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March 16, 20121234567891011RHE
USC Upstate001100043011092
Win: SOBOTKA (2-0) 2.000011
Loss: BROTHERS (0-1) 2.233242
MESSER (LIP) 522210
MOORE (LIP) 512110
COLEMAN (LIP) 602100
WEBER (UPST) 412110
Late inning collapse costly as Bison drop A-Sun opener
Friday, March 16, 2012
Late inning collapse costly as Bison drop A-Sun opener

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Walking in five runs, the Lipscomb baseball team allowed homestanding USC Upstate to rally from a 9-2 deficit to win 10-9 in 11 innings in the Atlantic Sun Conference opener for both teams on Friday night at Harley Baseball Park in Spartanburg.

Things looked to be in control for the Bison (7-11, 0-1 A-Sun) as senior starter Connor Sinclair had kept the Spartans (13-3, 1-0 A-Sun) off balance for the first seven innings and the veteran headed to the bottom of the eighth with a seven-run lead.

Looking to make his longest appearance of the season, Sinclair walked the first two batters he faced in the frame and then allowed a single to right center to load the bases and end his evening after a season-high 107 pitches.  Junior righty Tyler Burstrom, who walked the first Spartan he faced and then gave up a single through the left side to make it a 9-4 game.  Burstrom then walked in the second run of the inning before senior southpaw Gil Rehwinkel came on to try and stave the bleeding.  Rehwinkel would continue Burstrom’s trend and walk in the third run of the inning to make it a 9-6 lead before getting the Bison out of the stanza.

Rehwinkel came out to start the ninth and hit Spartan leadoff hitter Tyler Cook.  That would end his night as freshman righthander Hunter Brothers (0-1) was brought in from the bullpen.  Brothers retired the first batter he faced before running into problems. A single to left and a walk loaded the bases and before the righty walked back-to-back runners to allow the Spartans to pull within a run at 9-8.

A defensive miscue then proved costly for the Bison as Brothers got a grounder to third but the throw to the plate to get the lead runner was dropped allowing the tying run to score and send the game to extra innings.

The Spartans then won the contest in the 11th after Brothers got out of the mess in the ninth.  A one-out single and a four-pitch walk set the table for Upstate shortstop Brody Greer, who singled up the middle to claim the 10-9 victory and hand Brothers the loss.

Upstate closer Chad Sobotka (2-0) earned the win in relief tossing the final two innings allowing only one walk.

Things looked good for the Bison right out of the gate as Lipscomb jumped out to a three-run lead.  Junior right fielder Lee Wilson led off the game with a walk before junior centerfielder Zach Lowery reached on an error to give Lipscomb two aboard.  Senior second baseman Zak Messer then delivered a double down the right field line that scored both Wilson and Lowery.

Messer then came across the dish when the Spartans booted the second ball of the inning as Lipscomb took a 3-0 lead.

The Spartans answered back with a run in the third and a run in the fourth off Sinclair but Lipscomb fired right back with a three-run fifth and a two-run sixth to make it an 8-2 contest.

Senior left fielder M.L. Williams started off the fifth with a bang launching a home run to left field on the first pitch he saw.  A one-out walk by freshman first baseman Griffin Moore and a single to left by junior shortstop Aaron Sandoval set the table for junior third baseman Gray Hutchinson, who ripped a single back up the middle plating Moore.  Junior designated hitter Ricky Williams then drove in the third run of the stanza with a line-drive single to centerfield that scored Sandoval making it 6-2 Bison.

The sixth inning saw a leadoff walk by Lowery and a one-out single by Messer set things up for Sandoval, who came through with his second hit of the afternoon and brought both Lowery and Messer home.

The Bison would go on to add an insurance tally in the eighth when Lowery led off the frame with a single up the middle, stole second base and moved up to third on a wild pitch.  Lowery would then score his third run of the game when Moore singled through the left side capping off the scoring for Lipscomb.

Sinclair went seven full innings allowing five earned runs and five hits while walking three and striking out six in the no decision. Upstate starter David Rosebloom lasted only four and two-thirds innings before the Bison chased him from the game.  Rosebloom allowed four earned runs and seven hits while walking three and notching three strikeouts.

The Bison and Spartans battle again on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Harley Baseball Park in Spartanburg.