Spartans Open Season At Palmetto State Showdown
Feb. 11, 2010
Spartanburg, S.C. - USC Upstate opens the 2010 season, its first as full members of NCAA Division I with the opportunity to advance into postseason play, Friday and Saturday at the Palmetto State Showdown hosted by South Carolina in Columbia. The Spartans will make their second appearance in Columbia, having dropped a 3-2 decision to the Gamecocks in a single-game meeting last year. Upstate opens tournament play Friday at 11:00 a.m. against Charleston Southern and will take on Coastal Carolina at 3:00 p.m. The Spartans will close out the tournament Saturday with games against College of Charleston at 4:00 p.m. and Winthrop at 6:00 p.m. Upstate is 8-3 all-time against Charleston Southern, 2-7 against Coastal Carolina, 1-0 versus College of Charleston and 1-1 against Winthrop.
Fans not in attendance at the game can follow the action with live statistical updates using Gametracker on the official Upstate Athletics Web site, www.upstatespartans.com.
Looking Back At 2009
USC Upstate battled inconsistency at the plate and in the circle throughout the season, but performances from pitcher Morgan Childers and position players Kim Brasil, Crislyn Chewning and Heidi Gibbs, among others, led Upstate to a second successful season playing on the Division I level and in the A-Sun. The Spartans finished with a 29-16 overall record and claimed fifth place in the A-Sun with an 11-9 record. Childers led the A-Sun in five statistical categories, including 23 wins, and joined Kim Brasil as a second team all-conference selection. Brasil led the team with a .342 batting average. Upstate finished the season with an 18-3 record at home, the best record in Cyrill Stadium since the facility opened in 2002. Upstate was a solid 18-7 in non-conference action.
Upstate In First Year Of Full Division I Eligibility
Picked to be a fast-track sport into full NCAA Division I eligibility, the Upstate softball program enters its first year with the opportunity to advance to postseason play. The Spartans have had their fare share of success early in the A-Sun, claiming a share of the championship in 2008 and finishing fifth last year. Upstate has won 64 games overall and 27 in the A-Sun the last two seasons. Six teams will qualify for the A-Sun Tournament in May.
Brasil Earns Preseason All-Conference Honors
Junior catcher/outfielder Kim Brasil garnered preseason A-Sun All-Conference honors when the league announced its preseason poll and preseason individual honors last month. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Brasil led the Spartans with a .342 batting average, 12 doubles, nine stolen bases and 13 multi-hit games. She was a second team All-Conference selection last year after earning A-Sun All-Freshman honors in 2008.
Spartans Picked 5th In Preseason Poll
With 77 points, Upstate was picked to finish fifth in the A-Sun in the preseason coaches poll released by the A-Sun last month. Lipscomb was picked to win the regular season and tournament titles. The Lady Bisons garnered 111 points to finish above Campbell, which was second with 106 points. Mercer was third with 91 points and was followed by Florida Gulf Coast (85), Upstate (77), Kennesaw State (67), North Florida (53), ETSU (45), Stetson (44), Jacksonville (32) and Belmont (15). Only six teams qualify for the A-Sun Tournament and Florida Gulf Coast is ineligible to compete during its transitional phase. Upstate is in its first year of full Division I eligibility after the University chose the program to be fast-tracked into Division I membership.
Childers Ends 2009 With New Season Strikeout Record
Morgan Childers, a junior from Kings Mountain, N.C., ended her sophomore season in 2009 by breaking her own single-season strikeout record. Childers, who struck out 258 batters as a freshman en route to earning A-Sun Pitcher and Freshman of the Year honors, fanned 277 batters in 2009 to break her own record.
Childers Is The Strikeout Queen
Junior hurler Morgan Childers has a long list of accomplishments to her name. She currently owns all three of Upstate's strikeout records. She tops the career list with 535 strikeouts, the single-season list with 277 last year, and the single-game list with 18 set during her freshman campaign in 2008.
Trio Of Pitchers Look To Bolster Pitching Corps
Three pitchers will look to provide the second part of a one-two punch in the circle for Upstate this season. Morgan Childers, the ace of the staff, will again lead the unit. Behind her, though, will be three pitchers who will battle for playing time. Sophomore hurler Amber Hamilton showed signs of being a strong pitcher last year and has been solid in fall and preseason workouts. Freshmen Blake Meredith and Alex Yohe will also vie for playing time. Meredith is a heralded pitcher out of Post Falls, Idaho, who made a name for herself in travel ball. Yohe is an accomplished high school pitcher out of Concord, N.C. With the three battling for the No. 2 starters position and the overall talent-level of the pitching corps improved, the Spartans will look for more consistency in the circle this season.
