Spartans Take Flight Against Eagles in Pivotal A-Sun Series

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

Game Notes | @UPSTBSB

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – After a pair of mid-week road contests, the USC Upstate baseball team continues their longest road swing of the season this weekend with a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series at FGCU.

The series opener in Fort Myers, Fla., is slated for Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Swanson Stadium, followed by a 2 p.m. first pitch Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday. Live in-game statistics will be available for all three games by clicking here.

Leading Off

  • Currently on a stretch of six straight games away from home, Upstate split a pair of mid-week games, falling 5-4 at UNC Asheville and blanking cross-town rival Wofford 12-0.
  • The Spartans produced their biggest margin of victory since their season-opener Wednesday with a 12-0 shutout against the Terriers. Upstate used a 17-run victory in a 23-6 win against Niagara to open the year.
  • The Spartans are slated to send their dominate trio of weekend starters to the hill against FGCU, with Brandon Lee (6-3) getting the call Friday, followed by David Roseboom (5-2) Saturday and Gaither Bumgardner (4-1) Sunday.
  • Following a three-game series in the Sunshine State, Upstate will travel to Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., next Tuesday for a neutral site date with Furman. The Spartans will then return home to host Gardner-Webb Wednesday before No. 24 Mercer comes calling over the weekend.

Quick Hits

  • For two teams picked at the top of the league in the preseason poll, FGCU and Upstate are currently fifth and eighth in the A-Sun standings respectively.
  • With five position players hitting over .300, the Spartans have a .290 team batting average and rank fourth in the league, sitting just ahead of FGCU (.285).
  • The Spartan offense continues to lead the A-Sun with the fewest strikeouts, going down just 183 times in 38 games. FGCU is tied for third in the league with 195 total strikeouts.
  • Friday's pitching matchup is scheduled to send a pair of six-game winners to the hill with Brandon Lee (6-3) and Preseason Pitcher of the Year Ricky Knapp (6-2) looking to set the tone for the series. Lee is second in the conference with 51 strikeouts, while Knapp is third in the A-Sun with a 1.88 ERA.
  • After losing just eight of its first 28 games, FGCU has dropped a season-high five consecutive contests, falling to FIU and No. 19 Florida in mid-week action and getting swept last weekend by No. 24 Mercer.

WHO'S HOT: After suffering three consecutive losses, Brandon Lee is back on track with back-to-back series-opening victories against Lipscomb and Stetson. His six wins lead the team, while his 3.15 ERA is the lowest among starting pitchers on the squad. Lee has pitched into the eighth inning in each of his last five starts and has walked just five batters in 68.2 innings of work, while his 51 strikeouts are second best in the conference.

BUMGARDNER IS BACK: A 1-for-5 performance against Wofford Wednesday broke a string of five consecutive multi-hit games for Gaither Bumgardner. The senior has raised his average 68 points since the start of conference play and sits second on the team with a .322 batting average. His 15 multi-hit games lead the team, while his current streak of 15 straight games reaching base is his longest of the season.

SHUTDOWN SOBOTKA: had Sobotka has been stifling on the mound over his last 10 appearances, tossing 12.2 innings and giving up just six hits and one earned run. He has 14 strikeouts and four saves during the 10-game span, while only allowing one extra base.

GO-TO GREER: Brody Greer has turned into one of the most consistent bats in the lineup for the Spartans with his .304 batting average and .378 on base percentage. His current seven-game hitting streak is the longest active streak on the team, dating back to a 1-for-3 performance against Davidson on April 9. Since then, Greer has nine hits in seven games including a double in each of the last two contests.

RICHARDSON'S POWER NUMBERS: Trey Richardson continues to produce some of the best power numbers in the league, including his seventh home run of the season Wednesday at Wofford. That two-run line drive home run to left field put him one long ball off the league pace, while his 12 doubles are the fourth most in the conference.

LUKE'S CANON: Luke Weber has turned into a nightmare to run against behind the plate, throwing out 11 of 25 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.

CHRIS COX WEDNESDAY POSTGAME QUOTES: "Starting with the Charlotte game, I've had a different mindset," Cox said. "It's my senior year. I'm starting to come into my own here. Wes (Wrenn, pitching coach) has helped me out a lot and Coach Fincher has given me a chance. I'm just glad to have the opportunity to give our team a chance to win. I wanted to go right at guys and if they hit me, they hit me. Last time out, they hit me. Two weeks ago, they didn't. Nothing was different."

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