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Upstate Baseball Will Hold Alumni Game On Nov. 1

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Senior Kyle Simpson and the Spartans will face Upstate Alumni in the annual alumni game on Nov. 1.

Senior Kyle Simpson and the Spartans will face Upstate Alumni in the annual alumni game on Nov. 1.

Oct. 14, 2008

SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Once again, the USC Upstate baseball team will take an afternoon to look back, as the 2009 team will face off against Spartan alumni in the annual Alumni Game on Saturday, Nov. 1 at 1 p.m. at Harley Park.

"The alumni game is the only opportunity the current team has in the fall to play what could be considered outside competition," 12th-year head coach Matt Fincher, the program's all-time leader in wins, said, "so it breaks the monotony of intersquad games. More importantly, it does give us an opportunity to stay connected to our alumni. It gives the players that are in the program now an opportunity to meet and speak to players that have been here previously.

"It's a primary way that we try to grow the program because we want people who've been here previously to stay connected. The alumni enjoy coming out once a year and playing and I think they like getting a sneak preview of what we might be like in the spring. Basically, we just get to be out playing baseball and have a very enjoyable day."

Alumni batting practice will begin at 11:15 a.m. with the game scheduled to start at 1 p.m. For more information on the game, please contact Coach Fincher at 864-503-5135.

The Alumni will face a stiff challenge in the current Spartans, which return six starters and six pitchers from a squad that went 25-29 overall and finished with a 17-16 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference, as the Spartans finished fifth in one of the best baseball conferences in the nation. The Spartans will be led by senior catcher Phillip Morgan (Campobello, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist), who hit .289 with four homers and 34 RBIs as a junior, junior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr's Mill), who was an All-Star this summer in the Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, and junior Matt Branham (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley), who went 6-5 as a sophomore with a 4.04 ERA in 84.2 innings pitched.

The Spartans also welcome a deep recruiting class into the fold, as 15 newcomers are being welcomed to the squad. The team has begun fall workouts, and Fincher said the 2009 squad is already welcoming in the successful system that led to Upstate's eighth consecutive 20-win season.

 
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