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Ohio Baseball Falls To USC Upstate

Ohio Baseball Falls To USC Upstate

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By Mike Ashcraft
OhioBobcats.com

Box Score (PDF)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- The Ohio baseball team (10-8) dropped a 12-7 decision to USC Upstate (10-8-1) on Saturday (March 17) at Cleveland S. Harley Baseball Park.

The Bobcats lost the three-game weekend set to the Spartans. USC Upstate opened the weekend series with an 8-1 victory over Ohio on Friday (March 16).

Junior first baseman Rudy Rott (Holmen, Wis.) led Ohio at the plate with a 3-for-5 day that included a double, an RBI and a run scored. He has now posted a team-high nine multi-hit efforts this season. Sophomore shortstop Trevor Hafner (Perrysburg, Ohio) doubled, walked, drove in three runs and scored another.

USC Upstate plated four runs in the bottom of the first inning to grab an early lead. Redshirt junior designated hitter Toran Shahidi was hit by a pitch to lead off, then redshirt senior left fielder Pat Raiff singled to right center. Senior first baseman Charlie Carpenter drove in the game's first run by sending a single back up the middle that scored Shahidi. After freshman second baseman Kyle Gensler coaxed a walk to load the bases for the Spartans, freshman right fielder Mason Stewart lifted a sacrifice fly to right that allowed Raiff to tag up and score. Freshman shortstop Will Hardigree then cleared the bases with a double to right center, scoring Carpenter and Gensler and making it a 4-0 lead for USC Upstate.

The Bobcats used some two-out lightning in the top of the third to even the score, however. Redshirt senior designated hitter Nick Bredeson (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.) smacked a one-out single to right to get things started for Ohio, and Rott followed with a base hit to left. One out later, senior third baseman Tony Giannini (Carmel, Ind.) drew a walk to fill the bases with Bobcats. Hafner then came up with a three-RBI double to right center to make it a one-run game. Ohio tied it up at four-all when redshirt sophomore right fielder Ryan Sargent (Algonquin, Ill.) scored Hafner on a single to right center.

Ohio took a 5-4 lead in the ensuing frame. Redshirt freshman catcher Dan McCauley (Pittsburgh, Pa.) hit a leadoff double to left. After junior center fielder Devon Garcia (Bowling Green, Ohio) drew a walk and Bredeson was hit by a pitch one out later to load up the bases for Ohio, the Bobcats took the lead an RBI fielder's choice that scored McCauley and put Rott on base.

Unfortunately for Ohio, USC Upstate took command of the contest in the sixth by scoring six runs on six hits and two errors by the Bobcats. Freshman catcher Austin Morgan, Shahidi and Gensler all produced RBI singles for the Spartans in the frame, giving the hosts a 10-5 lead.

The Bobcats cut USC Upstate's lead to three in the seventh when Sargent drew a leadoff walk and scored two outs later when Garcia smashed a two-run home run to center. That's as close as Ohio got, though, as the Spartans got both runs back in the eighth. Raiff drew a leadoff walk and scored on a double to center by Carpenter, then Carpenter scored one out later on a sacrifice fly to left by Stewart.

USC Upstate was led at the plate by Gensler, who was one of seven Spartans to produce a multi-hit day. Gensler finished 3-for-4 with a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Carpenter went 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and two runs scored. Hardigree went 2-for-4 with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Senior center fielder Russell Schwertfeger doubled, singled and scored a run. Shahidi finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. Raiff collected two singles, walked twice and scored three runs. Morgan went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Redshirt senior right-handed reliever Cory Blessing (Mayfield, Ohio) suffered the loss on the mound for Ohio, dropping to 1-2 on the year. He stuck out one but gave up four earned runs on four hits in a third of an inning on the mound. Redshirt senior right-handed starting pitcher Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) tossed the first five innings. He allowed four earned runs on eight hits and two walks while striking out three.

Sophomore left-handed reliever Trey Van Der Weide -- one of five pitchers utilized by USC Upstate, was credited with the pitching win for the Spartans. He struck out four in 3.1 innings of work while allowing two earned runs on three hits and four walks.

Ohio will look to close out the weekend series with a win when it takes on USC Upstate in the Sunday (March 18) series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET. Senior left-hander Butch Baird (Big Prairie, Ohio) is scheduled to start on the hill for the Bobcats and face freshman righty Jordan Marks of the Spartans.

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