Highland Heights, Ky. – Luke Weber delivered a two-out RBI single in the top of the ninth to lead the USC Upstate baseball team to a 7-6 victory over Northern Kentucky Friday afternoon in game one of a three-game series from Friendship Field.
Spartan right fielder Tyler Lesch drew a walk to start the ninth and moved to second in the following at-bat on a groundout to the right side. One batter later, Weber laced a 1-2 pitch up the middle to drive in Lesch and help Upstate to its third straight victory.
Erik Samples worked 1.2 innings in relief of starter Eric Birkland to earn his team-leading fourth win of the season, pitching around a one-out single in the ninth inning to induce Kyle Colletta to hit into a game-ending double play.
Northern Kentucky reliever Drew Campbell (0-3) took the loss after allowing one run in three innings on the hill. Norse starting pitcher Cody Cooper lasted just 2.1 innings and surrendered six runs on seven hits.
USC Upstate struck for four runs in the top of the second inning to put together its highest scoring output in a single inning since plating four in the second inning March 8 against La Salle. Second baseman Daniel Seeba reached with a one-out double to left and came around to score when Stephen Dowling followed with an RBI single to left. After Dowling took second on the throw home, Brian Thompson followed with a single to left to drive in Dowling.
With Thompson now on second following a fielding error, AJ Mackey delivered the fourth consecutive hit with a sharp single to center to score Thompson. Dylan Woods then moved Mackey to second with a sacrifice bunt before Lesch slapped an RBI single through the left side to cap the scoring.
Dowling tacked on two more RBIs in the third inning to put Upstate ahead 3-0. Samples was hit by a pitch to begin the inning and moved to second following a walk to Zach Krider. Weber dropped down a perfect bunt to load the bases before Dowling knocked a single into left field. Dowling finished 2-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs.
Cody Kuzniczci and Caleb Kellogg sparked a four-run fourth inning with back-to-back home runs to left field to leave Northern Kentucky trailing 6-4. Cole Braml also had an RBI in the inning with a sacrifice fly to begin the scoring.
Northern Kentucky came all the way back and tied the game 6-6 with two runs in the eighth inning on a two-run home run to centerfield off the bat of catcher Jordan Procyshen.
Upstate and Northern Kentucky resume a three-game series Saturday at 1 p.m. from Friendship Field.