March 29, 2013

Spartans Rally in Middle Innings to Nip Norse 5-4

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall,
 dbeall@uscupstate.edu

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SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team came from behind Thursday evening at Harley Park, scoring a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth innings to take down Northern Kentucky University 5-4 in game two of a three-game series in Atlantic Sun Conference action.

The Spartans (14-11, 3-5 A-Sun) get back on track and even the series at a game apiece, while the Norse (3-23, 1-4 A-Sun) come up short in a bid for consecutive wins for the first time this season.

For the second straight day, Northern Kentucky jumped on top first, scoring a run in the fourth frame when Brett Cisper stole third and came around to score on a throwing error to give the Norse an early advantage.

Upstate turned into a doubles machine in bottom of the fourth, as Trey Richardson led off and doubled to left field and Brandon Patterson followed and guided a double down the right field line to knot the score at 1-1.

The Northern Kentucky bats stayed hot in the fifth, scoring two more runs to retake the lead, but once again in the bottom half of the frame the Spartans answered the call. Lesch lined a one-out double inside the third base bag to put runners on the corners and Richardson grounded out to bring home the first run of the inning. With two outs and a runner on third, Patterson had another chance to tie the game and he did just that, lining a single through the left side to deadlock the score once again at 3-3.

Upstate benefited from a trio of sixth-inning Norse errors and plated two runs to take its first lead of the day at 5-3. Gaither Bumgardner recorded the only RBI of the inning with a two-out single through the right side to plate Brody Greer and cap the decisive frame.

The Norse put together a monumental rally in the seventh inning, loading the bases and scoring on a walk to cut the Upstate lead to just a run, but the Spartans turned to their closer to shut down Northern Kentucky. Chad Sobotka entered the game with the bases jammed and one out and went to work, striking out Brad Clement and forcing a fly out to right field by Cisper to end the inning.

Sobotka continued his perfection over the next two innings, not allowing a hit and striking out five to slam the door and collect his fourth save of the season. He saved it for starter David Roseboom (5-1) who tossed 6.1 innings and gave up four runs on six hits, while striking out nine and walking three.

The Spartans and Norse will play the rubber game of the series Saturday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1 p.m. at Harley Park. Bumgardner (2-0) is set to take the hill for Upstate, while Blake Bagshaw (0-4) will start the series finale for Northern Kentucky.  

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