Owls Topple Spartans 4-2 in Series Opener

Owls Topple Spartans 4-2 in Series Opener

Contact: David Beall,

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KENNESAW, Ga. – The USC Upstate baseball team held an early lead against one of the best starting pitchers in the country Friday evening, but a three-run third inning propelled Kennesaw State University to a 4-2 victory at Stillwell Stadium in Atlantic Sun Conference action.

The Spartans (25-23, 8-14 A-Sun) continue their recent struggles in conference play and have now lost four straight league games and eight of their last nine in A-Sun play. With the win, the Owls (24-25, 11-11) improve to 9-6 against Upstate in the all-time series since both programs moved to the Division I level.

Going up against one of the top starting pitchers in the country in Stephen Janas, the Spartans jumped on the Owl ace in the opening frame, using back-to-back singles, a walk and a sacrifice fly from Brody Greer to give Upstate an early 1-0 lead.

The Spartans held that one-run lead until the last of the third inning when Chris McGowan lined a two-run double over the third base bag, and Max Pentecost followed with a sacrifice fly to give Kennesaw State its first lead of the day at 3-1.

After the Owls added a run in the sixth, Upstate struck in the top of the seventh and quickly got the run back on a throwing error to plate Daniel Seeba and make it a 4-2 game. The Spartans had a chance to pull even with runners on second and third and just one out, but KSU got out of the jam to cling to its two-run lead and pick up the victory.

Janas (8-0) entered the contest with the lowest earned run average (0.75) of any starting pitcher in the country and lasted 6.0 innings. He gave up one earned run and tallied five strikeouts to stay unbeaten on the year. Brandon Lee (6-5) suffered the loss in 7.0 innings of work. He allowed 10 hits and four runs, while adding five strikeouts.

Greer extended his hitting streak to 17 games with a sixth-inning single, while Luke Weber and Gaither Bumgardner both recorded base knocks to send their hit-streaks to nine games.

Game two of the three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series with the Owls is slated for Saturday afternoon at Stillwell Stadium. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.

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