Nashville, Tenn. – With three hits to lead the USC Upstate softball team to an 8-1 win in game one, Shellie Robinson broke the Division I era school record for hits. She and the Spartans went on for a doubleheader sweep at Belmont to close out the regular season and clinch the third seed in the upcoming A-Sun Tournament next week at Cyril Stadium. Upstate won by scores of 8-1 and 8-0.
Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) entered the day with 60 hits, two shy of the Division I school record of 62 held by Crislyn Chewning in 2010. She collected three hits in the first game to break the record. She also tied the Division I school record for runs, 48, alongside Kim Brasil in 2010.
Upstate improved to 39-11 overall and 12-6 in the A-Sun with the win. The Spartans will enter the A-Sun Tournament as the No. 3 seed and will open play Wednesday evening at 5:30 pm. The Spartans' opponent will be determined later tonight. Belmont fell to 13-36 overall and 7-11 in the A-Sun.
"It's really good to see us clicking the way we are heading into the tournament. This is a special group of girls who understand what it takes to win. I couldn't be more proud of them," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins.
Upstate jumped all over Belmont in the first inning of game one. Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) led off the game with a solo home run. By the time the Spartans were over, they took a 3-0 lead out of the frame. Following a Hayley Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla.) single, Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) doubled to drive in Reinfeld. Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) followed with an RBI single.
Griffin struck again in the third inning, belting a solo home run to left to give the Spartans a 4-0 lead. Upstate made it a 5-0 lead in the fourth inning on Reinfeld's sacrifice fly.
Belmont got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Ashley Byers hit a solo home run to lead off the inning.
Upstate, though, put any thoughts of a Belmont comeback out of the realm of possibility with three runs in the top of the seventh. Katelyn Molkenthin (Valrico, Fla.) doubled to drive in a run and later scored on a double steal. Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) followed with an RBI single as the Spartans opened an 8-1 lead.
Upstate pounded out 15 hits in the game, scoring eight runs in the dominant win. Haley Sheehan (Graniteville, S.C.) led the way with three hits. Molkenthin was 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Robinson also finished with three hits, a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Griffin added a pair of hits with two runs and two RBIs. Lewis also had a pair of hits.
Alexander was strong, allowing just four base runners and giving up just two hits in the win. She improved to 26-5 on the year with the win, 10-2 in conference play. Be
lmont starter Mia Vierra allowed eight runs on 15 Upstate hits, falling to 10-16 with the loss.Upstate scored first in the second game. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) doubled with two outs to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. The Spartans loaded the bases with two outs in the second inning when Reinfeld smacked a two-run single to give Upstate a 3-0 lead.
Molkenthin continued to have a torrid day and gave Upstate a 5-0 lead with a two-run single up the middle in the third inning. Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) followed with an RBI single to give the Spartans a 6-0 advantage.
Upstate wasn't done. Sheehan collected an infield single to drive in a run and Reinfeld drove in a run on a sacrifice fly to give the Spartans an 8-0 lead in the third. Upstate scored five runs in the inning.
Robinson saved Upstate's eight-run advantage when she threw out Heather Turner at the plate for the third out of the inning in the bottom of the fourth.
Upstate starter Casee Clauser (Ladera Beach, Calif.) was strong in the circle. She allowed just three hits and struck out five to earn the complete-game win in five innings. She improved to 4-3 on the year. Belmont starter Becca Gift took the loss to fall to 3-19.
Reinfeld led Upstate at the plate with two hits and three RBIs. Molkenthin and Kieffer each finished with two. The Spartans collected 11 hits in the game and 26 on the day.