Upstate picked up two runs in the first inning as RBI leaders Erik Samples and Zach Krider each tallied one run driven in apiece. Right fielder Tyler Lesch opened the frame with a double to left-center field and came around to score when Samples tripled into the right field gap. Krider capped the scoring with a groundout to the right side to plate Samples.
Gardner-Webb second baseman Scott Johnson led off the second inning with home a home run to left field to cut the Upstate lead to 2-1.
The Spartans answered with two runs in the third inning to extend their lead to 4-1. Lesch singled to right to open the inning and took second on a wild pitch. After two groundouts, second baseman Daniel Seeba smacked a single up the middle to score Lesch from second. Luke Weber added an RBI double to left to bring home Seeba and move into second place all-time at Upstate with 50 career doubles.
A home run from Matt Simmons in the fourth inning pulled the Bulldogs within 4-2, and RBIs from Ryan Hodge and Henry Rundio in the sixth inning knotted the game at 4-4.
Back-to-back walks to Tyler Best and Scott Coleman to start the seventh inning led to the go-ahead run on a sacrifice fly from Simmons. The Bulldogs would go on to add a run in the eighth and two more in the ninth to earn a season split with Upstate this season. Earlier this year, Upstate picked up a 7-5 win at Gardner-Webb.
Jeremy Walker (1-0) allowed just one hit and struck out three in two innings to earn the win in relief.
Upstate reliever Richie Lacell (0-2) gave up one run in the seventh inning and was credited with the loss.
Upstate returns to action Friday at 6 p.m. when the Spartans travel to Macon, Ga., to begin a three-game series with Mercer.