Seniors Deliver Split for Spartans Against Hatters
Spartanburg, S.C. – When the USC Upstate softball team needed it the most, two seniors delivered as Haley Sheehan and Janna Lewis led the Spartans to a 4-2 win in game two of its doubleheader split with Stetson Sunday afternoon at Cyrill Stadium. The Hatters claimed the 5-2 win in game one.
Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) drove in the tying runs in the second game and Sheehan (Graniteville, S.C.) delivered the game-winning hit.
"The seniors really stepped today when we needed them too," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "It was good to see them get that win in the second game on Senior Day. Casee pitched really well and helped us a lot."
Upstate improved to 36-10 overall and 9-5 in the A-Sun with the win. The Spartans will now take a week off for exams before traveling to Nashville, Tenn., to take on Lipscomb and Belmont on May 4-5. Stetson is 23-18 overall and 8-8 in the league.
Stetson jumped on top with a run in the top of the first on Meredith Owen's solo home run to center. However, Upstate tied the game in the second when Shellie Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) hit her 14th homer of the season, a solo shot that tied the game at 1-1. She was intentionally walked the next two times up.
Upstate broke on top in the fifth inning. Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) started things off with a walk and moved to second on Hayley Reinfeld's (Parkland, Fla.) sacrifice bunt. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) then followed with an RBI-single to give the Spartans a 2-1 lead. The Spartans later loaded the bases with one out, but could not push another run across and took a 2-1 lead into the sixth.
Stetson, though, battled back in the next inning and Hatter starting pitcher Courtney Brandt helped herself with a two-run homer to give the Hatters a 3-2 lead. Upstate attempted to tie the game or take the lead in the bottom of the sixth, putting two runners on with one out and loading the bases with two, but Brandt got out of the jam.
Stetson added to its lead with two runs in the top of the seventh when Owen hit her second home run of the game. The two-run shot gave the Hatters a 5-2 lead. The Hatters scored four late runs to do the damage in the game.
Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) led off the seventh with a double, but Brandt got the next three batters out in order to get the win. The freshman improved to 10-8 on the year. She gave up two runs on five Upstate hits. Alexander took the loss for the Spartans, her first as a starter in A-Sun play this season. She fell to 24-5 on the year, giving up five runs on nine Stetson hits.
Harris led Upstate at the plate with a pair of hits. Owen led Stetson with three hits, three RBIs and two runs.
Upstate started the second game of the doubleheader with seven freshmen in the starting lineup. The Spartans are the only team in the nation to have started seven freshmen and one of only five to start six.
Stetson took an early lead in the second game as well. Chelsey Trotto doubled to drive in a run to give the Hatters a 1-0 lead in the first. Stetson added to the lead in the second on Chrissy Morello's RBI single.
Upstate got back in the game in the third inning. Robinson and Harris collected back-to-back singles with one out and advanced a base on Griffin's fly out to center. Lewis followed with a two-run single to tie the game at 2-2.
Upstate jumped on top in the fourth inning when Sheehan singled with the bases loaded to drive in two runs, giving the Spartans a 4-2 lead. Upstate had the bases loaded with one out following Sheehan's hit, but couldn't push anything else across.
The teams were then pulled from the field as the game went into a weather delay for two hours. The game resumed with Upstate coming to bat to begin the bottom of the fifth.
Neither team could get anything going offensively after the rain delay and 30 minutes after play resumed, Upstate closed out the game for the 4-2 win. Casee Clauser (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) earned the win in the circle, tossing four innings of relief, scattering two hits to improve to 3-2 on the year.
Sheehan finished with two hits to lead Upstate at the plate. Dana Landers (Simpsonville, S.C.) also collected a pair of hits, while Lewis and Sheehan accounted for two RBIs apiece.
Morello finished with three hits to lead Stetson at the plate. Hatter starter Meredith Owen went the distance. She took the loss to fall to 13-10 on the season.