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April 6, 2010
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Tuesday night's game was everything a college baseball game is supposed to be, providing tons of offense and several key matchups at the plate that turned the game around. With two lead changes, the USC Upstate baseball team nearly pulled off the biggest upset in its Division I era, as No. 27 Charlotte was able to eek out a 10-8 win at Harley Park thanks to five unearned runs crossing in the top of the third inning.
After Charlotte (20-6 overall) scored a single run in the top of the first, Upstate (9-22 overall) countered with four runs in the bottom of the inning, as junior Blake Green (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern) led off with a bunt single, junior Joe Barnes (Lake Orion, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.) followed with a single to right field and sophomore Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla./Trinity Prep) laid down a bunt single to load the bases. Senior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill) singled to right to score two runs and senior Brian Dempsey (Montverde, Fla./East Ridge) followed with a single to left to score another run. After a double play, sophomore Austin Moyer (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) singled in Dempsey to give Upstate a 4-1 lead.
However, the 49ers, who have won 13 of their last 14 games, tied the game in the bottom of the inning thanks to five hits , two errors and a walk. The Spartans got the lead back in the bottom of the third with a single tally, as Dempsey led off with a bunt single, took second on a wild pitch and scored on back-to-back fly balls.
The 49ers took control in the fourth, though, as a one-out error helped Charlotte take the lead, as Kevin Gillespie gave Charlotte the lead for good with two-out, two-run RBI double down the left field line. Three more runs crossed in the inning, giving Charlotte a 9-5 lead.
The Spartans, answered though, with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth to cut the lead to a single run. Liput posted a two-out single in the fourth inning and Tanner drew a walk before Dempsey hit an infield single. A throwing error brought Liput in before another infield single by freshman Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C./Great Falls) allowed Tanner to score. In the fifth, freshman Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) singled to lead off, took second on a passed ball, third on a groundout and he scored on an error.
That was as close as Upstate could get though, as two walks led to Charlotte's final run and Charlotte's pitching staff allowed just two hits and a walk in the final four innings.
Nine Spartans finished with at least one of Upstate's 15 hits, as Liput went 2-for-4 with two runs and Moyer went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Greer went 2-for-5 with a run and Dempsey led the squad with four hits and two runs. Tanner walked twice and singled in two runs.
Charlotte was led by three hits and three RBI from nine-hole hitter Corey Shaylor. Justin Roland went 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI and both Cory Tilton and Mike Perkins also added two hits.
Bumgardner (0-4) took the loss for Upstate, tossing 3 2/3 innings, allowing 11 hits and three earned runs. He walked three and struck out three. Freshman Jordan Rusk (Longwood, Fla./Lake Brantley) pitched well in relief, allowing just one hit in four innings. He walked one and struck out four.
Wes Hatley (2-0) earned the win in relief for Charlotte, tossing 2 1/3 innings of one-hit, scoreless relief. Patrick Lawson earned his fifth save, tossing 2/3 innings and striking out one.
Upstate gets back on the field on Wednesday when it heads to regional rival Presbyterian for a 3 p.m. contest at the PC Baseball Complex.