FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team returns to action Wednesday evening, welcoming UNC Asheville to town for a 6 p.m. meeting at Harley Park.
- The Spartans will take on the Bulldogs for just the fourth time in the Division I era. Upstate won each of the previous three meetings, picking up wins at home and on the road in 2010 and earning another win at Harley Park in 2008.
- The Spartans started the year winning eight of their first 10 games, but have come out on top in just five of eight games since.
- Upstate dropped a three-game series at Harley Park last weekend for the first time since the final home series of the 2011 season when Mercer earned a three-game sweep.
- In his 16th year at the helm of the Spartans, head coach Matt Fincher has 356 career victories.
- Junior right-hander Reid Noah will make his sixth appearance of the year and first start at USC Upstate Wednesday evening after spending two seasons at Polk State Community College.
- Following a mid-week tilt with UNC Asheville, the Spartans will travel to the Sunshine State for a three-game weekend A-Sun series at Jacksonville.
- The Spartans are one of four A-Sun teams with a .300 batting average or better through the first month of the season. North Florida leads all teams at .318, while ETSU is at .307 and Upstate and FGCU are at .300.
- The Upstate offense has the fewest strikeouts of any team in the league, going down 79 times without putting the ball in play. FGCU is second with 87 punch outs and ETSU is third with 92.
- Eight of the nine teams in the A-Sun have attempted more stolen bases than Upstate, but no other club has a perfect mark. The Spartans are 14-for-14 on the season in stolen base attempts. Mercer has the most steals, swiping 26 bases in 32 chances.
- UNC Asheville has struggled as of late, dropping three of its last four games, including a 20-9 loss to ETSU, one of two common opponents between the Spartans and Bulldogs. The two squads also faced off against No. 8 Kentucky opening weekend with Asheville falling 9-2 and Upstate dropping an 11-10 heartbreaker to the Wildcats.
- The Bulldogs have been outscored by 36 runs this season, including by 27 runs over the first three innings.
- Asheville is 1-7 in road games this year and 0-10 when trailing after seven innings
WHO'S HOT: With injuries and illnesses forcing the Upstate coaching staff to put together a makeshift infield last week, Daniel Seeba played three flawless games at first base and led the team with a .417 batting average and .562 on base percentage. He recorded a pair of multi-hit contests including a 2-for-2 game with a pair of walks at No. 5 South Carolina. Seeba currently has a .333 batting average on the year with 15 hits and seven runs scored.
FINCHER-ISMS: ETSU Saturday Postgame: "That was a much better job today with the bats. It seemed like batting practice was more purposeful today and I think they understand we didn't play very well last night so they came out and did a much better job and hopefully it carries over into tomorrow."
On Chad Sobotka Seeing his First Plate Appearance: "I know he enjoyed it and it will be a joke among the guys, but you know it's just the way it worked out and there will be other situations like that given our pitching situation and bench situation. Since Chad is the end of the game guy that we really don't want to take out it could be he is the guy that has to go up there from time to time."
STREAK IS SAFE: While Tyler Lesch saw his nine-game hitting streak come to an end March 10 against Akron, his streak of reaching base safely was extended through all four games last week and now sits at a team-high 14 games. He notched hits in three of the contests, and recorded a walk in the series opener against ETSU to extend the streak. Lesch is second on the team in runs scored with 14, while his 14 walks are tied for the team lead.
LUKE'S CANON: Luke Weber has turned into a nightmare to run against behind the plate, throwing out six of 12 base stealers this season. On March 1 against Dayton, Weber had it all working and Flyers weren't flying very far, getting gunned down in all three base stealing attempts on the day as Upstate rallied for a 4-3 victory.
SETTING THE TABLE: Jordan Stampler has been the ultimate leadoff hitter this season, coaxing 14 walks and being hit by six pitches, both categories that lead the team. He has reached safely in 16 of the 18 games, including hits in each of the last four games. His .452 on base percentage is third on the team.
BLOSSOMING ROSEBOOM: David Roseboom is one of four pitchers in the league with a perfect 4-0 record after picking up a victory over ETSU Saturday. The junior has only surrendering two extra base hits this season, which is tied for the best mark in the league among pitchers with more than 25 innings of action. He has worked out of plenty of jams along the way, issuing 15 walks and hitting 10 batters, which is tied for the most in the conference among the top 40 ERA's in the A-Sun.
PATTERSON'S PATTERN: With six multi-hit games this season, including a two-hit performance last Tuesday at South Carolina, Brandon Patterson continues to lead the team in batting average at .408, which ranks third in the conference. After opening the year with nine hits in four games, he has leveled off and become one of the most consistent hitters in the league.