Childers Tops The A-Sun
Morgan Childers finished 2009 atop several statistical categories in the Atlantic Sun. She led the conference with 23 wins, 277 strikeouts, a .186 opponent batting average, 37 appearances and 30 starts. She earned second team all-conference honors, her second consecutive all-conference nod after earning first team honors as a freshman while also earning the league's pitcher and freshman of the year awards, the first time in conference history that a player earned the two honors in the same year.
Spartans Set New Home Winning Record
After Upstate closed out its 2009 home season with a doubleheader sweep of Jacksonville, the Spartans finished the season with an 18-3 mark at Cyrill Stadium. The .857 winning percentage stands as the best home mark in the history of the program at Cyrill Stadium since it opened in 2002. Prior to this season, Upstate's best home record at Cyrill Stadium was 22-4 (.846) in 2006. Upstate is 130-38 all-time in eight seasons at the stadium, a .774 winning percentage.
Upstate Finishes 88th In Final NCAA RPI
In the final RPI released by the NCAA, Upstate again finished in the top 100, coming in at No. 88. The Spartans were the sixth-best A-Sun school in the RPI rating. Florida Gulf Coast topped the A-Sun at No. 26 and was followed in the top 100 by Mercer (48), Campbell (52), Lipscomb (55), North Florida (85) and Upstate. The Spartans finished 2008 ranked 76th in the final RPI ranking.
Lewis Tops Spartans In Conference Hitting
Sophomore second baseman Janna Lewis had a solid freshman season. She grabbed hold of the starting spot at second base early last season and finished the year as Upstate's leading hitter in A-Sun games, batting .324.
Now in his 16th year at the helm of the program, head coach Chris Hawkins has topped the 500 career-win mark. He currently has 517 career victories and is not only the winningest coach in the history of the softball program, he has more wins than any other coach who has ever coached at Upstate in any sport.
Chewning Versatile At The Plate
With a mix of speed and power, senior center fielder Crislyn Chewning has the ability to deliver in a variety of ways at the plate. The Willamina, Ore., native ranked third on the team with a .308 batting average last year. She collected five doubles, three triples and four home runs with a team-high 30 RBI for the Spartans. She also stole nine stolen bases to tie for the team lead.
Quevedo Looking For Consistency
After a stellar freshman season in 2008 when she earned second team All-Conference honors in the A-Sun, junior first baseman Lauren Quevedo struggled to find consistency at the plate last year. She possesses the biggest bat on the team and can deliver clutch hits. Despite struggling at times last year, she still finished the season fourth on the team with a .270 batting average and tied for the team lead with four home runs.
Oh, No-No She Didn't
Morgan Childers took another step in placing her name in the Upstate softball record books on Feb. 21, 2009, by becoming the first Upstate pitcher to throw a no-hitter against a Division I program in the 7-0 victory over Presbyterian. Childers struck out 12 en route to the complete-game no-hitter. It marked the second career no-hitter for the sophomore out of Kings Mountain, N.C. She tossed a no-hitter in her collegiate debut in 2008, striking out seven en route to a 3-0 victory over Tusculum. She now has two of the five no-hitters in school history.
Spartans Are Seasoned Veterans
After playing the majority of the last two seasons with a bevy of freshmen and sophomores in the lineup, the 2010 Spartans are a veteran ball club. There is just one freshman and sophomore in the projected starting lineup for the Charleston Southern game. Of the seven newcomers on the team this season, only four are freshman. Upstate returns eight starters, including the DP position, to the squad, and three of the seven newcomers are junior college transfers.
Upstate Looks To Lead Defensively
A staple of head coach Chris Hawkins' teams is solid defense. Last year, Upstate finished the season fourth in the A-Sun with a .970 fielding percentage. The figure tied for the top fielding percentage in program history. With a veteran group of players on the diamond this season, Hawkins believes his defensive unit will again be solid in 2010.
Upstate Gets It Done In Extra Frames
Upstate played six games that went into extra innings last year, finishing the season 4-2 in those contests. The Spartans picked up extra-inning wins over Stetson, Western Carolina, North Florida and Kennesaw State. After starting the season with extra-inning losses to Campbell and ETSU, Upstate rattled off four straight wins in extra frames.