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Feb. 28, 2010
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A two-out RBI single to deep right-center by freshman Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) in the bottom of the ninth inning to help the USC Upstate baseball team walk off with a 3-2 win over NJIT in the opening Sunday game of the Courtyard by Marriott Classic at Harley Park.
In the top of the ninth inning, junior Andre Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.) made a couple of game-saving plays, ranging to his left and stretching out to save a ball in the gap with a runner on second base, then making a diving catch in shallow left center with runners on first and second and two outs, scraping the ball before it hit the ground and avoiding the shortstop also running out to make the play.
In the bottom of the inning, Harris led off with a four-pitch walk. After a sac bunt and a groundout, senior Brian Dempsey (Montverde, Fla./East Ridge) drew a walk, setting up Greer's single over the center fielder's head to win the game.
Freshman Jordan Rusk (Longwood, Fla./Lake Brantley) (1-0) earned his first career win with two innings of hitless baseball. He struck out two and walked one.
The Spartans tied the game at two in the bottom of the eighth, with junior Joe Barnes (Lake Orion, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.) leading off with a single to right field. He moved to second on a wild pitch before scoring on a single to left field by freshman Trey Richardson (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) with one out.
Upstate got on the board in the first inning, thanks to a leadoff double by freshman Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path). He moved to third on a groundout and scored on a two-out error.
NJIT came back to tie the game at one in the fourth inning, using a single from Bryan Bleakley to start the rally. An error moved him to second, where he scored on a single through the left side by John Berner. Upstate threatened in the bottom of the inning, with a one-out triple from freshman Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C./Great Falls). However, the Highlanders escaped without any further damage done, as a strikeout and a leaping catch by the second baseman, Matt Tomczyk, ended the inning.
The Highlanders took a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh, as Teddy Bickert led off with a double just inside the right field line. With two outs, Tomczyk bounded a ball down the third base line and it took a hop around the third baseman, allowing Bickert to score.
Tomczyk led the Highlanders with two hits and an RBI and Upstate was led by two hits and a RBI each from Greer and Richardson.
Junior Phillip Brannon (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist College) pitched well for Upstate, tossing seven innings and allowing just six hits and two runs, one earned. He walked one and struck out five in the no-decision. Tripp Davis, likewise, pitched well for NJIT, tossing seven innings and allowing four hits and one run, none earned. He struck out three and walked one.
John Gray (0-1) took the loss for the Highlanders, tossing 1 1/3 innings, allowing a run and two walks.
The Spartans conclude the Courtyard By Marriott Baseball Classic this afternoon with a 1:30 p.m. start against Butler.