RADFORD, VA. – The Spartans bats came alive in the series finale against Radford University on Sunday afternoon with a 7-6 win over the Highlanders, USC Upstate celebrated their first ever Big South Conference series victory in the process.
With the win the Spartans improve to 15-17 overall on the season and 4-8 in Big South Conference competition. USC Upstate is now 4-1 in the month of April. Radford on the other hand falls to 15-16 and 8-4 in Big South play.
Top 1st: With one out in the bottom of the first inning Andres Kim reached base on error by the Radford shortstop. J.J. Shimko then singled to center field on a full count pitch to give the Spartans a pair of base runners. Kim became the second out of the inning trying to score on a Garett Wallace fielder's choice. Julian Rip smashed an 0-1 pitch into left field for a two-run double with two outs in the inning to give the Spartans an early lead.
Bottom 1st: An error by Rip began the inning for Radford as Kyle Butler was able to reach scoring position for the Highlanders offense. A second error by Rip in as many batters allowed Butler to score from second base.
Top 2nd: On a full count pitch Jack Hennessy roped a single into left centerfield to begin the inning for the Spartans. Hennessy moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Davis Wilber then cashed in the run with an RBI single to right field.
Bottom 3rd: Butler doubled to left field to leadoff the bottom of the third inning. Spencer Horwitz moved Butler over to third with a deep fly ball to centerfield and Andrew Szamski collected and RBI off a sacrifice fly to right field. J.D. Mundy ended the inning with a ground out second.
Bottom 5th: In his third consecutive trip to the plate Butler once again reached base. This time it was Jason Matthews error that allowed Butler to reach. Horwitz took advantage and drove in the game tying run from second base.
Top 6th: The Spartan offense awoke in the top of the sixth inning, Wallace leadoff the inning with a single to left field. Drake Harris then laid down a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt to move Wallace into scoring position. Matthews singled to left on a 2-2 count to put a pair of runners on the corners for Hennessy. Hennessy slapped a sacrifice fly to centerfield to give the Spartans the go-ahead run. Stone Stephenson singled to centerfield and then reached second on an error by the centerfielder. The error allowed Matthews to score from third base. Stephenson came around to score on the Highlanders second error of the inning.
Top 7th: Kim and Shimko hit back-to-back singles to leadoff the top of the seventh for USC Upstate. One batter later and Harris smoked an RBI single into centerfield, giving the Spartans a commanding 7-3 advantage.
Bottom 7th: Back-to-back full count walks to Butler and Horwitz setup a three-run homerun for Szamski in the bottom of the seventh inning.
- Jeff Taylor led the Spartan offense with a 3-for-5 day at the plate, J.J. Shimko was the only other Spartan to have a multi-hit performance in the contest.
- Garett Wallace led the team in runs scored with two and Julian Rip had a team high two RBI's in Sunday's win.
- Kyle Schmitt and Trey Van Der Weide both pitched four full innings for the Spartans, but it was Van Der Weide who picked up his first win of the season.
- Will Wheeler picked up his fourth save of the season, pitching a scoreless ninth inning for USC Upstate.
- The Spartans will stay on the road this week as they travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on the N.C. A&T Aggies for the second time this season. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday night.
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