FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team opened the 2013 season in record-breaking fashion Friday evening, scoring a Division I record 23 runs and pounding Niagara 23-6 at Harley Park in non-conference action.
The Spartans (1-0) were clicking on all cylinders at the plate, jumping all over the Purple Eagles (0-1) for nine runs in the first two innings and cruising to their fourth straight victory on Opening Day.
The 23 runs scored by USC Upstate are the most in the Division I era and the biggest run total since a 25-run output against Newberry during the 2006 season.
"We played well tonight," said USC Upstate Head Coach Matt Fincher. "There is a reason you play 56 games instead of just one, but it's nice to get off to a good start. Historically we have started pretty fast so hopefully we can continue that this year."
The Spartans batted around in each of the first two innings, scoring four runs in the opening frame thanks to RBI doubles from Luke Weber and Tyler Miller and a two run single through the left side by Daniel Seeba.
The second inning proved to be more of the same as Gaither Bumgardner singled home Jordan Stampler for the first run, while Robbie Morris and Trey Richardson provided run scoring base knocks to cap the five-run frame.
Richardson was an RBI machine as the game progressed, sparking a pair of six-run innings with a three-run blast to left center in the fifth frame and adding a three-run double in the seventh to cap his day with eight runs batted in.
Bumgardner was equally impressive at the plate, backing up his A-Sun Preseason Player of the Year award with a 5-for-5 performance that included three runs batted in and five runs scored. Weber ended the day with four RBI, while Seeba and Morris drove in three runs apiece.
Brandon Lee (1-0) tossed 6.0 strong innings, allowing two runs on six hits, while striking out seven. After giving up a pair of runs in the second inning, Lee settled in and retired nine of the next 11 batters he faced.
Jordan Rusk and Erik Samples each worked a scoreless inning, combining to record five strikeouts, while Reid Noah struck out the side in the ninth, giving Upstate relievers strikeouts for eight of the nine outs recorded. The Spartan pitching staff ended the contest with 15 combined strikeouts.
The Spartans will have their work cut out for them Saturday, welcoming the University of Kentucky to town for a showdown at Harley Park. The Wildcats are a perennial top 15 team in the country, including being ranked as high as No. 8 in the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll.
Corey Littrell will get the start for Kentucky, while David Roseboom will take the mound for Upstate as both lefthanders look to send their respective clubs to 2-0 on the young season. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.