March 10, 2013

Ujvari Tosses No-Hitter as Upstate Pounds UNF

Game Box

Spartanburg, S.C. – Number 18. That's the number USC Upstate freshman pitcher Jamie Ujvari wears on her uniform. After her performance on Sunday, it is also the number of no-hitters pitched in the history of the Upstate softball program as Ujvari tossed a no-hitter to lead an explosive Spartan attack to a 13-0 victory over North Florida in the third game of the three-game series at Cyrill Stadium.

Ujvari got the no-hitter in five innings as the Upstate bats exploded for 13 runs on 16 hits to down the Ospreys. She is the fifth player to earn a no-no in five innings and the second this season after Anna Miller (Portland, Ore.) tossed a no-hitter in five innings in the 8-0 win over George Washington on Feb. 15.

"It feels great (to pitch the no-hitter)," said Ujvari. "All of our pitchers are capable of doing what I did today. We work so hard with Coach Pauly (Upstate pitching coach). Hitting your spots is key and that is what I tried to work on doing. I tried to hit my spots and knew the defense had my back and that we would score runs with our bats."

Upstate improved to 16-2 overall and 2-1 in the A-Sun with the win, taking the series from UNF. The Spartans will be back in action hosting A-Sun foe Northern Kentucky for the first time ever Tuesday in a doubleheader that starts at 2:00 p.m. at Cyrill Stadium. UNF fell to 20-7 overall and 1-2 in the league.

"I was real proud how we came out and swung the bat well," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "It is important to get up early in A-Sun games. It sets the tone for the rest of the game. Jamie has really stepped up. What a phenomenal set of performances in her last three outings, and getting the no-hitter today only punctuated how she has pitched. North Florida has a very good pitching staff and hitting team, and doing this well against them is really exciting as we get ready for the rest of the season."

After a scoreless first inning, Upstate got its offense on-track with four doubles in the second. Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) led off the inning with a double. Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) followed with a single to put runners on first and third with no outs. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) then cranked a two-run double to right center to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead.

The Spartans made it a 3-0 game with their third double of the inning when Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) drove a two-bagger into right field for an RBI. That was all it took to chase UNF starter Kaylie Wallace from the game. Wallace was strong in the circle on Saturday, pitching a 1-0 shutout against the Spartans.

New pitcher Kayla Goff couldn't hold down Upstate in the second either, surrendering an RBI single to Barnes and a two-run double to Shellie Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) as the Spartans opened a 6-0 lead. Goff was taken out of the game and replaced with Cortney Radke, the third Osprey to pitch in the inning as Upstate hit around.

Upstate kept it rolling and put the game away with another six-run inning in the third. The Spartans put runners at second and third following back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt. Settlemyre followed with an RBI single to left to give the Spartans a 7-0 lead. Upstate made it an 8-0 game when Harris scored from third on an error by the UNF shortstop. The Spartans loaded the bases with two outs and Robinson up. Robinson delivered the biggest blow of the frame with a grand slam to give the Spartans an 12-0 lead. It was her sixth home run of the season.

Kieffer kept the offensive express rolling, pounding a solo home run to center to lead off the fourth inning and give Upstate a 13-0 lead. The Spartans loaded the bases with one out, forcing Radke out of the game and returning Wallace to the circle for the Ospreys. Wallace did her job, getting the next two batters on a force out fielder's choice and a ground out to keep the score at 13-0.

Ujvari started the seventh having allowed just three base runners on the day on two walks and a fielder's choice. She struck out the first batter in the frame, then got the biggest defensive play of the day from Settlemyre. UNF pinch hitter Rachel Engel smashed a hard liner at the head of Settlemyre who used quick reflexes to snag the line drive for the second out of the inning. Ujvari then struck out pinch hitter Lauren Pollack for the third out of the inning and her first career no-hitter.

"That play by Kendall was breathtaking, really," said Ujvari. "It really helped me out. It was a great catch."

A day after striking out a career-high nine batters in the 5-0 win over UNF in game two of Saturday's doubleheader split with UNF, Ujvari struck out seven Sunday. She picked up her third win of the week with Sunday's victory.

Robinson led Upstate at the plate, finishing with two hits and six RBIs, four coming on her grand slam. Harris was 3-for-3 with a pair of RBIs, while Settlemyre and Barnes also had a pair of hits for the Spartans.

Wallace took the loss for UNF. She gave up four runs on four hits in two innings to fall to 8-3 on the year.

Follow the Spartans on your mobile device, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.