Upstate Opens A-Sun Play with Sweep of Belmont
Spartanburg, S.C. – Erica Kaufman delivered the game-winning home run in game one and Morgan Childers reached 1,200 career strikeouts and earned a win and a save on the day as No. 25 USC Upstate opened A-Sun play with a sweep of Belmont Friday evening at Cyrill Stadium. With the save in game two, Childers tied the all-time career record at Upstate.
Upstate improved to 30-3 overall and 2-0 on the year with the wins. The Spartans will face Lipscomb Saturday afternoon at 4:00 in a doubleheader that pits the two teams picked to finish first and second in the A-Sun. Lipscomb was picked to win the regular season championship and Upstate was picked second in the preseason league coaches poll. Belmont fell to 7-20 overall and 0-2 in the conference.
"Hats off to Devon Schmidt, she pitched a good game," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "I was very disappointed in our offensive performance today. We didn't swing at good pitches. Hopefully, tomorrow our team chemistry will be a lot better."
Childers (Kings Mountain, N.C.) earned the win in game one, tossing a complete game and allowing a run with 11 strikeouts. She reached 1,200 career strikeouts with her 10th strikeout in the game. She entered the second game in the sixth inning and tossed two innings of relief to earn her first save of the season. She now has eight career saves, tying the career record held by Jenn Whited.
Belmont tied the game in the fifth inning when Amanda Buntin hit a solo home run. The Spartans, though, regained the advantage when Kaufman (Moncks Corner, S.C.) belted a home run to left center with one out in the bottom of the fifth to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead.
The one-run advantage was all that Childers needed. She struck out three of the next six batters to earn the win and improve to 21-2 on the year. She struck out 11 and allowed just one hit while walking none. Belmont starter Devon Schmidt went the distance, allowing two runs, one earned, with two walks to take the loss. She fell to 6-8 on the year.
Hannah Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) got the start and was solid in earning the win to improve to 9-1 on the year. She went five innings and allowed one unearned run on seven hits.
Upstate got things going early with three runs in the first inning. Kim Brasil (Mississauga, Ontario) walked to lead off the inning and Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) followed with a single. Katie Zauner (Canby, Ore.) singled to drive in Brasil. On the same play, Lewis and Zauner moved up a base on the throw and both scored when Belmont's catcher threw the ball away to left field, giving Upstate a 3-0 lead.
Belmont got a run back in the third inning on Stayci Cook's single up the middle. Upstate, though, took a 4-1 lead with a run in the bottom of the inning when Lauren Quevedo (Wellington, Fla.) knocked her eighth home run of the season.
Alexander started the sixth inning and allowed a leadoff double. Childers came in to relieve her and struck out the first two batters she faced and got a ground out to end the inning. She allowed one hit in the seventh, but struck out the final batter to earn the save and secure the win for Upstate.
Belmont starter Courtney Elrod gave up three runs, two earned, before leaving with no outs in the first inning. She took the loss to fall to 0-1 on the year. Lewis led the Upstate attack at the plate, finishing with two hits.