May 25, 2013

Spartans End Magical Run with Loss to ETSU

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

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DELAND, Fla. – The USC Upstate baseball team saw its historic postseason run come to an end in heartbreaking fashion Saturday afternoon at the 2013 A-Sun Baseball Championship, as ETSU rallied for a 4-3 walk-off victory at Melching Field.

The Spartans (28-30) end the year with their most successful postseason showing in Division I history, as Upstate captured its first A-Sun Championship win, knocked off nationally-ranked Mercer and finished a win short of the title game.

Down to their final three outs of the regular season last Saturday, the Spartans rallied with a walk-off win against North Florida to advance to the A-Sun Championship and then shocked the field with back-to-back elimination game victories, including a triumph of top-seeded Mercer, a team poised to receive an at-large bid to the national tournament.

Just like they have throughout the duration of the championship, Upstate jumped on top early, using a two-out double by Luke Weber and an RBI single from Brody Greer to send the Spartans to a 1-0 first-inning lead.

Upstate doubled that advantage in the fourth inning when three straight singles loaded the bases for Jordan Stampler who saw eight pitches and coaxed a walk to force home a run and make it 2-0. The Spartans had a chance to blow the game wide open when Gaither Bumgardner stepped to the plate with the bases still jammed, but a lineout double play ended the threat.

ETSU took advantage of the momentum shift and quickly used a leadoff walk and fielding error to plate a pair of runs and knot the score at 2-2 after four innings.

The Spartans proved resilient once again in the sixth inning when Daniel Seeba led off the frame with a single, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and came racing home when Trey Richardson lined a double over the third base bag to give Upstate the lead once again at 3-2.

The Spartans were on cruise control until ETSU put a pair of runners on in the eighth inning and used a fielder's choice to tie the game. With a runner on third and two outs, Chad Sobotka recorded a strikeout of Chris Riopedre on three pitches to end the rally and keep the game deadlocked at 3-3.

The Bucs then came right back and mounted a rally in the ninth, as Sobotka issued back-to-back walks to start the inning and a bloop single to right field sent ETSU into celebration with a 4-3 walk-off victory.

David Roseboom kept Upstate in the game all day, tossing 7.0 innings and giving up just two earned runs on five hits, while striking out five. Sobotka suffered the loss, falling to 1-5 during his sophomore campaign.

The foundation has been set for the Division I era of the Upstate baseball program, as 10 seniors played their final collegiate games Saturday afternoon at Melching Field.

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