FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, email@example.com
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team saw their weekend perfection come to an end Sunday afternoon, falling 6-4 to Akron University as the Zips salvaged the series finale at Harley Park in non-conference action.
The Spartans (10-4) came up short in a bid to capture a third consecutive three-game weekend sweep, while the Zips (1-11) head home after picking their first victory of the year.
For the third straight day, Akron made the first move when they jumped all over Upstate starting pitcher Ben Augenstein in the opening frame, launching a leadoff solo home run off the right-hander and following two batters later with a two-run blast to cap a three-run first inning.
The Spartans continued their early-inning flourish in the bottom half of the opening frame when Jordan Stampler led off and was hit by a pitch and Tyler Lesch walked to set up a sacrifice bunt from Gaither Bumgardner to move both runners into scoring position. Luke Weber promptly stepped to the plate and lined a single through the left side to plate a pair of runs, cutting the Akron lead to 3-2 and giving Upstate its ninth and 10th first-inning runs on the year.
Both pitchers settled in from there and tossed zeros up on the board until the sixth inning when the Akron bats came alive and plated three more run, this time all unearned to give the Zips a commanding 6-2 advantage.
Akron starting pitcher John Pusateri was nearly untouchable after the first inning, striking out seven in 5.2 innings of work, but the Spartans had their chances, loading the bases in the third and sixth innings but coming away empty.
Upstate mounted one last rally in the ninth, scoring a run on a wild pitch and an error to put the tying run aboard, but Trey Richardson lined a grounder over the third base bag that was snagged and turned into a game-ending double play.
Augenstein (1-1) suffered the loss for the Spartans, giving up three earned runs on five hits, while striking out six in 5.1 innings of work. The Upstate bullpen combined for 3.2 innings, allowing four hits and two unearned runs.
The Spartans return to action Tuesday evening, traveling to No. 6 South Carolina for a showdown with the Gamecocks. First pitch at Carolina Stadium is set for 7 p.m. as Upstate looks for its first road win over the year and first Division I win over a top-10 team in the country.