Spartans Break out the Bats, Rally Past Asheville 10-8
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team used a seven-run fourth inning Wednesday evening to erase a six run deficit and pick up a 10-8 victory over UNC Asheville at Harley Park in non-conference action.
The Spartans (12-7) pick up their fourth straight victory over the Bulldogs (8-14) in the all-time series, while Asheville falls to 1-8 in road contests this season.
Trailing 7-1 heading to the last of the fourth inning, the Spartans loaded the bases with two outs and Brody Greer stepping to the dish. With Upstate hitless in its last 15 plate appearances with the bases loaded, Greer would break that streak on the sixth pitch of the at bat, lacing a single to right field to bring two runs home and open the floodgates for a massive fourth frame.
Jordan Stampler followed and walked to load the bases once again for Gaither Bumgardner who guided an 0-2 pitch through the left side to bring two more runs racing home. After an infield hit by Tyler Lesch, the bases were juiced again for Brandon Patterson who provided the big blow, a three-run double to right field to clear the bases and cap a seven-run outburst.
"I liked the seven-run inning a lot," said USC Upstate Head Coach Matt Fincher. "We were kind of dead in the water at that point and we came right back so that's a good sign."
Both offenses were quiet until the eighth inning when the Bulldogs were gifted back-to-back two-out hit batters, a walk and a wild pitch to tie the game 8-8.
With the game deadlocked for the first time since the opening inning, Upstate quickly rebounded again and pushed a pair of runs across in the bottom of the eighth on a bases loaded fielder's choice by Bumgardner to score the winning run.
After driving in the go ahead run in the eighth, Bumgardner made it stand up in the ninth, recording the final three outs to earn his first save of the season and send the Spartans to a 10-8 victory. Josh Howard (1-0) earned the win in relief for Upstate, working a scoreless inning before Upstate broke out with seven runs in the fourth.
The Spartans return to action over the weekend in their second Atlantic Sun Conference series of the year, traveling to the Sunshine State for a three-game series with Jacksonville University. The weekend opener is set for 7 p.m. against the Dolphins.