The Spartans of USC Upstate showed on Friday night at Melching Field why they have the lead in the Atlantic Sun Conference, taking an 8-4 victory over Stetson.
Upstate improved to 31-13 overall and 14-5 in league play with the win, three games in front of the Hatters (29-16, 11-8).
Upstate used the combination of strong starting pitching from sophomore left-hander David Roseboom (7-1), timely hitting a solid defense to take the opening game of the weekend series. Roseboom worked into the eighth inning, allowing two runs on six hits with four walks and four strikeouts.
The Spartans supported their starter by banging out nine hits against Stetson starter Kurt Schluter (5-3) over 4.2 innings, scoring six runs, four earned.
Upstate started in the second inning, scoring a pair of runs on three hits and with the help of the first of two Stetson errors. Tyler Cook plate one with a ground ball and Brody Greer drove home the second with a two-out single.
The Spartans added a run in the third thanks to another Stetson error. Luke Weber’s two-out single made it 3-0.
Stetson cut into the deficit when Robert Crews singled home a run in the third, but Upstate answered with a single run in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. Weber singled home the run in the fourth before Greer and Jordan Stampler singled home runs in the fifth.
The Spartans scored in the sixth on a double by Greg Guers, but Stetson answered that in the bottom of the inning when Ben Carhart scored on a ground out by Kevin Lindheim.
The final runs came in the ninth inning, Upstate’s on a two-out double by Trey Richardson and Stetson’s on a bases loaded walk by Spartans reliever Andrew Wyant to Sam Kimmel and a two-out infield single by Carhart.
The game ended on a fly ball to right by Mark Jones with the bases loaded. Chad Sobotka came in from the Upstate bullpen to get the final two outs to earn his 11th save of the year.
Carhart finished the game with three of Stetson’s seven hits. He now has multiple hits in four of his last five games. Weber led the Spartans with three hits. USC Upstate centerfielder Gaither Bumgardner, who came into the game with a streak of 11 consecutive hits and 15 consecutive times to reach base, was hitless in four at bats with three strikeouts on Friday.
The Hatters will look to even the series on Saturday evening when senior Lindsey Caughel (5-2, 3.82) squares off with another Upstate left-hander, Scott DeCecco (5-1, 3.23). The first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.