Spartans Blanked by Bucs in A-Sun Opener

Spartans Blanked by Bucs in A-Sun Opener

Contact: David Beall,

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team left nine runners on base Friday evening and ETSU used a seven-run ninth inning to cruise to an 8-0 victory over the Spartans at Harley Park in Atlantic Sun Conference action.

The Spartans (10-6, 0-1 A-Sun) drop their third consecutive game with the loss, while the Buccaneers (11-4, 1-0 A-Sun) win their second straight contest and snap a string of three straight victories by Upstate in the all-time series.

With Upstate starter Brandon Lee cruising through the first two innings and filling up the strike zone, Alex Reynolds led off the third frame and lifted the first pitch he saw deep to right field that just cleared the glove of Tyler Miller and the top of the wall for a solo home run, giving ETSU an early 1-0 lead.

The Spartans recorded their first hit of the day in the fourth inning when Jordan Stampler singled to shortstop to lead off the frame, but he was stranded at second when Brandon Patterson grounded out to end the inning.

Lee continued to cruise through the game with little effort on the mound, including a trio of strikeouts in the fifth inning, as each Buccaneer hitters went down swinging for three of the five punch outs for the senior in the game.

The Spartans found themselves in a deep hole in the sixth when ETSU loaded the bases with no outs thanks to a pair of defensive miscues, but a lineout double play and run-saving defensive web gem by Erik Samples ranging to his left kept the Bucs off the board and the lead to just a run.

Upstate looked to have the game tied up in the bottom of the sixth when Daniel Seeba lined a single to left field, sending Stampler racing around third and heading for home, but Dylan Tritsch came up firing and Stampler was tagged out the plate to end the frame.

The Spartans had chances again in the seventh and eighth innings, but Upstate hitters continued to struggle and left a pair of runners in scoring position. On the day, the Spartans stranded nine runners and were 2-for-13 at the plate with runners on base.

ETSU put the game away in the ninth, benefiting from three errors and using four hits, including a three-run blast from Clinton Freeman to plate seven runs and secure the 8-0 victory.

Lee (4-1) suffered his first loss of the year, tossing 8.1 innings and giving up seven earned runs on nine hits, while striking out five and walking one. Chris Knauff came one to finish the ninth, getting the final two outs to end the ETSU rally.

Griffin Krieg (2-0) was nearly perfect in earning his first career A-Sun victory, lasting 8.0 innings and giving up just four hits and no runs. He hurled 114 pitches and tallied one strikeout.

Game two of the series is set for Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. at Harley Park. David Roseboom (3-0) will get the call for Upstate, while Kerry Doane (3-0) is scheduled to take the mound for ETSU.

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