Spartans Off To Good Start
The USC Upstate Spartans have been hot the first month of the season as they sit at 15-3 overall and 8-3 in the Big South Conference. The Spartans have wins over Clemson and the preseason pick to win the Big South, Campbell.
Offensively the Spartans have been hitting the ball well and putting some runs on the board. With 6 starters batting over .300 the Spartans are solid up and down the order. Devin Buckner, who has started all but one game for the Spartans lets the way at the plate with an average of.356. He is 21 of 59 at the dish with two doubles, one homer and 16 RBI. He has also walked 15 times and been hit by a pitch 6 times. Dorman product Jack Hennessy is also having a good year at the plate so far and is 15 of 45 for .333 and six doubles to his credit so far.
Pitching for the Spartans has been a big story too. Friday Starter Jordan Marks has been terrific. He is 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in five starts. In 32.2 innings pitched Marks has struck out 37 batters while only walking 3. As good as Marks has been Saturday starter Alex Garbrick has arguably been better. Garbrick is 4-0 in 5 starts with a 1.35 ERA. In 26.2 innings pitched he has surrendered 19 hits, four runs, has struck out 31 and walked eight. This may be one of the best one, two punches at the mid-major level. The bullpen has been excellent too with three guys with a sub-two ERA.
Earlier this month the Spartans had a good measuring stick series with preseason favorite Campbell. The Spartans and Camels had a great series with Upstate winning the first one 6-1 before dropping the second 4-3 and the finale 4-2. Watching this series I felt as if the Spartans are right there with Campbell as one of the best teams in the league.
This weekend Upstate will take on Winthrop in Rock Hill. The Eagles were picked to finish second in the league preseason and are currently at the top of the standings with a 3-1 conference record. Upstate is 8-3 in conference and just behind the Eagles. A series win would put the Spartans in first in the Big South. Game one of the series is Friday at 5:00 and games two and three are Saturday at 1:00 and 4:00.