Kennesaw State Sweep USC-Upstate In Doubleheader To Open A-Sun Set

Jace Whitmers two-run homer in the eighth put the game away
Jace Whitmer's two-run homer in the eighth put the game away

KENNESAW, Ga. – Junior Barrett Stover (Durham, N.C./Lenoir C.C.) allowed two hits in his first six innings of work, but a four-run seventh inning helped lift Kennesaw State to a 5-0 win over the USC Upstate baseball team in the second game of an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader at Stillwell Stadium on Saturday. The Owls took the first game, 10-6, to help the first-place team stay at the top of the A-Sun with the sweep of Upstate.

Chad Jenkins (4-1) controlled the second game from the hill for the Owls (17-12 overall, 10-3 A-Sun), tossing a five-hit shutout and striking out 10. He allowed just one runner to reach third base, after a ninth-inning double by junior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill) with two outs in the ninth inning.

The Owls took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of the second game thanks to an unearned run that scored on an error. After that, Stover was in total control, allowing just one hit in the next five innings before the seventh inning, when the Owls finally got to Stover, as Jace Whitmer started a four-run rally with a double and Clint Rocques capped it with a two-run triple before scoring, giving Kennesaw State a 5-0 lead.

Stover (1-5) took the loss for Upstate, tossing 6 1/3 innings, allowing four hits and three earned runs. He walked three and struck out four.

Senior Kyle Simpson (Lyman, S.C./Byrnes) went 2-for-4 to lead Upstate while Martin Baker, Rocques and Jacob Rollins each had two hits for Kennesaw State. Both Baker and Robbins each added a run and a RBI.

Sophomore Keith Bisgounis (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo) went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI for Upstate, but a four-run eighth-inning that included a two-run double from Bucky Smith and a two-run homer from Jace Whitmer lifted Kennesaw State to a 10-6 win in the opener..

The Spartans tied the game at six in the top of the eighth inning, as sophomore Keith Bisgounis (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo) drilled a double into left center with one out and freshman Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla./Trinity Prep) followed with a walk. After a strikeout, senior Eric Guillen (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks) lofted an opposite-field single to bring Bisgounis in.

Upstate got out to a quick start, scoring two runs in the first inning, thanks to senior Eric Guillen (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks) drawing a walk with one out. Junior Jimmy Tanner (Fayetteville, Ga./Starr’s Mill) followed with an opposite field single into right field and senior Phillip Morgan (Campobello, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist) found a hole in the right side to drive in Guillen. After a strikeout, freshman Jeff Medley (Greensboro, N.C./Southeast Guilford) drove a fastball past the third baseman to score Tanner.

The Owls got a run back in the bottom of the inning thanks to a hit batter and a double to right by Ric Bishop. The Owls overtook Upstate in the fourth with three runs, capped by an RBI double from Clint Roques.

Meanwhile, Preseason A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Kyle Heckathorn didn’t allow a hit in the next five innings, but a leadoff walk in the seventh inning forced him from the hill. With relief pitcher Brad Long on the hill, a wild pitch moved junior Ryan Wilkins (Spartanburg, S.C./Spartanburg Methodist) into scoring position, where sophomore Keith Bisgounis (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo) drove him in with a line single up the middle. Freshman Austin Liput (Oviedo, Fla./Trinity Prep) followed with a single through the right side, setting up a perfect sac bunt by senior Kyle Simpson (Lyman, S.C./Byrnes). Guillen walked to load the bases and send in another relief, pitcher, Kenny Faulk, who walked Tanner to tie the game at four. Morgan lifted a fly to right that was dropped to send in Liput, giving Upstate a 5-4 lead.

However, the Owls answered in the bottom of the inning, as Andrew Martin drove a pitcher over the left-field fence to take a 6-5 lead.

Bucky Smith and Whitmer led the Owls with two hits and two RBI.

Kenny Faulk (4-2) earned the win for the Owls, pitching 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits and a run. He walked two and struck out four. Senior Phillip Myers (Louisville, Ky./Seminole C.C.) (1-3) took the loss, allowing six runs, three earned and four hits in 3 1/3 innings.

The Spartans will wrap up their three-game set with Kennesaw State on Easter Sunday, with first pitch set for 1 p.m.