Baseball Preview: Campbell

Baseball Preview: Campbell

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team is looking to end a three game losing streak this week when they host Campbell in a three game series at Harley Park from Thursday to Saturday.

This is the first meeting between the two programs as members of the Big South Conference. USC Upstate is 8-1 all-time against the Camels. The last time USC Upstate and Campbell met was at the end of the 2011 season. That season USC Upstate took the three game series 2-1 over the Camels. Blake Green led the Spartans offense with a 4-for-5 day at the plate, Scott DeCecco pitched 8.0 innings to pick-up the win on the mound and the Spartans clinched the series against the Camels.

USC Upstate is currently coming off the wrong end of a three game sweep to in-state rival Presbyterian. On Friday night the Spartans were shutout for the first time all season and on Saturday the Spartans lost both games of a double header by a single run. Upper classmen J.J. Shimko and Robby McGaha both had productive weekends at the plate despite the Spartans offensive struggles. Shimko ended the weekend with a team high 7 hits, with four of the hits coming in the series finale on Saturday evening. McGaha returned to the lineup with a bang, collecting three hits in game one of the double header on Saturday afternoon.

The Spartan offense currently ranks fourth in the Big South in batting average with a .262 average. Sophomore outfielder Jeff Taylor has burst onto the scene with a .373 batting average to lead the Spartans offensive attack. Taylor has accounted for nine extra-base hits and 16 RBI's this season. Shimko currently ranks second in the Big South with a .362 batting average and he is second on the team in total hits with 34. Senior Andres Kim leads the Spartans with 37 hits, 8 doubles and a team high 17 RBI's this season. Kim also leads the team in multi-hit games (11) and multi-RBI games (4).

Leadoff hitter Jason Matthews is currently second on the team in total hits (33) but leads the team in runs scored with 20 on the season. Julian Rip, Garett Wallace and McGaha provide the Spartans with a bit of power in the middle of lineup. The trio has combined for 28 extra-base hits and 42 RBI's this season. 

Jordan Marks will make his conference leading 11th start of the season on Thursday night against the Camels. Marks is tied for the team lead in wins with three and has pitched a team high 48.2 innings this season. The sophomore right hander will face off against Phil Simpson a senior southpaw out of Holly Springs, N.C. On Friday night Sean Hupp will make his third start on the mound for the Spartans this season. Since transitioning to the starting rotation earlier this month, Hupp has only allowed 3 earned runs over 13.2 innings of work. The junior will matchup against Seth Johnson for Campbell who is 2-2 on the season. Saturday's starting pitcher matchup will feature Kyle Schmitt for USC Upstate and Michael Horrell for Campbell.

Out of the Spartans one can look for Will Wheeler to make an appearance for the Spartans pitching staff. The junior is currently tied for the team lead in appearances with 16. The two time Big South relief pitcher of the week ranks nationally in a multitude of statistics including, ERA (1.49, 22nd nationally), hits allowed per nine (3.96, 3rd nationally), strikeouts per nine innings (13.87, 8th nationally) and WHIP (0.77, 7th nationally). Wheeler also ranks top-three in the conference in saves (4), Strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.67) and strikeouts (56).

Other Spartans making appearances out of the Spartans bullpen this week will be Caleb Matthews, Trey Van Der Weide, Grant Hoppock, Ben Ferrer, Jonathan Howlett and Jacob Thiessen.

Campbell is coming off a 7-4 victory over UNC Greensboro on Tuesday night. Spencer Packard went 2-for-3 at the plate and drove in the go-ahead in the run in the top of the seventh. Ryan Chasse was named the Big South Freshman of the Week this past Monday, this is Chasse's second honor of the season. Chasse earned his fifth victory of the season against Radford, the win give Chasse a freshman best 5-1 record.

Collin Wolf, Luis Gimenez and Matthew Barefoot pace the Campbell offense this season. The trio own the top batting averages on the team and they are batting a combined .326 on the season. Wolf leads the team in batting average (.349), on-base percentage (.476) and RBI's (35). Gimenez leads the team in hits (51) and doubles (13), while Barefoot leads the Camels in homeruns (8).

All three games of the series can be found on ESPN+ and live stats of the game can be found at upstatespartans.com. Game one of the series will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday evening at Harley Park.

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