Spartanburg, S.C. – Anna Miller tossed a five-inning, run-rule shorted no-hitter to lead the USC Upstate softball team to an 8-0 victory over George Mason in the Firehouse Subs Spartan Invitational Friday afternoon. Upstate cruised to a 6-0 victory over George Washington in the nightcap.
Upstate improved to 6-0 on the year with the wins Friday. With poor weather forecasted for Saturday, the Spartans will not play Saturday, but will return to action in the Firehouse Subs Spartan Invitational Sunday afternoon at 3:00 against Samford.
"Anna pitched very well," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "She kept their hitters off balance and was able to pitch effectively. I am excited for her. It feels really good to be able to throw any of our pitchers and feel confident they can do well.
"We played another solid two games today. We hit the ball hard, got good pitching and played very good defense. I am happy with the way we are playing, but expect us to continue to work hard to improve."
Miller (Portland, Ore.), who was a junior college All-American at the College of Siskiyous last year, was simply outstanding. She struck out seven and did not allow a hit en route to picking up the no-hitter in five innings. She becomes the fifth different Spartan to throw a no-hitter in the history of the program.
After two scoreless innings, Upstate broke on top in the third. The Spartans loaded the bases with one out. Shellie Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) and Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) smacked back-to-back RBI singles to give Upstate a 2-0 lead. A bases loaded walk by Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) gave the Spartans a 3-0 lead with one out in the inning.
George Mason tried to get back in the game in the top of the fourth, putting runners on first and second with two outs, but Miller got out of the jam forcing a foul out for the final out.
Upstate added to its lead in the bottom of the fourth. Meredith Barnes (Salem, Ore.) belted a three-run homer and Kieffer added an RBI single to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead. Upstate ended the game in the fifth when Lindsay Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.) drove in a run on a fielder's choice.
Barnes finished the game with two hits and three RBIs to lead Upstate at the plate. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) also picked up two hits.
Upstate jumped on top of George Washington in the first inning in the second game of the day for the Spartans. After putting runners on first and second with two outs, Kieffer slapped a hit through the right side to drive in a run to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.
George Washington attempted to rally in the top of the second. The Colonials loaded the bases with two outs and the top of the order up. However, Upstate starter Hannah Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) got leadoff batter Chelsea Lenhart to strike out to end the threat.
Upstate added to its lead in the third inning, scoring two unearned runs. Robinson picked up a sacrifice fly to highlight the inning as the Spartans opened a 3-0 lead. Dana Landers (Simpsonville, S.C.) extended the Upstate lead to 4-0 on an RBI single in the fourth. Barnes had a sacrifice fly and Harris followed with an RBI hit later in the inning to give the Spartans a 6-0 advantage. All three runs scored in the fourth were unearned as well.
After Upstate took command of the game in the fourth, neither team put together any offense and the Spartans took the 6-0 win. Alexander went five innings, scattering three hits and striking out eight to improve to 3-0 on the year. Jamie Ujvari ((Niceville, Fla.) closed out the game with two scoreless innings of relief.
Griffin and Landers led Upstate at the plate with a pair of hits.
Due to the forecasted cold weather and threat of bad weather Saturday and into Sunday, the schedule for the remainder of the tournament has been changed. Please see below for the tournament schedule.
Firehouse Subs Spartan Invitational
Friday, February 15
12:00 p.m. – George Mason 3, Winthrop 1
2:00 p.m. – Upstate 8, George Mason 0
4:00 p.m. – Winthrop 1, Samford 0
6:00 p.m. – Bowling Green 1, George Washington 0
8:00 p.m. – Upstate 6, George Washington 0
Saturday, February 16
12:00 p.m. – Samford vs. George Washington
2:00 p.m. – Bowling Green vs. George Mason
Sunday, February 17
11:00 a.m. – Samford vs. Bowling Green
1:00 p.m. – George Mason vs. George Washington
3:00 p.m. – Samford vs. Upstate