Greenville, S.C. – The USC Upstate baseball team fell 6-5 to Michigan State and 8-2 to Furman to cap play in the First Pitch Invitational Sunday from Fluor Field.
Upstate right fielder Cody Brittain led the Spartan offensive attack with a .571 combined average after collecting hits in four of his seven plate appearances. The White Hall, Md., native registered one double, one triple and had a pair of hits in each game.
Game one saw Michigan State jump out to an early 1-0 lead when Cam Gibson drew a leadoff walk and came around to score two batters later on a wild pitch. The Spartans tacked on another run in the following inning on an Anthony Cheky RBI single to right field.
Third baseman Mark Weist put Michigan State out in front 3-0 in the fifth inning when his single up the middle plated Blaise Salter from second.
Upstate answered in the sixth inning by erupting for fours to take a 4-3 lead. Erik Samples was hit by a pitch to open the inning and advanced to third on a double by Daniel Fickas. Back-to-back RBI singles from James Fowlkes and Zach Krider chased Michigan State starting pitcher Anthony Misiewicz and pulled Upstate within a run. After a sacrifice bunt from Charlie Carpenter and a walk to Jake Beaver loaded the bases, Stephen Dowling singled to left to score Fowlkes and tie the game 3-3. Brittain gave Upstate its first lead thereafter with a sacrifice fly to bring in Krider.
Michigan State plated the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh when Chad Roskelly was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Jordan Miller regained the lead for Upstate in the top of the eighth with an RBI single to score Carpenter from second, but Michigan State rallied for two runs in the bottom half on a two-out, two-run single from Salter.
Michigan State relief pitcher Andrew Gonzalez retired Upstate in order in the ninth inning to earn his first win of the season. Krider (0-1) took the loss after allowing two unearned runs on one hit in one inning of relief.
Furman scored three unearned runs in the top of the first inning and Paladin starting pitcher Ryan Morse made them hold up, allowing just one run in six innings of work en route to his second win of the season.
Upstate got to Morse and plated a run in the fourth inning when Krider slapped a leadoff double just inside the right field line and scored three batters later on a wild pitch. But the Paladins used RBIs from Brandon Elmy and Matt Towarnicky in the sixth to open up a 5-1 lead. Elmy finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs and one run scored.
Will Dvorak came on to pitch in relief in the seventh inning and Beaver greeted him with a leadoff triple into the centerfield gap for his fourth extra-base hit of the season. Dowling followed with a sacrifice fly to centerfield for his 10th RBI of the season.
Furman added two runs in the eighth and one in the ninth and Elliott Warford pitched a scoreless ninth to help the Paladins finish the tournament with a 2-1 record.
Zac Manuppelli surrendered five runs (two earned) over six innings and struck out three and suffered the loss.
Fickas, Beaver and Brittain all finished with two hits to lead Upstate.
Upstate returns to the field Wednesday at 6 p.m. when the Spartans host Charleston Southern from Harley Park.