Spartans Host Upstate Classic This Weekend
Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate softball will be back in action when it plays host to the Upstate Classic this weekend at Cyrill Stadium. The Spartans will welcome George Mason and Hampton to Spartanburg. The tournament opens Friday when Upstate takes on George Mason at 3:00 with games on Saturday and Sunday as well.
Upstate enters the weekend with a 6-0 record after earning a doubleheader sweep of Gardner-Webb Wednesday evening. George Mason opens the season this weekend after going 21-24 last year as members of the Colonial Athletic Association. Hampton stands 2-3 on the year playing out of the MEAC.
Fans can follow the action online at www.upstatespartans.com, the official website of Upstate Athletics. Live statistics will be available for free, while live video will be available for a fee at www.ASun.TV for select games. Recaps and stats will be available following the games online at upstatespartans.com.
Looking Back on Gardner-Webb
Upstate got standout pitching performances from Morgan Childers in game one and Hannah Alexander in game two, and also belted two more home runs in a doubleheader sweep of Gardner-Webb Wednesday evening at Cyrill Stadium. Childers went the distance in game one, a 9-1 victory that was shortened to five innings due to the mercy rule. Still, she topped double figures in strikeouts again, tallying 12 on the day. Cheyanna Ohlrich drove in three runs and four other Spartans finished with two hits on the day to lead Upstate at the plate. In game two, Alexander earned her first career shutout with a masterful performance. She struck out 11 and allowed just one hit, a blooper that fell between shortstop and left field, in earning the win in seven innings. She also got help offensively from Katie Zauner and Lauren Quevedo, both of whom hit homers in the game to pace the offense.
Childers Named to the Lowes Senior CLASS Award List
Morgan Childers has earned many awards and honors in her collegiate career. She received her first national honor on Feb. 16 when she was one of 30 Division I softball players to be named to the initial listing for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award. The program honors student-athletes who show excellence in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition. The list will be whittled down to 10 finalists in March with members of the media, Division I coaches and others voting on the winner which will be announced during the College World Series.
Alexander Earns First Career Shutout
After a solid collegiate debut on Feb. 13 in leading Upstate to a 9-1 victory over Winthrop, freshman hurler Hannah Alexander established another first when she recorded her first career shutout in the 5-0 victory over Gardner-Webb (Feb. 16) in game two of the doubleheader. She had a masterful performance, allowing just one bloop hit and striking out 11 in seven innings to earn the win and her first shutout.
Childers on a Double Figure Streak
Morgan Childers has begun the season in strong fashion, picking up double-digit strikeout totals in each game this year. She has started four games and has totaled 52 strikeouts, an average of 13 per game. She has fanned 14 batters on two occasions.
Spartans Sit Atop A-Sun Rankings
Upstate is certainly off to a torrid start to the season and ranks at the top of the A-Sun statistical listings in several categories. As a team, the Spartans lead the conference with a .359 batting average, a 0.76 ERA and a .993 fielding percentage. Individually, Upstate tops the league in six offensive and four pitching categories. Katie Zauner leads the A-Sun with a .600 batting average, 12 hits, nine runs, 11 RBIs and 24 total bases. Ericka Harris is tied with Zauner for the league lead with nine runs, while Cheyanna Ohrlich is tied for the league lead with a triple. Morgan Childers tops the A-Sun with four wins, 52 strikeouts, two shutouts and four complete games.
Zauner, Childers Sweep A-Sun Weekly Honors
Seniors Katie Zauner and Morgan Childers started the season off right and their performance in leading Upstate to the tournament championship at the Palmetto State Showdown. Their efforts led to both receiving weekly honors from the A-Sun. Zauner was named the league player of the week, while Childers was named the pitcher of the week. Zauner hit .571 with a pair of homers and doubles, seven RBIs and seven runs. She collected all three RBIs, including a two-run homer, in the 3-2 win over South Carolina in the tournament finale. Childers opened the tournament by tossing a no-hitter against Coastal Carolina and finished the tournament with a 3-0 record, two shutouts and 40 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched.
Childers Tosses Fifth Career No-Hitter
Senior hurler Morgan Childers opened the 2011 season with a no-hitter against Coastal Carolina, tossing her fifth career no-no. She struck out 14 in the game shortened to six innings due to the eight-run rule (Upstate won, 8-0). It marks the second time in her career that she opened the season with a no-hitter. She started her collegiate career with a no-hitter against Tusculum in 2008.
Childers Reaches 1,000 Career Strikeouts
Morgan Childers opened the season with 40 strikeouts in 20 innings in helping lead Upstate to the tournament championship at the Palmetto State Showdown. Along the way, she topped 1,000 career strikeouts. She is one of two players in the history of the A-Sun to reach 1,000 strikeouts in a career.
Upstate Supplies the Power
When Upstate opened the season at the Palmetto State Showdown, they also turned on the power supply, belting five home runs in four games. Lauren Quevedo started things off with a three-run homer against Coastal Carolina and also went deep for a two-run shot against the Chanticleers. Katie Zauner knocked a pair of dingers, hitting a solo shot against Coastal Carolina and hitting a two-run homer to deliver the 3-2 win over South Carolina in the tournament finale. Cheyanna Ohlrich cranked out a grand slam against Charleston Southern. The trend has continued with Upstate belting a pair of home runs against Gardner-Webb (Feb. 16), starting the season with seven home runs in six games.
Spartans Strong at Home
Since opening Cyrill Stadium in 2002, Upstate has been tough to beat at home. The Spartans were 24-6 in 2010 and set a school record for winning in 2009 with an 18-3 mark for an .857 winning percentage. Upstate is 148-41 all-time at home since 2002.