SPARTANBURG, S.C. – USC Upstate and Gardner-Webb combined for 30 runs at Harley Park on Friday night, but it was Gardner-Webb who came away with a 19-11 victory.
USC Upstate falls to 11-14 overall on the season and 2-5 in the Big South Conference. Gardner-Webb improves to 11-11 on the season and 3-4 in Big South play.
Top 1st: Justin Kunz hit a one out homer run to left center field to break open the scoring for either side in the contest.
Bottom 1st: Jason Matthews got plunked by a pitch to begin the inning, extending his consecutive on base streak to 14 games. Matthews moved over to second base on a failed pickoff attempt by the Runnin' Bulldogs starting pitcher. JJ. Shimko smoked an RBI double into the right center field gap to tie the game at one.
Top 2nd: Ben Rowden sent a 2-2 pitch back up the middle to start out the second inning of action. Colton Sakamoto reached on an error by Andres Kim, Chris Clary then moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher. Ben LaSpaluto walked to load up the bases and Mitch McLendon then roped a 2-RBI single into center field. Kunz then followed McLendon up with an RBI single into centerfield. A few batters later Chandler Redmond capped off the inning with a three-run shot to right field. When the inning was all said and done Gardner-Webb held a 7-1 advantage.
Bottom 2nd: Garett Wallace drew a full count walk to being the inning and then reached third on an errant pickoff attempt by the pitcher. Stone Pellegrino then singled through the left side of the infield to score Wallace from third. Back-to-Back singles by Shimko and Kim brought the second run home for the Spartans.
Top 3rd: For the second consecutive inning Rowden began the inning with a single. Colton Sakamoto then reached on a fielder's choice and Clary reached base on a walk. LaSpaluto then tripled down the left field line to bring in two more runs for Gardner-Webb. A few batters later Kunz blasted his second homerun of the game off the batters eye in centerfield.
Bottom 3rd: Wallace unloaded on a full count pitch and blasted a solo shot over the left field fence.
Top 4th: Redmond doubled through the right side of the infield to begin the fourth inning. Redmond came around to score on a Clary RBI single up the middle.
Top 5th: McLendon reached on an Andres Kim error to begin the fifth inning of action. A few batters later Redmond hit a three-run bomb to right center field to give the Runnin' Bulldogs a 15-4 lead.
Top 6th: Sakamoto singled to center field to leadoff the inning. LaSpaluto then doubled down the left field line to put a pair of runners in scoring position for Gardner-Webb. The duo then came in to score on an error by the Spartans first baseman.
Bottom 6th: With one out in the bottom sixth, Julian Rip ripped a single into centerfield to load up the bases for the Spartans. Jeff Taylor then walked to earn an easy RBI then Wallace belted a grand slam over the scoreboard in left field. The Spartans trailed 17-9 at the conclusion of the inning.
Top 8th: LaSpaluto and McLendon hit back-to-back innings to begin the eighth inning. Kunz walked to load up the bases, Redmond brought in a run with a groundout to first base. McLendon came around to score on an error by the Spartans third baseman.
Bottom 8th: Wallace roped a double down the left field line and then advanced to third on a Wilber groundout. Wallace came around to score on a wild pitch.
Bottom 9th: Andres Kim hit a one out single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Julian Rip then doubled down the left field line to move Kim over to third base. Jeff Taylor then hit a sacrifice fly to left field to score the final run of the ball game.
- Garett Wallace led the Spartans offense with a 3-for-4 night at the plate, with a pair of homeruns including a grand slam. Wallace also scored 4 runs and had 5 RBI's in the loss.
- J.J. Shmiko finished the night going 3-for-6 at the plate with a run and an RBI. Andres Kim, Julian Rip and Stone Pellegrino all had multi-hit games for the Spartans.
- Chandler Redmond led the Gardner-Webb offense with a 4-for-5 at the plate with a pair of homeruns. Redmond scored 3 runs and finished with 7 RBI's in the game.
- Justin Kunz went 5-for-5 at the plate with 4 runs and 4 RBI's.
- USC Upstate will take on Gardner-Webb in the second game of their three game series, tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
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