SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team played through a monsoon on Saturday afternoon at Harley Park but came up on the wrong end of a 6-3 score to Pittsburgh.
With the loss the Spartans fall to 2-3 overall on the season and the Panthers snap a three game losing skid and improve to 2-3.
Top 1st: USC Upstate starting pitcher Jordan Marks looked as if he would escape the first inning without giving up a run, until Jack Hennessy dropped a routine fly ball that kept the inning alive and allowed Pittsburgh to score the first run of the game. In the very next at bat the Spartans had another chance to end the inning, but a routine ground ball got the better of Andres Kim and the Panthers held a 2-0 advantage. Nico Popa hit an RBI double into left field and Sky Duff had an RBI knock through the left side of the infield to give Pittsburgh an early 4-0 advantage.
Bottom 3rd: Jason Matthews began in the inning with a single up the middle of the infield. Matthews advanced to second on a balk by Pittsburgh starter Dan Hammer. After a pair of strikeouts by the top of the order Kim came to the plate and hit an RBI single to centerfield on the first pitch he saw.
Bottom 5th: Trailing 4-1 the Spartans offense struck again in the bottom half of the fifth inning. Derek West was the new pitcher for Pittsburgh following a lengthy rain delay. Spartans leadoff hitter Robby McGaha reached base on an error by the first baseman. Griffin Zito then singled through the right side of the infield and moved McGaha over to third base. McGaha came around to score on a wild pitch from West.
Top 6th: Pittsburgh began the inning with three consecutive singles. The last of the three singles was an RBI knock for Bryce O'Farrell that gave the Panthers a 5-2 lead. A few batters later Pittsburgh scored their second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly from Cole MacLaren.
Bottom 6th: After a Hennessy strikeout began the frame, Spartans catcher Austin Morgan made it all the way to second on a throwing error by the Pittsburg pitcher. One batter later and Matthews hit an RBI single into left center field. The Spartans run would be the final run for either side in the game.
- Andres Kim and Jason Matthews both went 2-for-4 at the plate and each had an RBI knock in the loss to the Panthers.
- Sky Duff, Andres Antonini and Bryce O'Farrell combined for six of the Panthers nine total hits.
- Jordan Marks was credited with the loss despite not allowing a single earned run to cross the plate. Marks also struck out five Pittsburgh players in four innings of work.
- Dan Hammer picked up his second win of the season, pitching four innings and allowing just one earned run on three hits. Hammer also struck out 10 Spartans on the afternoon.
- The Spartans and the Panthers combined for six errors in the contest.
- The Spartans will play a double header tomorrow afternoon against VCU. First pitch is currently scheduled for noon at Harley Park.
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