FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The USC Upstate baseball team went up against one of the top pitchers in the country Friday evening and mustered eight hits but came up empty in the run column, falling 3-0 at Jacksonville in the opening contest of a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series
The Spartans (12-8, 1-3 A-Sun) drop their second straight weekend series opener and remain winless in road games on the year, while the Dolphins (8-14, 1-0 A-Sun) pick up their first conference victory of the season and improve to 7-10 at John Sessions Stadium.
After four and a half scoreless innings, Jacksonville finally broke through in the last of the fifth with a two-out single up the middle by Ethan Loosen to bring Brady North racing to the plate and give the Dolphins the first run of the game.
The Spartans mounted a rally in the sixth, using a pair of singles from Gaither Bumgardner and Brandon Patterson, but back-to-back strikeouts ended the threat as Upstate stranded runners on second and third.
Jacksonville continued its offensive surge in the seventh, using three consecutive hits to double its lead, before a suicide squeeze sent Kris Molter diving in safely under the tag at home to give the Dolphins a 3-0 lead heading to the eighth.
The Spartans put a pair of runners on in the ninth and brought the tying run to the plate, but back-to-back sliding catches by right fielder Josh Baker sealed the contest and gave the Dolphins a 3-0 game-one victory.
Brandon Lee (4-2) was the tough-luck loser, tossing 8.0 innings and giving up three runs on eight hits, while striking out five and walking one. Chris Anderson (4-1) continued to roll for Jacksonville, lasting 8.1 innings and recording 10 strikeouts and allowing eight hits, but no runs.
The Spartans and Dolphins will play game two of the three-game series Saturday afternoon with first pitch schedule for 2 p.m. Jacksonville's Zach Gordon and Upstate's David Roseboom are set to toe the rubber for their respective clubs.