Spartanburg, S.C. – Tyler Lesch's two-out, two-run double to center lifted USC Upstate to a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Butler Sunday afternoon from Harley Park.
Butler (1-4) broke a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth inning when Nick Bartolone doubled to left field to drive in the go-ahead run. Marcos Calderon opened the inning with a single through the right side and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Will Amador. Quincy Quintero followed with a single to left to put runners on the corners before Bartolone lifted the 3-1 pitch in the left field gap. Erik Samples was then called upon to pitch and struck out Austin Miller looking and retired Marco Caponi on a fly out to right field to limit the damage any further.
In the bottom of the ninth, Daniel Seeba reached on a one-out single up the middle and moved to second when Dylan Woods followed with a single into left. After Butler pitcher Kyle Allen fanned Justin Allen, Lesch laced a laser into the left field gap to bring home Seeba and Woods. Lesch finished the game 4-for-6 with three RBIs and one run scored.
Butler scored the first run of the game in the top of the first on a two-out RBI single to left from first baseman Ryan Wojciechowski.
USC Upstate (4-4) took the lead in the bottom of the second inning as the Spartans plated a pair of runs. Back-to-back singles from Stephen Dowling and Daniel Fickas put the first two runners on, but Dowling was erased one batter later when he was forced out at third base on a fielder's choice. Two batters later, a throwing error on Caponi allowed Fickas to score and put Brian Thompson in scoring position at second base. Lesch followed with a single to left to bring home Thompson and put the Spartans ahead 2-1.
Upstate struck for three more runs in the fourth inning to go up 5-1. Thompson singled on the infield to start the inning and took third on a throwing error by Butler starting pitcher Peter Nyznyk. Allen ripped a single up the middle in the next at-bat to allow Thompson to score from third. Lesch kept things going thereafter with a double to put runners at second and third, and Samples followed with a double off the left field wall to drive in both runners.
Butler got all three runs back in the following half inning, using a home run from Pat Guinane and back-to-back-to-back doubles from Drew Small, Calderon and Amador to cut the Upstate lead to 5-4. The Bulldogs tied the game in the top of the seventh with an RBI single to right off the bat of Chris Maranto.
Samples (1-0) picked up the win after pitching the final two-thirds of the game. Upstate starter Dylan Parker went 4.2 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out four.
Allen (1-1) took the loss for Butler and gave up two runs on six innings in 4.2 innings of work.
Upstate returns to the diamond Tuesday at 4 p.m. when the Spartans travel to Rock Hill, S.C., to take on Winthrop from The Winthrop Ballpark.