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May 17, 2010
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - With a pair of non-conference games this week at Harley Park against the Colonial Athletic Association's William & Mary, the USC Upstate baseball team will get a chance to say goodbye to its five seniors, including three record-breakers in Jimmy Tanner, Tyler Oliver and Matt Branham. Tanner is Upstate's all-time hits leader with 257, Oliver holds the school's all-time appearances record with 82 and Branham holds the school's single-season strikeout record with 82. Branham also will set the school's career record for game started when he starts his 51st, and final, game on Wednesday needing just six strikeouts and 7 2/3 innings pitched to set two more school career records. Brian Dempsey, who is hitting .292 this season in a career-high 44 games, and Barrett Stover, who has appeared in 34 career games, will also play their final games in an Upstate uniform.
Senior Matt Branham is currently second in school history with 256 career strikeouts, just 13 away from the school-record of 261 set by Scott Eckard (2005-08) ... Branham needs four more strikeouts to tie his own school-record of 82 strikeouts set as a junior in 2009.
Senior Jimmy Tanner has started 140 consecutive games for the Spartans since not finding his name in the lineup for the second game of a doubleheader at UNF on March 22, 2008 ... Tanner's streak is the longest since Chris Nowak started all 161 games in his three-year career from 2002-04.
Senior Tyler Oliver is currently tied for third in school history with nine career saves and his six saves this season are sixth ... His six saves this season are also the D-I era record and stand fourth in the league.
In his last 32 2/3 innings, junior Philip Brannon has compiled an impressive 2.10 ERA and quality starts against Campbell, Mercer, Stetson and Kennesaw State, posting a 3-1 record ... He has struck out 17 and walked eight during the stretch.
Sophomore Austin Liput is currently on a career-high 12-game hitting streak, hitting .383 (18-for-47) with eight runs and five RBI in that time.
Senior Brian Dempsey has set career highs this season in nearly every offensive category, including 47 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, two home runs, 13 RBI, a .422 slugging percentage and 44 games played.
Since getting swept in a three-game series at North Florida to fall to 9-27 on the season, Upstate has gone 9-9 (.500), hitting .305 as a team since.
The Spartans, with two wins, can reach 20 wins for the ninth time in head coach Matt Fincher's 13 years at Upstate.