Spartans Visit Nationally-Ranked Georgia Tuesday
Spartanburg, S.C. - For the second year in a row, the USC Upstate softball team will hit the road to Athens, Ga., to take on nationally-ranked Georgia Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. Upstate, which is ranked 10th in the Mid-Major Top 25 poll, will take on the Lady Bulldogs, ranked ninth in the NFCA/USA Today Top 25 poll and 10th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball Top 25 poll.
Upstate enters the game on a three-game winning streak after collecting a win last Wednesday against Charleston Southern and a sweep of ETSU. The Spartans are 31-6 on the year.
Georgia is 30-8 overall after splitting its doubleheader with Tennessee on April 4. Georgia leads the all-time series, 1-0. The Lady Bulldogs took a 9-1 victory over Upstate last season.
Fans can follow the action online in a variety of ways. Live statistical updates will be available via Gametracker on the official Georgia Athletics website, georgiadogs.com. Live video will also be available for a fee on Georgia's website. All links can also be found on upstatespartans.com. A complete game recap and stats will be posted online at the completion of the game on Upstate's Athletics website.
Upstate is ranked 75th in the latest NCAA RPI report released Monday. Georgia enters the game ranked 16th in the nation in RPI. The new national top 25 polls will be released midday on Tuesday with the Bulldogs expected to remain one of the top-ranked teams in the nation.
Freshman Impact Tops in Nation
To have as many as six freshmen in the starting lineup at one time, which Upstate has had four times this season, is certainly a rarity in college softball. The Spartans are one of five schools in the nation to have started six freshmen. The others are Florida, Minnesota, IUPUI and IPFW. The Spartans have started five freshmen on 31 occasions and four twice.
Upstate Cracks Top 10 in Mid-Major Top 25 Poll
After posting four wins in six games last week, Upstate cracked the top 10 in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 Poll released by midmajorpoll.blogspot.com. The Spartans had been ranked 11th for the last three weeks prior to moving up to No. 10 in this week's poll.
Upstate Tops All South Carolina Schools in RPI
With three wins last week, Upstate moved back atop the RPI standings of all nine Division I softball programs in South Carolina. The Spartans are ranked 75th in the latest report. South Carolina is second in the state at No. 80 and is followed by Coastal Carolina (87), College of Charleston (121), Charleston Southern (127), Winthrop (182), Furman (198), Presbyterian (232) and S.C. State (286).
Spartans Tops in the A-Sun
As the third month of the season begins, Upstate continues to remain one of the top teams in the A-Sun in the league's latest statistical leaders report. The Spartans lead all conference squads in the three main team categories, topping the A-Sun with a .334 batting average, 1.49 ERA and .977 fielding percentage. Individually, Shellie Robinson leads the conference with 12 home runs, 38 runs, 11 doubles, .857 slugging percentage and 96 total bases. Hannah Alexander leads the league with 20 wins, 1.14 ERA and a .189 opponent batting average. The Spartans rank in the top five 27 times in the different main statistical categories.
Upstate Among Nation's Statistical Leaders
When the NCAA released its national statistical report Monday, Upstate found itself among the nation's leaders in several statistical categories. The Spartans rank in the top 20 in six team categories and in the top 50 in 14 individual categories. As a team, Upstate ranks seventh in the nation with a .334 batting average, ninth with a .977 fielding percentage, 11th with a 1.49 ERA, 12th with a .838 winning percentage, 14th with 1.81 stolen bases per game and 19th with 1.46 doubles per game.
Individually, Hannah Alexander ranks fifth in the nation with 20 wins. She is fourth with nine shutouts, 13th with a 1.14 ERA, 20th with 1.19 walks allowed per game, 26th with 160 strikeouts and 45th with 7.9 strikeouts per game. Shellie Robinson ranks 15th with a .857 slugging percentage, 18th with 12 home runs, 24th with three sacrifice flies, 25th with 0.32 home runs per game, 27th with 1.03 runs per game and 44th with 0.3 doubles per game. Lindsey Greeson is 37th with 0.52 stolen bases per game.
The .400 Club
Through 37 games this season, Upstate boasts three players hitting .400 or better for the season. Shellie Robinson leads the way with a .420 batting average. Cheyenne Griffin ranks second with a .402 batting average, while Hayley Reinfeld is third at .400. All three are freshmen for the Spartans.
With its doubleheader sweep of ETSU (April 7), Upstate reached 30 wins for the third-straight year. It also marks the eighth time in the last nine seasons that Upstate has reached 30 wins. The only time the Spartans have failed to win 30 games in the last nine years was in 2009 when Upstate won 29. The Spartans reached the 40-win mark in each of the last two seasons.
Through 37 games this season, Upstate's pitchers have recorded 20 shutouts. In fact, Upstate registered 13 shutouts in the first 14 games of the season. Hannah Alexander tops the team with nine solo shutouts, while Lacey Dinney has four. The Spartans have combined for seven shutouts on the year.
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. They were 25-7 (.781) at home in 2011. Upstate is 190-50 (.792) all-time at home since 2002.
Alexander Upping the Strikeout Totals
Hannah Alexander turned in a solid freshman campaign in 2011 and finished the year with 106 strikeouts in 119.2 innings pitched. She has improved her strikeout totals through the first 37 games of this season and has surpassed her total form a year ago, standing at 160 in 141.0 innings.
Spartans Playing Longball
Behind the power stick of Shellie Robinson, Upstate has seen a power surge this season. The Spartans have connected for 24 home runs in 37 games this season. Last year, Upstate totaled 35 home runs in 55 games. Robinson tops the Spartans with 12 home runs on the year, while Ashley Butler has four and Ericka Harris, Maddison Kieffer and Kendall Settlemyre each have two.
Spartans Terrors on the Base Paths
In the Division II days, head coach Chris Hawkins used speed to put pressure on the opponent's defense while also setting up situations for the hitters to drive in runs. The 2012 team looks like the Spartan teams of old. Through the first 37 games, Upstate has stolen 67 bases, surpassing the season total from last year. Upstate's Division I era record is 95 in 2008.