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Phil' Er Up: Brannon Leads Spartans To Split With Owls

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Junior Philip Brannon pitched into the ninth inning, allowing nine hits and two runs to lead Upstate to its first-ever series win over Kennesaw State on Saturday night.

Junior Philip Brannon pitched into the ninth inning, allowing nine hits and two runs to lead Upstate to its first-ever series win over Kennesaw State on Saturday night.

May 15, 2010

Final Stats

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Led by a sterling pitching performance from junior Philip Brannon (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist) and a Division I-era record of eight doubles in the nightcap, the USC Upstate baseball team took a season series from Kennesaw State for the first time in school history with a 12-2 win on Saturday night at Harley Park after falling in the doubleheader opener, 10-6, in a rain-lengthened game.

Upstate (18-36 overall, 8-19 overall) won its second straight weekend series, also winning the series opener, 6-5, on Friday night to take a series from Kennesaw State (21-30 overall, 10-14 A-Sun) for the first time in the history of the rivalry, dating back to both teams days as members of the Division II Peach Belt Conference in 1995.

Brannon (4-7) threw a gem for Upstate, taking a shutout into the ninth inning before a two-run homer from Drew Foulkes ended his bid. Still, he tossed 8 1/3 innings, allowing nine hits and two runs. He struck out four and walked just one and he started the game by not allowing a hit until the first batter of the fourth inning. In his last four conference starts, Brannon recorded a 3-1 record, pitching into the seventh inning each time and recording a 2.15 ERA.

Freshman Ryan Newell (Marietta, Ga./Marietta) came on in the ninth to get the final two outs by popup to end the game.

Sophomore Jeff Medley (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) highlighted Upstate's day, going 4-for-8 with six RBI and two runs in the two games of the doubleheader, as he pounded four doubles, two in each game.

Upstate jumped out to the lead in the fourth inning as it started a stretch of six doubles in a nine-batter stretch. Freshman Trey Richardson (Lakeland, Fla./George Jenkins) led off the frame with a double to right center and after a groundout, he scored on a double over the left fielder's head by junior Andre Harris (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.). After another groundout, sophomore Jeff Medley (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) delivered a double down the right field line to give Upstate a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, Upstate's doubles prowess continued, with senior Brian Dempsey (Montverde, Fla./East Ridge), freshman Gaither Bumgardner (Fort Lawn, S.C./Great Falls) and senior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill) each posted two-baggers to start the inning. After a walk, Tanner took third on a sac bunt by junior Joe Barnes (Lake Orion, Mich./Grand Rapids C.C.) and he scored on a wild pitch.

Upstate added five more runs on two hits in the seventh inning to take a 10-0 lead, as Richardson started the rally with a single to left field. After a four-pitch walk by Barnes, Harris loaded the bases after getting hit by a pitch. That set up a three-RBI triple into the right-center field gap by sophomore Tyler Cook (Bloomington, Ill./University). Following the triple, freshman Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) and Medley each walked. After a strikeout, a two-out error scored two more runs.

The Spartans tacked on two more runs in the eighth inning as Barnes hit a one-out double and took third on a wild pitch. After a groundout, Cook reached on catcher's interference, setting up a two-RBI double from Medley, closing out Upstate's scoring.

Dempsey paced the Spartans from the leadoff slot with three hits and a run, while Richardson and Harris each posted two hits and two runs. Medley also posted two hits and added three RBI.

Zak Griffith (1-3) took the loss for the Owls, allowing four runs and eight hits in four innings. He struck out four. Ronnie Freeman and Peyton Hart each had two hits to lead the Owls.

In the first game of the doubleheader, the USC Upstate baseball team fell victim to a six-run Owls eighth inning, as Kennesaw State endured a four-hour rain delay to come from behind for a 10-6 win, negating a strong pitching effort from freshman Scott DeCecco (Cape May Courthouse, N.J./Middle Township).

DeCecco (1-7) took the loss, despite pitching 7 2/3 innings and allowing just eight hits and three earned runs. He retired 10 batters in a row until a leadoff single in the eighth. He struck out two and walked one.

The Spartans jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the second inning, thanks to a three-RBI double from sophomore Jeff Medley (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford). Sophomore Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla./Trinity Prep) walked with one out and freshman Brody Greer (Honea Path, S.C./Belton-Honea Path) followed with a single to before sophomore Austin Moyer (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) loaded the bases with a walk, setting up Medley's shot. He moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sac fly from junior Blake Green (Rock Hill, S.C./Northwestern).

The Owls started to move back into the game in the third inning with a pair of runs on two hits and came within 4-3 in the fourth when they used two hits to score another run. However, DeCecco held the Owls in check for the next three innings, retiring 10 batters in a row before Josh Whitaker singled to lead off the eighth to start a six-run Owls' rally that lasted nearly 4:30 due to a four-hour rain and lightning delay.

The Spartans cut the lead to 9-5 in the bottom of the eighth, as Liput led off with a single and Greer walked. After a pair of outs, Green walked and senior Brian Dempsey (Montverde, Fla./East Ridge) drove in a run with a two-out walk. The Owls got a run back in the top of the ninth thanks to a double from Clint Rocques.

Senior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill) led off the ninth with a single, and he took second on a one-out single from Liput. He scored on a two-out error to make it 10-6, but that was as close as Upstate could get.

Josh Carr (3-2) earned the win for the Owls, tossing seven innings, allowing six hits and four runs. He walked four and struck out five.

Tanner, Liput and Medley each posted two hits for the Spartans. Tanner posted a run, Liput notched two runs and Medley notched three RBI.

Bucky Smith led the Owls with three hits, a run and RBI and Whitaker, Ronnie Freeman and Roques each posted two hits. Roques and Tyler Stubblefield each posted two runs.

Upstate wraps up its season with a two-game midweek series at Harley Park with William & Mary. The Spartans will host the Tribe on Tuesday and Wednesday with both games slated to start at 6 p.m.

 
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