Baseball Preview: Winthrop

Baseball Preview: Winthrop

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team will play their final regular season series this weekend against Winthrop University at Harley Baseball Park beginning Thursday night at 7 p.m.

This will be the seventh division I matchup between the two programs, with USC Upstate (22-27, 8-15 BSC) holding a 4-2 advantage over Winthrop (29-20, 16-8 BSC) in the overall series. The Spartans have won two straight over the Eagles and swept the season series last season. The last time these two squads met the Spartans walked away with a 7-1 victory in Rock Hill, S.C. The Spartans used a five run second inning to help propel them to an easy victory over Winthrop. The last time the two teams met at Harley Park, USC Upstate won 9-5 and once again used a five run first inning to set the tone early against the Eagles. Winthrop has not defeated USC Upstate since the 2015 campaign.

The Spartans are in the midst of a five game losing streak and they are coming off a difficult loss to South Carolina on Tuesday night. USC Upstate hung with South Carolina down to the final out of the game, when the Gamecocks escaped with 1-0 walk-off victory over the Spartans. USC Upstate starting pitcher Trey Van Der Weide had a career outing against the Gamecocks, pitching 8.2 innings and allowed just one earned run the entire game.

USC Upstate will look to send seniors Andres Kim, J.J. Shimko, Grant Hoppock, Jacob Thiessen, Trey Van Der Weide and Caleb Matthews out on a winning note this weekend against Winthrop. Shimko a fifth-year senior out of Jacksonville, Fla., has lived off of Big South pitchers this season and has a Big South leading .465 batting average in conference play this season. Kim has also turned it on as of late batting .318 and scoring a team high 19 runs in conference play.

Other Spartans to watch out for on the offensive side are Jeff Taylor, Julian Rip and Garett Wallace. All three are batting over .300 this season in Big South play and the trio accounts for 10 of the teams 13 homeruns in conference competition. This weekend fans will be able to see the top-six hitters in the league between both USC Upstate and Winthrop.

Winthrop is looking to get back on the winning track this weekend after stumbling against UNC Greensboro in a midweek matchup. The Eagles are coming off a big conference series win over Campbell this past weekend. Winthrop is led offensively by Brandon Fite and Spencer Yankle both batters are hitting in the mid .340 range. Four Eagle batters have hit at least five homeruns this season and Hunter Linpscomb and Grant English are tied for the team lead in RBI's with 41.

Zach Peek, Nate Pawelczyk and Thad Harris will get the start on the mound this weekend for the Eagles. All three have won at least three games this season and they have each thrown a complete game in the process. Colten Rendon is currently one of the top closers in the Big South Conference having made 24 relief appearances out of the bullpen and he has made seven saves in the process.

Senior festivities for USC Upstate will take place prior to the game on Saturday afternoon. All three games can be seen on ESPN+ and livestats will be provided at upstatespartans.com. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Thursday night.

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