Spartanburg, S.C. – Erik Samples' walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth lifted USC Upstate to a 10-9 come-from-behind victory over Charleston Southern Tuesday night in the final home game of the season from Harley Park.
After Justin Allen scored the tying run in the eighth inning on an RBI double from Stephen Dowling, Upstate completed the comeback in the ninth when Samples picked up his team-leading 30th RBI of the season. Third baseman Daniel Seeba opened the inning with a double to deep centerfield and came around to score in the following at-bat after Samples slapped a 2-0 pitch into right field.
Bryan Hathaway (1-0) earned his first career win after throwing two perfect innings in relief of starter Eric Birklund. Richie Lacell pitched three scoreless innings to help limit Charleston Southern to no hits over the final five innings.
Austin Weekley (2-5) gave up both hits and the game-winning run in the ninth and took the loss.
Charleston Southern erupted for six runs in the first inning only to see Upstate answer with four runs over the next two innings to pull within 6-4 heading into the third inning. Luke Weber and Brian Thompson picked up RBIs on groundouts in the first, while Weber struck again in the second with a two-run double for his third RBI of the game.
Chase Shelton provided the Buccaneers with some breathing room in the fourth inning with a three-run home run to right field to put Charleston Southern ahead 9-4.
Despite falling behind by five runs for the second time, Upstate continued to chip away and used an RBI single from AJ Mackey in the fourth inning to pull the Spartans within 9-5. Tyler Lesch left Upstate trailing 9-6 following his RBI groundout in the fifth inning.
Mackey registered his second RBI of the game with a groundout in the sixth, and Allen laced a double to centerfield that plated Weber with Upstate's eighth run of the game. The comeback was completed in the next inning on Dowling's sixth double of the season.
Upstate closes the regular season this weekend when the Spartans travel to DeLand, Fla., to take on Stetson in a three-game series that begins Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.