March 6, 2013

Spartans Struggle at the Plate in 4-1 Loss at Gardner-Webb

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall,
 dbeall@uscupstate.edu

Box Score (PDF) | Play-by-play

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team left 13 runners on base Wednesday evening and Gardner-Webb capitalized on three early unearned runs to cruise to a 4-1 victory over the Spartans at Moss Stadium in non-conference action.

The Spartans (8-3) drop their second consecutive mid-week contest and fall to 0-2 in road games with the loss, while the Runnin' Bulldogs (8-3-1) get back on track after in extra innings defeat at UNC Wilmington over the weekend.

After both pitchers faced the minimum over the first two innings, Gardner-Webb broke through in the third inning with some help from the Upstate defense, benefiting from a crucial error to plate a trio of runs and take a commanding 3-0 third-inning lead.

Upstate had all kinds of chances to score early, loading the bases in the third and again in the fourth, but the Spartans came up empty on both occasions in their attempt to score their first run of the day.

The Upstate offense stranded two more runners in the fifth frame and loaded the bases once again in the seventh with one out, but back-to-back fielder's choices turned the Spartans away empty.

The Spartans finally broke through in the eighth when A.J. Mackey grounded out to bring Brandon Patterson home from third, but Gardner-Webb got the run right back in the bottom half of the frame to pick up the 4-1 victory.

Chris Cox (1-1) was the tough-luck loser, going 3.0 innings and giving up three unearned runs on four hits. Erik Samples tossed 3.0 innings in relief, allowing just one hit and striking out three.

Tyler Lesch used a bunt single in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to seven games, one of six Upstate hits in the contest. Lesch also coaxed three of the six walks for the Spartans in the game.

Upstate will look to get back on track this weekend, welcoming Akron to town for a three-game weekend series at Harley Park. First pitch against the Zips is slated for 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Follow Upstate baseball all season long on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.