Clearwater, Fla. – The USC Upstate softball team began play at the USF-Under Armour Invitational on Friday by going 1-1 highlighted by a tournament-opening victory over the Army West Point Black Knights at the Eddie C. Moore Complex.
Upstate opened the tournament with a 2-1 victory over Army West Point before falling in game two against the Central Michigan Chippewas 5-1.
The Spartans now sit at 20-4 on the season while the Black Knights fell to 11-5 overall and the Chippewas improved to 12-7.
- Top 1st – Upstate jumped out to a 1-0 lead over Army West Point just two batters into the game. Ansley Gilstrap led off with a triple to right center field and scored the next at-bat when Ryan Rector flied out to center field.
- Top 5th – Karla Beasley extended the Spartans lead to 2-0 with one out in the fifth with her RBI double to left center field. Rector drew a one-out walk and scored from first on the double from Beasley.
- Bottom 7th – The Black Knights trimmed Upstate's lead to 2-1 in their half of the seventh. Emily Ballesteros singled home Emily Gray, who began the inning with a double to center field.
- Holly McKinnon (9-2) tossed her sixth complete game of the season after limiting Army West Point to one run on seven hits, two walks and six strikeouts.
- Kristen West (3-1) suffered the loss after pitching five innings and gave up two runs on three hits, six walks and one strikeout.
- Gilstrap, Beasley, Megan Obier and Brittany Case all had one hit to lead the Spartans offensively.
- Rector and Beasley both drove in one run.
- Lacey Swafford recorded a game-high two hits for the Black Knights while Ballesteros contributed one RBI.
- The first two meetings all-time between Upstate and Army West Point have now been decided by one run. The Spartans defeated the Black Knights 3-2 last season in Clearwater, Fla. to wrap up the Under Armour Showcase.
- Top 1st – Central Michigan scored the game's first run to take a 1-0 lead over Upstate after Lacy Tolfree scored on a wild pitch.
- Top 2nd – The Chippewas added two more runs the following inning to extend its lead to 3-0. Sydney Heath began the scoring with her RBI triple and later scored on a wild pitch.
- Bottom 4th – The Spartans cut their deficit to 3-1 in the fourth when Case came home as part of a double steal with Kristen Wright.
- Top 5th – Central Michigan added a single run to go back in front by three runs, 4-1, on an RBI single to center field by Erika Underwood.
- Top 7th – The Chippewas made it a 5-1 contest in the seventh after Tolfree crossed the plate on a squeeze bunt by Maison Kalina.
- Rachel Knapp (7-3) picked up the victory after tossing a complete game while allowing one run (none earned) on four hits, two walks and 12 strikeouts.
- Lexi Shubert (10-2) took the loss surrendering three runs on two hits, two walks and no strikeouts in 1.1 inning of work.
- Erin Hill came on in relief of Shubert in the second inning and had a career-long outing of 5.2 innings and struck out a career-high four batters.
- Case recorded a team-leading two hits in three plate appearances for Upstate.
- Underwood was one of three Central Michigan players to post two hits along with Allison Curtis and Evelyn Lorimer.
- Kalina, Underwood and Heath all had one RBI for the Chippewas.
- The Spartans face Purdue (2 p.m.) and Saint Joseph's (6:30 p.m.) on Saturday during day two of the USF-Under Armour Invitational.