March 29, 2013

Alexander Leads Spartans to Sweep at Kennesaw State

Game One Box (PDF) | Game Two Box (PDF)
Game One Photo Gallery | Game Two Photo Gallery

Kennesaw, Ga. – Hannah Alexander picked up her second consecutive one-hitter to get the win in game one and earned the save in game two as the USC Upstate softball team swept Kennesaw State in an A-Sun doubleheader Friday at Bobbie Bailey Softball Stadium.

Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) picked up her 11th win of the season with a 10-0 victory in five innings in the first game and earned her second save of 2013 with her effort in the second game. Meredith Barnes (Salem, Ore.) highlighted Upstate's offensive showing, belting a pair of solo home runs in the second game as Upstate hit three dingers in the nightcap to take a 4-3 victory.

Upstate improved to 27-3 overall and 9-1 in the A-Sun with the sweep. Kennesaw State fell to 23-9 overall and 7-4 in the league. The teams will complete the three-game A-Sun series with a single game starting at 1:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

"Offensively, we are seeing the ball really well. Defensively, we want the ball hit to us and make big plays. It is really fun to be associated with this group of players," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins.

Upstate jumped on top of Kennesaw State early in the game and scored a run in each of the first four innings to open a commanding 8-0 lead in the first game.

The Spartans started things off when Dana Landers (Simpsonville, S.C.) singled with the bases loaded and two outs to give Upstate a 2-0 lead in the first. The Spartans added to the lead with a run in the second on Barnes' RBI double in the second.

Upstate put the game out of reach in the third inning, sending four Spartans across the plate to open a 7-0 lead. After Upstate loaded the bases on a hit, walk and error, Hayley Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla.) doubled to drive in two runs. Barnes followed with an RBI single and Reinfeld scored on a wild pitch to do the damage in the inning.

Upstate was not done, plating a pair of runs in the fourth to open a 9-0 advantage over Kennesaw State. Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) singled to drive in a run and later scored when Reinfeld reached on an error. The Spartans made it a 10-0 game when Shellie Robinson (DeLand, Fla.) doubled and later scored on an error in the fifth.

While Upstate's bats were on fire, Alexander was outstanding in the circle. She allowed just one hit and two walks and struck out two Owls to earn the win for Upstate. She improved to 11-2 on the year with her 20th career shutout. Kennesaw State starter Monica Vickery allowed four runs on seven hits to take the loss and fall to 2-2 on the year.

Kieffer led a potent Upstate offensive attack in the first game, finishing with three hits. Harris, Robinson and Reinfeld each had a pair of hits, while Reinfeld was one of three Spartans with two RBIs.

The second game started much different than the first with Upstate starter Jamie Ujvari (Niceville, Fla.) and Kennesaw State starter Abbey Mixon engaging in a pitcher's duel. In fact, neither team cracked the scoreboard in the first three innings.

That changed when Barnes cranked a solo home run to left in the top of the fourth to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead. It was her fourth home run of the season and the 30th for Upstate this year.

Kennesaw State responded in the bottom of the fifth inning. After putting two runners on with two outs, Natalie Rhodes hit a triple that brought in two runs to give the Owls a 2-1 lead.

Upstate, though, quickly answered by using the long ball to score three runs in the top of the sixth and take a 4-2 lead. Barnes started things off with her second solo homer of the game to tie the game at 2-2. It was the third time this season a Spartan has hit two home runs in the same game. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) followed with a double and Robinson put the Spartans on top, 4-2, with her two-run homer. It was her eighth of the season and the 32nd for the Spartans.

In a vastly entertaining game, Kennesaw State put runners on first and second with one out in the bottom of the sixth. Hawkins replaced Ujvari with Alexander and the junior got a pop up to short and a called third strike strikeout to get out of the inning and maintain the Spartans' 4-2 lead.

lexander started the bottom of the seventh by getting a called third strike strikeout and got a ground out she fielded herself for the second out. After allowing an Owl to reach, Sara Sikes followed with an RBI double to cut the Upstate lead to 4-3 with two outs. However, Alexander ended the game by inducing a fly out to right for the third out.

Barnes led the way at the plate with two hits, two RBIs and two runs. Ujvari improved to a perfect 12-0 on the year with the win. She allowed two runs on six hits with two strikeouts. Mison took the loss to fall to 8-5 on the year, allowing four runs on eight Upstate hits.

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