CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern returns to the diamond with a crucial Big South series as two wins can push them further up the ladder while a clean sweep leaves the Bucs still in play for a possible bye into the second day of the Big South tournament.
USC Upstate took the first matchup this season in a nonconference affair scoring five unearned runs on six Buccaneer errors for an 11-7 margin. CSU's pitching staff was able to punch out 11 Spartan batters, but the defensive miscues led to extra opportunities USC Upstate would later take advantage of.
USC Upstate has taken a three-game lead in the head-to-head series since the turn of the century thanks to the first three-game streak by either side. Neither team could win more than back-to-back games before the Spartans took three and four of the past five.
The teams have met in a home-and-home series dating back to 2009 with their first neutral site bout in 2017 and this marking the first weekend set at Big South foes.
- USC Upstate leads the series 4-2 since the beginning of the 2017 season winning the lone neutral site matchup in Lexington and three of the four in Spartanburg.
- The weekend set is the first Big South series between the Palmetto State foes after the Bucs made a Tuesday trip to Spartanburg for a nonconference matchup April 2, an 11-7 Spartans win. The three-game set is also the first weekend series between the Bucs and Spartans.
- Since 2000, the Spartans lead the series 12-9 taking seven of the 11 matchups in Spartanburg and one neutral site affair in Lexington, while CSU has taken five of the nine in Charleston.
- The four matchups in 2019 are the most in a season surpassing the three in 2017 that saw a home-and-home as well as neutral site series - all coming in the midweek. The Spartans have overtaken the lead thanks to four wins in the past five meetings after the series was tied 8-all.
- CSU's win at home in 2017 made it 8-8 before the Spartans had the first three-game streak in the series. Both CSU and USC Upstate had won back-to-back games early in the series before trading wins back-and-forth.
Scouting the Spartans
- In their first meeting, USC Upstate used six Charleston Southern errors to outslug the Bucs 11-7 with five of those runs coming as unearned while all seven Buccaneer tallies were earned.
- Logan Adams took a hard-luck loss allowing just four earned runs over 4.0 innings while striking out four. The CSU pitching staff racked up 11 punchouts on the day, but the six defensive miscues cost the Bucs in the end.
- Current Big South batting average leader J.J. Shimko had a three-hit day to lead the Spartans scoring twice and driving in one. The Bucs were paced by two-hit days from Jason Miller, Max Ryerson and Reid Hardwick as Miller smacked his first triple of the season and Ryerson blasted his fifth home run extending what was a three-game stretch with a home run.
- Shimko paces the Big South with a .414 average while a pair of Spartans - Jeff Taylor and Andres Kim - join him among the top-6 of the conference. Those three headline a Spartan offense that ranks second in the Big South in average (.276) while the pitching staff also boasts the second-best ERA (4.33). Jordan Marks' 3.76 ERA leads the starting rotation of USC Upstate while Will Wheeler has a 1.85 ERA out of the bullpen tossing 39.0 innings across 18 relief appearances.
A Series Win Would…
- Give the Bucs three series wins over their past four weekends after downing Gardner-Webb and UNC Asheville.
- Catapult the Bucs past the Spartans in the standings and could put CSU as high as No. 6 in the Big South standings with a sweep and two-or-more losses from Gardner-Webb.
- Put the Bucs in a spot to be the home team on Day 1 of the Big South Championship as either the No. 6 or 7 seed.
- Give the Bucs at least a split of the 2019 series after falling in their midweek matchup back on April 2, a nonconference clash.