Courtesy: Joshua Parrott, SEBaseball.com
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
While working his way up the coaching ladder Matt Fincher spent two summers in the early 1990s as a member of the field crew for the Atlanta Braves at Fulton County Stadium.
Fincher was there in 1991 when the Braves posted the best record in baseball and won their first National League pennant in 33 years after finishing with the most losses in the majors the previous season. The following summer he worked for the Braves as they made it back to the World Series.
"It was a minimum-wage and part-time job, but it was a really neat experience being able to watch those guys," said Fincher, who served as Andrew College's interim head coach in 1997 before taking over at USC Upstate the following season. "That first summer we were thinking the Braves were terrible, but they eventually made it to the World Series because they built confidence during the year."
One particular component ties that remarkable turnaround to what's going on this season at Upstate under Fincher's watch: quality pitching.
Coming off a 19-36 season, Upstate (29-12) has won its most games since moving up to Division I in 2008 largely behind the pitching of weekend starters David Roseboom, Scott DeCecco and Brandon Lee and closer Chad Sobotka. The Spartans, eligible for Division I postseason play after a five-year transitional phase, lead the Atlantic Sun with a 13-5 record after finishing eighth last season and being picked 10th in the 2012 preseason coaches' poll.
Upstate, which is hitting only .281 as a team but has a 3.65 ERA, has won seven straight games but was off this past week to take final exams.
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