Spartans Strand 14 in Home Loss to Gardner-Webb
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Five different Spartans collected two hits on Wednesday night but it was not enough as Gardner-Webb claimed an 8-5 win at Harley Park.
The two teams traded blows over the first three innings before the Runnin' Bulldogs (18-7-1) pushed ahead for good in the fourth.
Gardner-Webb took an early 1-0 advantage when Jake Watts delivered a RBI groundout in the top of the first inning.
USC Upstate (11-20) answered right back with a single run in the bottom of the first. Luke Weber (Spartanburg, S.C.) hit a double down the left field line allowing Trey Richardson (Lakeland, Fla.) to easily score from second base.
Gardner-Webb tacked on another run in the top of the second when Danny Yelverton drove in Zeke Blanton with a double to left.
The Spartans again tied the game with a run of their own in the home half of the second. The second Spartan run of the game came when Anthony Vacca (Fonthill, Ontario) homered to right. Vacca's homer was the first of his career.
The Runnin' Bulldogs used a three-run third to take a 5-2 lead in the middle of the third inning. The inning was capped by Adam McFarland's pinch-hit two-run home run over the right center field wall.
The Spartans answered with a three-spot of their own in the bottom of the third to notch the game at 5-5. Richardson opened the inning with a single to left and was followed by Austin Liput's (Oviedo, Fla.) RBI triple to the gap in right center. After Weber reached on a fielder's choice, Dillon Way (Orangeburg, S.C.) singled up the middle allowing Liput to trot home from third base. After a sacrifice bunt by Tyler Cook (Bloomington, Ill.), Vacca fouled out to right field, but Weber was able to score and tie the game at five.
In the fourth, Gardner-Webb scored a single run when Jake Watts singled up the middle, allowing Daniel Merck to score and put Gardner-Webb in front 6-5. Merck's run proved to be the game-winner as the Spartans went scoreless over the final six innings of Wednesday night's contest.
The Runnin' Bulldogs added a single run in the eighth and ninth innings to set the final tally at 8-5 and claim a season sweep of the Spartans.
Brock Wilson earned his third win of the season after pitching 2.1 innings of relief and giving up just two hits. Adam Izokovic earned his fourth save of the campaign after pitching the final frame, allowing two hits and a walk with a strikeout.
The loss was credited to Jordan Rusk (Longwood, Fla.) and he now owns a season record of 1-3. The sophomore pitched 5.1 innings of relief allowing two runs on five hits with a pair of walks and five punch outs.
Richardson, Liput, Weber, Cook and Tyler Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.) collected two hits each on Wednesday evening. Richardson also scored two runs to lead the Spartans.
The Spartans will continue a five-game homestand when they welcome Atlantic Sun foe Belmont to Harley Park for a three-game series this weekend. Friday's game will begin at 6:00 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m.