Spartans Explode for 13 Runs and 20 Hits, Earn Doubleheader Split
KENNESAW, Ga. – For the first time since May 9, 2009, the USC Upstate baseball team tallied 20 hits in a game as it claimed a 13-9 win in the series finale on Saturday afternoon at Stillwell Stadium. Kennesaw State claimed the first game of Saturday's twinbill, 4-3.
With the doubleheader split the Spartans improve to 15-32 overall and now own an 8-14 mark in league play. Meanwhile the Owls now own a 26-21 record and a 13-10 mark in A-Sun play.
Kennesaw State 4, Upstate 3 (DH Game 1)
The Spartans rallied to tie the game with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning. Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla.) led off the ninth inning with a solo blast to right field off of KSU starter Bryan Blough. Liput's fourth home run of the game cut the deficit to just one (3-2).
Luke Weber (Spartanburg, S.C.) followed with a double to left field. Weber's 18th two-bagger of the season ended the Owls' bid for a second straight complete game as Blough exited the game after facing two batters in the ninth.
J.B. Johnson entered the game for the Owls and walked the first batter he faced, Upstate catcher Dillon Way (Orangeburg, S.C.). Way's free pass gave the Spartans runners on first and second with no outs. Tyler Miller (Fort Mill, S.C.) laid down a sacrifice bunt, allowing Way and Weber to advance to second and third, respectively.
KSU opened the ninth with a single by Sean McClurken and a walk by Bucky Smith. The Owls claimed the victory when Branden Millhouse (Summerville, S.C.) committed a throwing error on Jordan Craft's sacrifice bunt allowing McClurken to score, giving KSU the 4-3 win.
Owl reliever J.B. Johnson earned the win in relief and improved to 4-2 on the season. The loss was credited to Spartan relief pitcher Chris Knauff (Marietta, Ga.), falling to 3-2, after pitching two-plus innings giving up one run (unearned) on two hits.
The Spartans, after getting shutout on Friday night, scored the first run of the game on Saturday. Blake Green (Rock Hill, S.C.) led off with a double to right center and advance to third on Trey Richardson's (Lakeland, Fla.) ground out to second. Green was able to score on Liput's ground out to second, giving the Spartans the early 1-0 lead.
The Owls tied the game at one when Andy Chriscaden sent the first pitch of the second inning over the wall in right field.
KSU took the lead in the fifth when Bucky Smith scored on Aaron Dobbs two-out RBI single to right.
The Owls increased the lead to two runs at 3-1 when Andy Criscaden scored on Ethan Herron's double to right.
Millhouse paced the Spartans with a 2-for-2 effort at the plate, while Liput tallied two RBI, one hit and one run.
Meanwhile, the Owls were paced by Andy Chriscaden and Sean McClurken. The duo combined for four hits, three runs and one RBI.
Upstate 13, Kennesaw State 9 (DH Game 2)
In game two, Upstate totaled 20 hits for the first time since May 9, 2009, when the Spartans collected 22 hits against North Florida (L, 16-21, DH Game 1).
Upstate jumped out to a 4-1 lead after the first inning of play. Blake Green scored the first run of the contest on Zak Griffith's wild pitch. Gaither Bumgardner scored on Trey Richardson's RBI single up the middle. Grason Wiggins delivered a two-out two-RBI single to center field, allowing Luke Weber and Tyler Cook to score.
Sean McClurken scored on Andy Chriscaden's fielder's choice RBI in the bottom of the first, cutting the Spartan lead to three.
The Spartans were able to push the lead to five (6-1) when Weber singled up the middle, allowing Bumgardner and Richardson to come around to score.
KSU tacked on a single run in the bottom of the third. Ronnie Freeman homered over the wall in right center and pulling the Owls within four at 6-2.
The Spartans tacked on three more runs in the top of the fourth to take a 9-2 advantage after three and a half innings of play. KSU appeared to be out of the inning with only two runs across, but a fielding error by center fielder Bucky Smith allowed Tyler Miller and Wiggins to score, putting the Spartans ahead by seven.
In the sixth, Upstate increased its lead to 10 runs thanks to Wiggins' first career home run and a two-RBI single by Richardson, putting the Spartans in front by a score of 12-2.
The Owls began to claw their way back as they scored four runs in the home half of the sixth. The KSU sixth was highlighted by Bucky Smith's three-run home run to left center, pulling the owls within six runs (12-6).
KSU tacked on three runs in the bottom of the seventh to deficit to just three runs. Jordan Craft hit a three-run homer of the wall in left field and Upstate led 12-9 after seven complete innings.
Branden Millhouse scored on Bumgardner's fielder's choice RBI in the top of the eighth inning to set the final tally at 13-9.
Upstate starter David Roseboom (Pattersonville, N.Y.) picked up his second win of the season after tossing 5.1 innings and allowing five runs on eight hits with three punch outs. Jake Waller (Phoenixville, Pa.) earned his second save of the campaign after pitching the final 3.2 innings. Waller gave up four hits and one earned run (four total) during his 76-pitch outing. KSU starter Zak Griffith was tagged with the loss after pitching just 1.1 innings allowing six runs (four earned) on eight hits with a walk and a wild pitch.
Miller led the way with a 4-for-6 performance and a run scored. Green, Richardson, Wiggins and Millhouse each recorded three hits and combined for seven runs, while Wiggins tallied four RBI.
Jordan Craft led the Owls with a 2-for-5 effort to go along with three RBI and two runs.
The Spartans will return to action on Tuesday evening when they host cross-town rival Wofford. First pitch at Harley Park is slated for 6:00 p.m.