Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate softball team returns to action Saturday afternoon at 1:00 when Rhode Island comes to Spartanburg and Cyrill Stadium for a non-conference doubleheader. Upstate has not played since last Saturday when it split its final two games in the Husky Classic, taking a 2-1 win over Portland State and falling in a thrilling game, 10-7, at No. 5 Washington. Upstate and Rhode Island will meet for the first time ever on Saturday.
Upstate enters the weekend with a 26-2 overall record. The Spartans' won their first 25 games of the season, three short of the school record 28-0 start the 2000 squad turned in, before losing its first game of the season, 10-2, at No. 5 Washington. Rhode Island is 1-12 on the year, picking up its only win in a 6-5 decision against Drexel in the Buzz Classic. The Rams have played a difficult schedule, taking on the likes of Arkansas, Boston College, Louisiana-Lafayette and Virginia Tech.
Fans can follow the action online with live statistical updates at www.upstatespartans.com, the official Upstate Athletics website.
Looking Back at the Husky Classic
Morgan Childers tossed a gem and Lauren Quevedo delivered a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning to lift Upstate to a 2-1 victory over Oregon State to open the Husky Classic last Friday. It marked the first-ever victory over a Pac-10 school by any Upstate team. In the second game of the day, an uncharacteristically shaky third inning turned a 2-1 lead into an 8-2 deficit as the Spartans dropped a 10-2 decision at No. 5 Washington. The next day, Upstate took on Portland State and Childers was again huge in the circle. She earned the win while Janna Lewis was the hero at the plate, driving in two runs in the 2-1 victory. Upstate ended the tournament Saturday night against No. 5 Washington. The Spartans jumped out to a 5-0 lead, fell behind by a 10-5 count, and rallied to get within three before settling for the impressive 10-7 loss. Upstate out-hit the Huskies, 12-10, for the game. Sunday's tournament finale against Seattle was canceled due to rain.
Upstate Continues to Battle for Spot in Top 25
For the second-straight week, Upstate garnered votes in all three major top 25 polls as it continues its push for a top 25 national ranking. The Spartans' highest ranking is 28th in the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll, while coming in at No. 32 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and No. 33 in the NFCA/USA Today poll.
Childers Leads Nation in Wins
Morgan Childers owns a 19-1 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 26-2 record entering this weekend's doubleheader with Rhode Island.
Upstate Sits Atop A-Sun Rankings
After playing four games against strong competition at the Husky Classic last weekend, Upstate remains the conference leader in all three major statistical categories, topping the league with a .343 batting average, 1.05 ERA and .980 fielding percentage. The Spartans lead the conference in 11 individual categories with Janna Lewis topping the A-Sun with a .500 batting average and Morgan Childers with 19 wins and 216 strikeouts. Overall, the Spartans appear 51 times in the various top 10 lists in the latest report.
Childers Reaches 100 Career Wins
With three wins at the Lowcountry Invitational (March 4-5), including two on Saturday to lead the Spartans to the championship, Morgan Childers earned her 100th career win at Upstate. She now owns a 103-22 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 (108, Florida Atlantic) by just five.
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 seventh with 181 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 127 runs.
Quevedo Moves into Third All-Time in Home Runs
Lauren Quevedo continues to move up the ladder on the all-time home runs list at Upstate. With two blasts at the Husky Classic (March 11-12), the senior has moved into third place with 26 homers. She is two shy of second place on the all-time list. She also ranks eighth with 99 RBIs and ninth with a .531 slugging percentage.
Childers Closing in on A-Sun's All-Time Wins, Shutouts Records
Morgan Childers takes her 103 career victories into action this weekend and the senior is rapidly approaching the all-time wins list in the A-Sun. She is just five victories away from Nikki Myers' (Florida Atlantic) 108 career wins. She is one of just two players in the A-Sun to reach 100 career wins. In addition, she is just seven shutouts away from Myers' shutout record. Childers has 40 in her career and is within striking distance of the 47 tossed by Myers.
Spartans Off to Best Start in Division I Era
Upstate's 25-0 start to the season was not only the best in the A-Sun this year, but the top effort in the school's Division I era, topping the 8-0 start in 2009. The effort was also three games short of the all-time school record of 28-0 in 2000.
Freshman pitcher Hannah Alexander nearly pulled off an accomplishment no other Spartan has ever achieved, a perfect game, in game one of the doubleheader against North Carolina A&T (March 7). She faced the minimum through 20 outs. Taking the count to 1-and-2, she was just one strike away from recording the program's first perfect game, but gave up a hit down the line in left, the ball hitting off the fence for the only hit of the game.
Four Tournaments, Four Tournament Titles for Spartans
Prior to last week's appearance in the Husky Classic at the University of Washington, Upstate played in four tournaments this season and 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.
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.
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.
Upstate Battles Nation's Elite
While Upstate will play a grueling A-Sun slate of games beginning with Belmont on March 25, the Spartans also play a challenging non-conference schedule with games against some of the nation's elite teams. Upstate dropped a pair of highly competitive games at Washington in the Husky Classic March 11-12. The Huskies are currently ranked No. 4 in all three major top 25 polls. The Spartans will travel to Athens, Ga., on March 23 to take on Georgia, which is currently ranked No. 1 in all three major top 25 polls.
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.
Childers Second on A-Sun Career Strikeouts List
Morgan Childers has moved into second place in A-Sun history with 1,179 strikeouts. Florida Atlantic's Nikki Myers owns the all-time mark with 1,376. Chidlers currently has 216 strikeouts on the year and needs another 197 to reach Myers' mark.
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 103 wins, 1,179 strikeouts, 292 batters struck out looking, 40 shutouts, a .159 opponent batting average, 142 appearances, 111 games started, 93 complete games and 808.1 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 .994 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 .985 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 162-41 (.798) all-time at home since 2002.