Spartans Begin Big Week With Double Dip Against N.C. A&T Monday
Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate softball team is off top its best start since the 2000 team began the season 28-0 and takes its 22-0 record into action Monday afternoon against North Carolina A&T to begin a big week for the Spartans. Game one of the doubleheader will start at 2:30 p.m. at Cyrill Stadium.
Upstate won the Lowcountry Invitational at Charleston Southern on Saturday. The Spartans claimed wins over UNC Wilmington (5-0) and Charleston Southern (5-0) on Friday before taking down Georgetown (3-1) to end pool play on Saturday. They faced Charleston Southern in the championship game and took a 5-2 victory to win the title and improve to 22-0 on the year. North Carolina A&T comes into Monday's games with a 3-5 record, having last played on Feb. 27.
Upstate owns a 2-0 lead in the all-time series with North Carolina A&T. The Spartans swept a doubleheader in Greensboro last season, with Morgan Childers tossing one of her two no-hitters in 2010.
Fans can follow the action online by getting live statistical updates via www.upstatespartans.com, the official Upstate Athletics website. Game recaps and statistics will be available following the games.
Looking Back at the Lowcountry Invitational
Morgan Childers took home MVP honors after picking up three wins in four games as Upstate claimed the tournament championship at the Lowcountry Invitational at Charleston Southern Friday and Saturday. Childers won both games on Saturday, earning the win in relief against Georgetown and tossing a complete game to earn the win against Charleston Southern in the championship game. Upstate claimed wins on Friday against UNC Wilmington (Hannah Alexander) and Charleston Southern (Childers) to secure its position in the championship game on Saturday. Childers struck out 15 batters in the championship game, fanned five in four innings against Georgetown, and retired 14 by strikeout in the win over Charleston Southern on Friday.
Upstate Tops Nation in Wins, One of Five Undefeated Teams
Off to its best start in the school's Division I era and the best since the 2000 team began the season with a 28-0 record, Upstate leads the nation with 22 wins and is one of five undefeated programs left in the Division I ranks. Upstate owns a 22-0 record and is joined on the unbeaten list by Top 25 programs Michigan (21-0), Texas Tech (20-0), Florida (18-0) and Washington (16-0). Upstate takes on North Carolina A&T Monday before traveling to Seattle, Wash., for Washington's Husky Classic this coming weekend. The Spartans will face Washington and Oregon State twice and Seattle once in the tournament.
Childers Leads Nation in Wins
Morgan Childers owns a 16-0 record on the season and the start is good enough to place the senior as the nation's leader in wins. She has tossed two no-hitters this season in leading Upstate to a 22-0 record entering Monday's doubleheader with North Carolina A&T. There are five pitchers who have 11 wins on the year as the closest to Childers on the season.
Childers Reaches 100 Career Wins
With three wins at the Lowcountry Invitational, including two on Saturday to lead the Spartans to the championship, Morgan Childers earned her 100th career win at Upstate. She now owns a 100-21 career record. She is just the second pitcher in the history of the A-Sun to reach triple figures in wins and trails all-time leader Nikki Myers (Florida Atlantic) by just eight.
Four Tournaments, Four Tournament Titles for Spartans
Upstate has played in four tournaments this season and has claimed the championship in all four events. The Spartans opened the season by winning the Palmetto State Showdown (Feb. 11-13) at South Carolina. They won the next two tournaments played at Upstate, taking the Upstate Classic (Feb. 18-20) and the Campus Suites Spartan Classic (Feb. 25-27) at Cyrill Stadium. They claimed the Lowcountry Invitational (March 4-5) at Charleston Southern. Upstate will play one more regular season tournament, traveling to Seattle, Wash., to take part in the Husky Classic this coming weekend.
In winning the four tournaments, Upstate players have been named tournament MVP four times. Katie Zauner was named MVP at the Palmetto State Showdown. Ericka Harris earned MVP honors at the Upstate classic. Morgan Childers took home back-to-back MVP honors at the Campus Suites Spartan Classic and the Lowcountry Invitational.
