SPARTANBURG, S.C. - A strong pitching performance by the USC Upstate pitching staff helped the host Spartans top Charleston Southern on Wednesday night in Harley Park, 5-1.
The Bucs (17-20) dropped the season series with the Spartans that spanned games at the CSU Ballpark, the Lexington County Baseball Stadium, and finally Harley Park on Wednesday night. CSU took the opening contest against the Spartans, 4-3, on March 1. USC Upstate (17-23) responded with wins in each of the final two contests to take the season series.
Brandon Gragilla led the Bucs' hitting efforts in the game with a 2-for-4 performance from the plate and the team's lone RBI in the top of the first inning. Aaron Miller recorded the Bucs' third hit with a double to centerfield in the first frame.
Kyle Dyson (1-2) suffered the loss in the contest going 4.0 innings and allowing six hits and three earned runs. Adam Andrew, Ryan Stoudemire, and Evan Nations closed out the contest on the mound striking out four over the final four innings.
Upstate's Charlie Carpenter sparked the Spartans' offense with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning, while Hunter Gilbert went 3-for-4 from the plate in the Upstate win.
Blake Whitney (5-4) took the win for USC Upstate throwing a perfect inning in the fifth frame for the Spartans. His effort came in relief of starter Jake Bourke who went the first four innings allowing three his and a run in the no-decision.
Charleston Southern took the early lead in the top of the first courtesy of a Brandon Gragilla RBI single. Aaron Miller connected on a one-out double to get into scoring position in the frame. Following a walk issued to Jason Miller, Gragilla connected on an RBI single back up the middle to scoring Aaron Miller to give CSU the 1-0 lead.
Charlie Carpenter put the Spartans on the board with a one-out two-run home run to the left of the batter's eye in centerfield to give Upstate the 2-1 lead. Carpenter's drive followed a Brett Hawkins' single to give Upstate the early lead.
The Spartans took advantage of a Hunter Gilbert leadoff triple down the right field line in the bottom of the fourth inning to add to their lead. Pat Raiff brought Gilbert home with a RBI single to left putting Upstate ahead 3-1.
A CSU wild pitch brought home Devon Ortiz in the bottom of the fifth and a J.J. Shimko RBI single brought home Hawkins to add to the Spartans' lead before CSU reliever Adam Andrew retired the final two batters to end the USC Upstate rally.
Upstate's pitchers retired 10 straight CSU batters at one point in the contest before Mike Sconzo was hit by a pitch to open the seventh inning to end the stretch. The Spartans staff held the Bucs hitless from the third through the top of the ninth inning before Chris Singleton broke the stretch with a one-out single to left field. However, Upstate reliever Trey Van der Weide closed out play getting the final two Bucs to end the contest.
Charleston Southern returns home for a Big South Conference weekend series against Radford on the Big South Network. First pitch of the series on Friday night between the Bucs and the Highlanders is set for 6 p.m.
Charleston Southern is projecting RHP Nik Constantakos (3-2, 4.24 ERA). Radford is expected to counter with LHP Zack Ridgely (4-5, 2.65 ERA).