Boiling Springs, S.C. – Lacey Dinney struck out a season-high 13 batters in game two and USC Upstate combined for two shutouts as the Spartans swept a non-conference doubleheader from Gardner-Webb Wednesday afternoon.
Upstate improved to 8-0 on the year with the wins, 2-0 away from Cyrill Stadium. The Spartans also recorded their sixth and seventh shutouts of the season and have yet to surrender an earned run this season. Gardner-Webb fell to 4-4 on the year. Upstate will play host to the Upstate Tournament this weekend and will play La Salle Friday afternoon at 4:00 pm at Cyrill Stadium.
"For as young as our team is and the lack of college experience, they really amazed me today," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "Our pitching was very strong all day long. It was good to see a number of different players step up and deliver today. We are looking forward to this weekend."
In the first game of the doubleheader, Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) highlighted an offensive explosion with a two-run home run and Upstate took a 9-0 victory in five innings. Upstate scored its nine runs on 11 hits and four errors.
Upstate jumped on top with a run in the first inning on Ashley Butler's (Laurens, S.C.) RBI-single. The Spartans made it a 3-0 game in the second on Kieffer's two-run shot. Janna Lewis drove in a run in the third inning to give Upstate a 4-0 lead and Kara Lohr (Lexington, N.C.) drove in a run in the fourth to make it a 5-0 advantage.
Upstate put the game away with four runs in the fifth inning. Lindsey Greeson (Stanley, N.C.) walked with the bases loaded and Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) scored from third on a wild pitch. Two other runs scored when Butler reached on a fielder's choice to third, but a throwing error by the catcher to first allowed the runs to score.
Hannah Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) tossed a solid game for her sixth win of the season. She improved to 6-0 on the year while going the distance in five innings with three strikeouts. Jessica Childers (1-2) took the loss for Gardner-Webb.
Kieffer was 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs to lead Upstate at the plate in the game. Butler and Lewis also picked up two hits on the day for the Spartrans.
In the second game, Dinney was dominant in the circle. She struck out 13 and allowed just one hit in six innings to improve to 2-0 on the year. She was coming off a no-hitter against UNC Wilmington last Saturday and turned in her second straight standout performance. Casee Clauser (Ladera Beach, Calif.) finished off the game with a scoreless seventh inning.
Upstate jumped on top with three runs in the second inning. All three runs were unearned. Greeson walked with the bases loaded to bring in a run and Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) followed with a two-run single.
The Spartans added to the lead with three runs in the third inning. Kieffer and Morgan Brookshire (Enka, N.C.) drove in a run each with a sacrifice fly. Settlemyre later scored on a throwing error.
Upstate ended the scoring in the fourth inning on Shellie Robinson's (DeLand, FLa.) solo home run off the foul pole in left to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead.
Robinson led the Spartans at the plate in the game. She finished with two hits, while Harris led the team with two RBIs. Dinney's (Hannon, Ontario) 13 strikeouts was a season-high for Upstate this season. Alyssa Gutierrez (1-1) took the loss for Gardner Webb.