SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball game will put their two game winning streak to the test this weekend with a three game series against in-state rival Presbyterian College.
The Spartans are coming off a 2-1 victory over the North Carolina A&T Aggies on Wednesday night. Andres Kim recorded his tenth multi hit game of the season and his RBI triple sparked the Spartans offense against the Aggies. Relief pitchers Caleb Matthews and Jacob Thiessen threw five inning of shutout baseball to secure the season sweep of the Aggies.
Last weekend, USC Upstate made some noise in the Big South Conference knocking off the No. 2 team in the league. The Spartans took two-out of-three against the Highlanders and Will Wheeler was named Big South Relief Pitcher of the Week for his efforts on the mound against Radford.
This is the 15th meeting between the two programs since the start of the 2010 season. Presbyterian hold a 6-8 record over the Spartans, but USC Upstate has not lost at home against Presbyterian since the 2016 season. Last season the two teams split the home-and-home series with USC Upstate winning 10-3 at Harley Park.
The Spartans currently have five players batting better than .300 on the season. Jeff Taylor leads the team with a .369 batting average followed by Kim with a .327 batting average. Stone Stephenson has a .323 batting average, J.J. Shimko is batting .318 and Jason Matthews is hitting an even .300 for the season.
Both Kim and Matthews have 10 multi-hit games for the Spartans this season. Kim currently leads the team with 35 hits and Matthews is two behind with 33 hits. Matthews holds the slight edge in runs scored with 20 while Kim has 19. Kim leads the team in RBI's with 17 and total bases 48.
Taylor, Julian Rip, Garett Wallace and Robby McGaha have formed a formidable lineup in the middle of the Spartans batting order. The quartet have accounted for 10 of the teams 12 homeruns and 20 of the teams 46 doubles.
For the second straight weekend the Spartans will pitch Jordan Marks on Friday night, Sean Hupp on Saturday and Kyle Schmitt on Sunday. Marks is currently tied for the team lead in wins with 3 on the season and has a team high 45 innings. Marks currently ranks second on the team in strikeouts with 39.
Hupp will make his second start of the season, last weekend he pitched 5.2 innings against Radford and gave up just 2 earned runs on the afternoon. Schmitt comes into the weekend with a 4.23 era and has a 2-1 record on the season.
Will Wheeler has been the most reliable option out of the Spartans bullpen this season. This season Wheeler has compiled a 3-1 record on the mound and has a team low 1.35 era. Wheeler also leads the team in saves with four on the season. Other Spartans to look for out of the bullpen are Ben Ferrer, Jonathan Howlett, Caleb Matthews, Trey Van Der Weide, Grant Hoppock and Jacob Thiessen.
Presbyterian is coming into the weekend having won four straight games. Last weekend the Blue Hose swept UNC Asheville and on Wednesday night Presbyterian defeated Wofford 7-6 in 10 innings. Presbyterian has four players batting .300 or better this season, Jonathan White (.345), Jimmy Marcelli (.320), Zacchaeus Rasberry (.317) and Johnny Cook (.303). Nick Guimbarda has moved into the role of power hitter for the Blue Hose with 11 doubles, 1 triple, 5 homeruns and 62 total bases.
Eric Miles, Reagan Fowler and Clark Dearman will be the starters for this weekend. Other players to look for out of the bullpen for Presbyterian are Johnny Cook, Matt Norton, Austin Paradis, Colton Springs and Grayson Stoneking. Presbyterian has a team era of 5.32 and they have struck out 229 batters as a team this season.
First pitch of Friday night's game will be at 7:00 p.m. at Harley Park. The game can be seen on ESPN 3.
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