JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Apr. 13, 2012) – Second baseman Austin Liput finished the night 3-for-4 at the plate with three RBI to lift USC Upstate (23-12, 8-5 A-Sun) past ETSU, 6-4, in the series opener on Friday night at Thomas Stadium.
Liput was just a double shy of hitting for the cycle as he scored three runs on the night.
USC Upstate starting pitcher David Roseboom (6-1) picked up his sixth victory of the season after allowing seven hits and four runs in seven innings of work. Roseboom walked four and struck out five on the night.
ETSU (16-16, 4-9 A-Sun) starter John Long (Anderson, S.C.) (5-4) tossed a complete game, but was charged with the loss after allowing seven hits and six runs, while walking two and striking out six.
The top four batters in the USC Upstate lineup accounted for all seven hits, including multi-hit efforts from Liput and catcher Luke Weber. Weber was 2-for-4 with an RBI in the cleanup spot. Jordan Stampler was 1-for-4 with his first home run of the year.
ETSU was led by senior Matthew Scruggs (Knoxville, Tenn.) as he was 2-for-3 with two home runs and three RBI in the contest. Scruggs continues to lead the league with 14 homers on the season and the second home run of the night gave him 40 for his career. Kerry Doane (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) finished 2-for-4 on the night. Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) had the only other ETSU RBI of the night as he finished 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The Spartans struck first in the opening frame thanks to a two-run home run by Liput. With one-out in the inning, Gaither Bumgardner laced a single up the middle. Then, Liput followed by belting the 3-2 offering from Long deep over the right field wall for his second homer of the season.
The Bucs immediately responded with three runs of their own in the bottom half of the first inning. Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) led off the frame with a walk and then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cory Betterson (Atlanta, Ga.). Then, Freeman lined an RBI single into right field to get the Bucs within one. With still just one out in the inning, Scruggs belted the 2-2 pitch from Roseboom deep over the left field wall for his 13th homer of the season – giving the Bucs a 4-3 lead.
USC Upstate regained the lead in the third inning with two runs on three hits. With one-out in the inning, Stampler drilled the 1-2 pitch from Long over the left field wall for his first homer of the season. After Liput recorded a two-out single, Weber singled to put runners on first and second. Then, Liput stole third and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 4-3 Spartans.
The Spartans added on to their lead in the fifth inning with two runs on two hits. After Bumgardner drew a one-out walk, Liput stayed hot as he belted an RBI triple to left center field. Weber followed by ripping the 1-0 pitch into that same left field gap to score Liput from third – extending the Upstate lead to 6-3.
ETSU got a run closer in the eighth after Scruggs blasted his second home run of the night off of Roseboom to pull the Bucs within two at 6-4. However, ETSU was unable to get anything else going as Upstate closer Chad Sobotka came on in the ninth to pick up his eighth save of the season.
ETSU and USC Upstate will be back in action tomorrow for game two of the series at 2:05 p.m. Freshman Kuehl McEachern (Mt. Dora, Fla.) (0-0) will make his first weekend start of the season for the Bucs and will be opposed by Upstate lefty Scott DeCecco (4-1).
- Clinton Freeman has now reached base in 26 consecutive games after going 1-for-4 on the night. Freeman also extended his hitting streak to six.
- With his two home runs on the night, Scruggs now has 40 home runs for his career. It was also his second multi-homer game of the season.
- USC Upstate defeated ETSU for the first time since 2008. The Bucs had previously won nine straight against the Spartans.
For more information on ETSU baseball, please visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the baseball link.