Upstate Gains Ground in Top 25 Polls
After receiving its first mention in any national Top 25 poll last week, Upstate gained ground in this week's polls. The Spartans received 26 points in the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll. If the poll was expanded, the Spartans would be ranked in a tie at No. 30, up two spots from last week. The Spartans earned three points in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. If that poll was expanded, Upstate would be ranked in a tie for 31st, up two spot from last week.
Childers Tosses Sixth Career No-Hitter, Second of the Season
In a span of 15 days, Morgan Childers tossed two no-hitters to increase her career total to six. This time, she had to go the distance in the 2-0 win over La Salle on Feb. 27. Childers struck out a season-high 17 batters, one off of her own single-game school record of 18 (vs. Tusculum, 2008), to earn the win over the Explorers. She now has two no-no's this year, matching her season high of two last season. She had one in each of her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Spartans Off to Best Start in Division I Era
Upstate's 22-0 start is not only the best start of any A-Sun team this season, it is also the best start the program has had during its Division I era which started in 2008. Prior to this season, Upstate's top effort to begin a season was an 8-0 performance before losing in Ole Miss' tournament in 2009. The start is also the best since the 2000 squad went 28-0 to begin the season.
Upstate to Battle Nation's Elite
While Upstate must concentrate on the brutal A-Sun schedule of games and its demanding non-conference schedule, the Spartans will battle elite national teams this season, and it all starts this week. Upstate will travel to Seattle, Wash., to take on Washington twice in the Husky Classic. The Huskies are currently ranked No. 5 in the USA Today/NFCA and UltimateCollegeSoftball.com Top 25 polls, while ranking No. 6 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll. In addition, the Spartans will face Oregon State twice, a team that has received votes in the polls this season. Later on this month, the Spartans will take on Georgia, currently the top-ranked team in the USA Today/NFCA poll while ranking second in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and No. 3 in the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll.
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.
Brasil Moves into Top 10 All-Time for Hits
Kim Brasil's name appears in the Top 10 in seven different career statistical categories at Upstate. She recently moved into the Top 10 on Upstate's all-time hits list and is currently eighth with 174 in her career. She is the first player who has played her entire career on the Division I level to reach the Top 10 in the hits category. She also ranks fourth all-time with 46 doubles and eighth with 121 runs.
Childers Second on A-Sun Career Strikeouts, Wins and Shutouts Lists
Morgan Childers owns nine career school records, but she is also making a name for herself in the A-Sun. She has moved into second place in A-Sun history with 1,149 strikeouts. Florida Atlantic's Nikki Myers owns the all-time mark with 1,376. With 100 wins, Childers also moved into second place on the conference's all-time wins list. Myers also owns the all-time mark with 108. Lastly, Childers has recorded 40 shutouts in her career, trailing Myers on the all-time list at 47.
Childers Owns Nine Career Records at Upstate
Morgan Childers entered her senior season already the owner of seven career records at Upstate. Though early in the season, she has put two more records under her hat. She tops the all-time list with 100 wins, 1,149 strikeouts, 285 batters struck out looking, 40 shutouts, a .157 opponent batting average, 138 appearances, 107 games started, 91 complete games and 787.0 innings pitched.
Three Spartans Among All-Time Defensive Leaders
One of the nation's top defensive clubs last year and off to a strong start this season, three current Spartans currently rank among the all-time great defensive players at Upstate. Sophomore Ericka Harris tops the all-time list with a .995 fielding percentage, playing primarily as the starting catcher while also seeing action at first and third base. Lauren Quevedo ranks seventh all-time with a .987 fielding percentage and fifth all-time with 798 putouts as the starter at first base. Kim Brasil is eighth all-time with a .983 fielding percentage and 10th with 494 putouts. She has played both outfield and catcher in her career at Upstate and is currently the every day starter in left field for the Spartans this season.
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 160-41 (.796) all-time at home since 2002.