Spartanburg, S.C. – Freshman standout Shellie Robinson knocked two home runs in each game, four on the day, to power USC Upstate to a pair of wins Saturday in the Upstate Softball Tournament at Cyrill Stadium. Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) finished with seven RBIs and seven runs in the two games, lifting Upstate to a 16-0 victory over Liberty and a 5-0 win over Savannah State.
Upstate improved to 11-0 on the year with the wins. The Spartans have turned in 10 shutouts in 11 games this season, and have yet to allow an earned run this year.
"Liberty is a quality team," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "Even though they didn't have a good game, we knew they were a very good team that is coached very well. It was a good win for us. As far as our pitching, we have a few good pitchers."
In the first game, Upstate nearly made history. The 16 runs scored by the Spartans were the second-most since moving to Division I in 2008 (17 against Gardner-Webb in 2009).
Upstate jumped on top with three runs in the first inning. After two batters reached on errors to start the inning, Robinson belted a three-run homer into the win in right center. It would be the first of two home runs for the freshman in the game.
Upstate put the game out of reach with six runs in the bottom of the second inning. The Spartans collected three-straight hits to start the inning and ended up scoring six runs on six hits. Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) and Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) picked up RBI hits, while Robinson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score a run and later scored on a wild pitch. Ashley Butler (Laurens, S.C.) collected an RBI on a ground out.
The flurry of scoring continued in the third inning when Upstate plated another six runs to open a 15-0 lead. The Spartans scored the runs on seven hits and two Liberty errors. Griffin, Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) Lindsay Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Lewis each picked up RBI hits in the inning.
Robinson then punctuated the win with a solo home run in the fourth inning to give Upstate a 16-0 lead.
Hannah Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) tossed four innings of shutout ball to pick up the win and improve to 7-0 on the year. She struck out five. Sam Poarch (Jacksonville, Fla.) tossed an inning of scoreless relief in the fifth inning to end the game.
Robinson was a star at the plate for Upstate. She finished 3-for-3 with five RBIs and four runs. Lewis was also strong at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with four runs and two RBIs. Griffin also finished the game 3-for-3 and tallied two RBIs and two runs. Settlemyre finished with three hits.
Liberty starter Chandler Ball took the loss and felt to 3-2 on the year. Liberty's pitchers gave up 12 earned runs in the game.
Robinson continued to pace the Spartans at the plate in the second game. She began the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the first to give Upstate a 1-0 lead. The Spartans added to the lead in the fourth inning when Robinson knocked a second solo home run and pinch runner Katelyn Molkenthin (Valrico, Fla.) later scored in the inning.
Upstate added two more runs in the sixth when Griffin drove in Robinson with a double and Haley Sheehan (Graniteville, S.C.) picked up an RBI-double as well.
Upstate starter Lacey Dinney (Hannon, Ontario) turned in another standout performance in the circle. She picked up her fourth win of the season, going the distance with 12 strikeouts. She also scattered just two hits in the game. Tiffany Davies took the loss for Savannah State (4-6) and fell to 1-2 on the year.
Robinson finished the game with two hits, three runs and two RBIs. She finished the day 5-for-5 with seven runs, seven RBIs, two walks and a hit by pitch to reach base every time she appeared at the plate.
Game Results – Saturday, Feb. 25
Game 1 – Liberty 10, La Salle 1 (5 inn.) - Box Score
Game 2 – Savannah State 4, La Salle 2 - Box Score
Game 3 – Upstate 16, Liberty 0 - Box Score
Game 4 – Upstate 5, Savannah State 0 - Box Score