USC Upstate Athletics
The USC Upstate baseball team allowed eight runs over the first three innings Tuesday evening and never recovered, falling 11-6 to Furman University at Fluor Field in non-conference action.
The Spartans (23-19) cap a season-long six-game road swing at 2-4, while the Paladins (22-17) sweep the season series from Upstate after picking up a 6-5 walk-off victory at home on February 27.
Furman used speed and timely hitting to jump on top in the opening frame as a pair of stolen bases and two RBI singles gave the Paladins a first-inning 2-0 lead.
That lead was doubled in the second inning when a leadoff walk was followed by a two-run blast to left by Greg Harrison to give Furman a 4-0 advantage.
Upstate cut that lead in half in the last of the second inning when Brody Greer singled to left field to extend his hitting streak to 11 games and Daniel Seeba walked to put two on with one out. After a fly out for the second out of the inning, Erik Samples tripled off the wall in left center to clear the bases and cut the Furman lead to 4-2.
That would be as close as the Spartans would get however, as the Paladins came right back in the third inning and capped a four-run frame with a three-run long ball off the bat of Andrew MacLatchie to extend the Furman lead to 8-2.
After the Paladins plated one more in the fifth, both teams went quietly until the last of the eighth when the Spartans came alive and plated three runs on as many hits. Luke Weber provided the big blow, a two-run bomb that cleared the green monster in left and cut the Furman lead to 9-5.
The Paladins loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth and plated two more runs, while Upstate added a single run in the bottom half and fell 11-6.
Ben Augenstein (3-3) suffered the loss for Upstate, allowing eight runs in 2.1 innings of work. He walked three and added one strikeout. Josh Howard tossed 2.0 innings of relief work, followed by a stellar 3.2 innings from Chris Knauff who allowed just two hits and added one strikeout.
The Spartans return to action Wednesday evening, welcoming Gardner-Webb to town for a 6 p.m. first pitch at Harley Park. Chris Cox is slated to take the mound for the Spartans in the mid-week tilt.
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