans recorded their third RBI of the inning via a free pass (Cook scored). Bumgardner then delivered a RBI single to thru the left side allowing Way to score, pushing the Spartan lead to four at 6-2. Liput grounded out to short to end the big inning for the Spartans.
Kody Adams singled to first base with two outs in the bottom of the third, but was left on base as Jonathon Kolowich popped up to third to end the inning.
Cook registered his first hit of the contest with two outs in the fourth. He was then left stranded as Way grounded out to short.
The Panthers earned a pair of free passes in the fourth as Joey Wood was hit by a pitch and Daniel Blaustein walked on four pitches. But with two outs on the scoreboard, Caden Bailey struck out looking to end the Georgia State threat.
With one out in the fifth, Greer walked and moved to third when Stampler singled with a hard hit grounder to first. Greer scored easily on Bumgardner's RBI single through the left side. The Spartans were able to only score one run, pushing the lead to 7-2, as Liput bounced into an inning-ending double play.
In the home half of the frame, Brandon Williams singled to center, but was doubled up when Kody Adams lined out to Richardson at first. Richardson was able to easily step on first to record the double play and end the fifth.
With one out in the Spartan sixth, Guers connected on his team-best fourth homer of the season. His solo homerun to right pushed the Spartan lead to six runs (8-2). Cook followed with a well placed bunt that stopped on the first base line with pitcher Travis Lee and first baseman Brandon Williams standing on top of the ball.
Way, facing a 3-2 count, walked and following an infield fly by Richardson, Greer reached on a muffed throw at first by Lee to load the bases with two outs. Stampler singled to third and registered his second RBI of the contest as Cook came around to score (unearned). Bumgardner followed with a bases-clearing double to left to tally three RBI as Way, Greer and Stampler scored, all unearned, pushing the lead to 10 runs at 12-2.
Upstate was able to hold the Panthers scoreless in the sixth as the Spartans surrendered a lead-off hit before recording a strikeout and a double play to end the inning.
Weber drew a lead-off walk to start the seventh and was able to move to third on a pair of wild pitches. With runners on the corners, Weber scored on Way's sacrifice fly to center as the Spartans increased the lead to 11 (13-2).
The Spartans committed a pair of throwing errors in the bottom of the seventh and Georgia State was able to score one run off of the Upstate miscues. After Caden Bailey scored (unearned) on a Drew Shields RBI single through the right side, the Spartans made a pitching change as Chris Knauff (Marietta, Ga.) replaced Augenstein with one on and two outs. Knauff forced Brandon Williams to fly out to right to end the inning.
Upstate recorded back-to-back walks (Stampler, Bumgardner) to start the eighth before Erik Samples (Hampton, S.C.) grabbed a bat and pinch hit for Liput. Samples flew out to left field and Weber followed with a fly out to right, allowing both base runners to advance 90 feet. Pinch hitter Lee Dunnam (Maitland, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Cook flied out center to end the Spartan eighth.
In the eighth, Knauff retired the Panthers in order, needing just six pitches to keep Georgia State off of the scoreboard.
The Spartans quickly loaded the bases in the ninth as Way and Greer walked, wrapped around a Richardson single to center. Way scored on a sac fly, foul out by Stampler, while Richardson scored on a RBI single by Bumgardner to give Upstate a 15-3 lead. The Panthers avoided further damage as Samples lined out to third and Weber flew out to center.
Knauff limited the Panthers to just one hit in the ninth as the junior southpaw closed the door on Georgia State in the ninth.
Aside from Bumgardner's five hits, the Spartans were led by Stampler (two hits, three RBI), Cook (two hits, two runs), Way (three runs, two RBI) and Richardson (two hits, one RBI).
Jonathon Kolowich and Brandon Williams led the Panthers with two hits apiece. Caleb Gore was tagged with the loss and the Georgia State reliever falls to 0-3 on the season.
The Spartans will return to action this weekend as they wrap-up a five-game road swing with a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference Set at Stetson. The series between two of the top three teams in the conference will begin Friday night at 6:30 p.m. Game two will take place Saturday at 6:30 p.m., with finale set for Sunday at 1 p.m.