Fresh off its first Atlantic Sun Conference series win of the year, the USC Upstate baseball team steps out of conference for midweek contests against in-state rivals Furman and Wofford. The Spartans travel to Greenville, S.C., to face the Paladins Tuesday at 6 p.m. and then make the trip across town to Wofford Wednesday at 6 p.m.
Right-handed pitcher Dylan Parker is scheduled to face the Paladins and is coming off his best start of the season. Parker struck out a season-high five and allowed one run April 8 at Gardner-Webb to collect his second win of the season.
Upstate dropped its first game over the weekend to Stetson, but the Spartans answered with dominant pitching in the final two games and held the Hatters to just one run in games two and three to win the series.
Blake Whitney picked up the win in game two after holding Stetson to one run on four hits in six innings of work, and Richie Lacell pitched the final three innings to earn his third save of the season. Zac Manuppelli took the ball in game three and went six innings and surrendered one run on one hit and left with the game tied 1-1. Eric Birklund hurled the last three innings and picked up the win after Upstate scored the game-winning run in the eighth on an RBI double from Charlie Carpenter.
Upstate shortstop Daniel Fickas hit .417 over the weekend and leads the team with a .338 batting average, 32 runs scored and seven stolen bases. Senior Erik Samples ranks second on the team with a .324 batting average and has reached base in 20 consecutive games. Samples, who is tied for the team lead with three home runs, is also riding an eight-game hitting streak.
Carpenter has driven in a team-high 30 runs and is tied for eighth in the A-Sun, while Samples is second with 22 RBIs after he tied a career-high Saturday with four.
Furman won its series at UNC Greensboro over the weekend, but the Paladins enter play having lost four of their last six games and own a 15-19 overall record. Freshman infielder Blake Chisolm leads Furman with a .380 batting average, while third baseman Chris Ohmstede has eight home runs and 36 RBIs.
Wofford improved to 27-12 overall after winning two of three in its series at The Citadel over the weekend. Senior outfielder Matt Ramsay owns a team-best .367 batting average to go along with nine doubles and 17 stolen bases. Infielder Conor Clancey has driven in a team-high 37 runs and is tied for the team lead with six home runs.