SPARTANBURG, S.C. (March 16, 2013) – The ETSU baseball team sent the tying run to the plate in both the eighth and ninth innings, but the Bucs couldn’t pull off the comeback win as USC Upstate forced a rubber match in the series by hanging on for a 6-3 victory on Saturday afternoon at Harley Park.
The Bucs (11-5, 1-1 A-Sun) had their chances throughout the entire game, but ETSU left 13 runners on base and dug itself in a hole early as the Spartans (11-6, 1-1) scored a run in each of the first two innings and tacked on three more in the fourth. ETSU scored its first run on an RBI single by Andrew Green (Powell, Tenn.) in the fifth, while Derek Niesman (Wellington, Fla.) drove in the other two runs with his double in the seventh; however, USC Upstate hung on for the win as Chad Sobotka earned a four-out save to secure the win for David Roseboom.
Roseboom (4-0) allowed just one run on five hits and fanned six in six innings of work, while senior right-hander Kerry Doane(Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) suffered his first loss of the season (3-1) after being charged with six runs (five earned) on 11 hits in six innings of action. Doane's consecutive scoreless innings streak was snapped at 20 IP after surrendering an RBI single in the first.
The top of the batting order generated ETSU’s offense as they combined for nine of the 11 hits, with Green and Jeremy Taylor (Fayetteville, Ga.) finishing with three-hit games. Meanwhile, Clinton Freeman (Jonesborough, Tenn.) reached base three times – two walks and a single – and has now reached base safely in 19 consecutive games.
After being shutout for the first time this season on Friday night, the Spartans got out of the gates first as Jordan Stampler was hit to lead off the inning and he came around to score on an RBI single to left by Tyler Lesch, giving USC Upstate a 1-0 advantage. However, after giving up a single to Brandon Patterson, Doane got out of the jam by getting Daniel Seeba to hit into the first of three double plays by the Spartans.
The Bucs – who put runners on first and second in the first two innings – couldn’t push anything across the dish, and the Spartans took advantage of two breaks in the bottom of the second to extend their lead to, 2-0. Erik Samples led off the frame with an infield single, and after Brody Greer reached on a bunt single (despite a questionable call of the ball hitting Greer), USC Upstate had runners on first and second with nobody out. From there, Doane forced Robbie Morris into an infield fly to short, and the Buccaneer senior hurler looked to have worked out of the inning unscathed, when he induced Tyler Miller to ground the ball to second. Unfortunately, after Niesman flipped to Chris Riopedre (Miami, Fla.) at second for the force, Riopedre’s errant throw to first went wide of the bag giving Samples the opportunity to score the unearned run.
Once again, the Blue and Gold put runners in scoring position in the top of the third, but with two outs and the bases loaded, Roseboom forced Riopedre to hit a 3-1 pitch back to the mound to protect USC Upstate’s two-run lead.
Like the Bucs did in the top of the third, the Spartans also loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, but for the second time of the game Doane worked out of trouble. With nowhere to put Sampler, Doane got the Upstate third baseman to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
ETSU was unable to gain momentum following the double play, and the Spartans capitalized by plating three runs on three hits in the fourth to move their lead to, 5-0.
Green finally got the Blue and Gold on the board in the fifth when his RBI single to right scored Taylor from second, but the Bucs couldn't do further damage as Niesman hit into a double play to stop the rally.
The Blue and Gold turned their third double play in the bottom of the sixth, but USC Upstate got the run back as Miller led off the inning with a triple and crossed the dish when Bumgardner hit one to second, making it a 6-1 ballgame.
Niesman provided ETSU with a clutch two-out, two-run scoring double to right-center in the seventh, which cut its deficit to three (6-3), but despite having the tying run at the plate in the eighth and ninth innings the Bucs couldn’t find the spark to complete the comeback.
Five of USC Upstate’s 12 hits went for extra bases – two doubles and three triples – as Greer went 3-for-4 with a triple and run scored.
The series finale is set for 1 p.m., Sunday afternoon at Harley Park.
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