FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Beall, firstname.lastname@example.org
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team is looking to soar to new heights this weekend in Music City, traveling to Lipscomb University for a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series with the Bisons.
- Following a pair of mid-week wins over Presbyterian and Charlotte, the Spartans have tied their longest winning streak of the year at four games. The previous four-game win-streak came the second week of the year with a win over Presbyterian and a three-game sweep of George Washington.
- The Spartans swept a three-game series against Lipscomb last season at home, but Upstate dropped two of three in its last trip to Bison country two years ago.
- In his 16th year at the helm of the Spartans, head coach Matt Fincher has 362 victories.
- The Spartans will trot their familiar weekend rotation to the hill at Lipscomb, with Brandon Lee (4-3) taking the ball Friday, followed by David Roseboom (5-1) Saturday and Gaither Bumgardner (3-0) Sunday.
- Following a three-game weekend series in Nashville, Tenn., Upstate returns home for five straight games, taking on Davidson and Charleston Southern in mid-week action, before Stetson comes to town for another A-Sun series.
- After opening the season with five consecutive road losses, Upstate has won its only two road games since, picking up a win in the series finale at Jacksonville, and coming from behind to earn a victory at Presbyterian.
- The Spartans currently have five hitters over the .300 mark on the season, with Brandon Patterson leading the way at .418, which ranks second in the A-Sun. Tyler Lesch is on the brink at .298 on the year, while Gaither Bumgardner, the reigning A-Sun Player of the Year, follows at .278.
- Lipscomb has hit some mid-season struggles, having lost six of its last eight games and falling 10 games below the .500 mark. The Bisons lost a season-high six straight games earlier this year, dropping three straight to No. 7 Ole Miss, and single games to UT-Martin, Austin Peay and Bradley.
- LU came up short in each of its first two A-Sun series of the year, dropping two of three to North Florida and FGCU.
WHO'S HOT: Despite seeing his 13-game hitting streak come to an end Wednesday against Charlotte, Brandon Patterson continues to stay red hot during Upstate's current four-game winning streak, hitting .471 with eight hits, five runs batted in and three extra base hits. He has 10 multi-hit games on the year, while his eight multi-RBI games lead the team. The senior is currently second in the conference in batting average at .418, while his 29 runs batted in lead the club.
LESCH'S LIMELIGHT: Tyler Lesch stole the spotlight last Saturday in the series finale with Northern Kentucky, making a pair of highlight web gems in centerfield. His second-inning diving catch made an appearance on SportsCenter's Top Plays at No. 5. Lesch becomes the second athlete at USC Upstate to appear on Top Plays after Ty Greene was featured last season with a buzzer-beater three-pointer at Lipscomb.
WEEKEND WARRIORS: Upstate's three weekend starters have a combined record of 12-4 this season. Roseboom's 5-1 mark is the second best in the league behind FGCU's Preseason Pitcher of the Year Ricky Knapp, who has a perfect 6-0 mark and a 0.99 ERA. Lee is looking to win his first start since a March 8 victory over Akron, while Bumgardner is eying his fourth win in his last four appearances.
STRIKEOUT CITY: Chad Sobotka was untouchable in a pair of appearances last week, tossing 3.2 innings and not allowing a hit, while striking out seven batters and collecting his fourth save of the season. He is averaging 1.51 strikeouts per inning and his 11 appearances this season are second only to 16 by Erik Samples.
COX DELIVERS: Chris Cox was nearly unhittable Wednesday against Charlotte, as the senior tossed a complete-game four-hit shutout to send Upstate to a 6-0 victory over the 49ers. Cox stranded runners on third base in the second and ninth innings and used his 100th pitch of the game to record the final out of the contest. The complete-game shutout was the second on the team this season after Brandon Lee tossed a gem against Marshall on March 1, recording seven strikeouts and going the distance for his third win of the year.
LUKE'S CANON: Luke Weber has turned into a nightmare to run against behind the plate, throwing out nine of 21 base stealers this season. On March 1 against Dayton, Weber had it all working and Flyers weren't flying very far, getting gunned down in all three base stealing attempts on the day as Upstate rallied for a 4-3 victory.
RICHARDSON'S RANKINGS: Trey Richardson continues to impress offensively, hitting .348 with 10 doubles, six home runs and 26 runs batted in. His solo home run Wednesday against Charlotte put him one off the pace in the league, while his 10 doubles are tied for third in the conference. His RBI total trails only Patterson on the team and also ranks fifth in the A-Sun.