Clutch Hitting Propels Upstate to Win at Gardner-Webb
Boiling Springs, N.C. – Stephen Dowling's pinch-hit RBI double to right field in the top of the seventh inning broke a 5-5 tie and lifted USC Upstate to a 7-5 victory over Gardner-Webb Wednesday afternoon from Moss Stadium.
Upstate catcher Luke Weber opened the seventh inning by reaching on an error by Bulldog shortstop Paul Trick. After Gardner-Webb reliever Brad Haymes retired the next two Upstate hitters, Dowling stepped to the plate and laced his fourth double of the season into the gap to drive in Weber from first.
The Spartans tacked on an insurance run in the ninth inning on a second RBI hit from Dowling. Weber again reached on an error by Trick before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Dylan Woods. Weber then took third on a wild pitch and scored on a single up the middle from Dowling.
Tresco Shannon (2-1) earned the win in relief after allowing one run on three hits in three innings of work. Daniel Seeba pitched a scoreless final three innings to earn his second save of the season. Haymes (0-3) took the loss after giving up one run on one hit while striking out seven.
Gardner-Webb (3-9) used sacrifice flies from Jacob Walker and Henry Rundio to plate a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to grab an early 2-0 lead. Weber cut the deficit in half when his sacrifice fly in the top of the third drove in Tyler Lesch.
USC Upstate (6-8) struck for four runs in the top of the fourth inning to open up a 5-2 advantage. Justin Allen drew a two-out walk and advanced to second when Seeba singled to left. Lesch followed by reaching on an error from Trick to bring home Allen, and consecutive RBI singles from AJ Mackey, Zach Krider and Weber accounted for the final three runs.
JJ Nazzaro picked up an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, and Scott Johnson delivered a sacrifice fly to help Gardner-Webb pull within one run after four innings. The Bulldogs plated the tying run in the sixth inning with an unearned run following an error on the Upstate outfield.
Upstate returns to action Friday 4 p.m. when the Spartans begin at three-game series with La Salle from Harley Park.