Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate softball team reached the 40-win plateau for the fifth straight year on Sunday afternoon as the Spartans closed out the regular season with a doubleheader sweep of the North Florida Ospreys at Cyrill Stadium.
Upstate improves to 41-11 on the season and 14-4 in league play, while North Florida falls to 30-25 overall and 9-9 in the conference.
The Spartans earned the doubleheader sweep by scores of 4-3 and 4-2. The teams resumed game two of the series from Saturday after being postponed by rain and followed with the regular season finale.
- Bottom 1st – Abbie Millete gave Upstate a 1-0 lead with her two-out RBI single to right field. Ansley Gilstrap led off the inning with a walk and moved to third base on back-to-back groundouts.
- Bottom 3rd – The Spartans extended their lead to 2-0 on an RBI double down the right field line by Brittany Case. The double by Case followed another double from Megan Obier, who scored on Case's hit.
- Bottom 4th – Upstate made it a 3-0 game in the fourth after Gilstrap singled home Erin Hill, who was pinch-running for Kayla Hussey.
- Top 6th – The Ospreys scored three times to tie the game at 3-3 in the sixth. Two of the runs came off an RBI double to center field by Kayla McGory. McGory then scored after Dominica Cocuzza reached on a Spartan fielding error.
- Bottom 7th – Case won the game for Upstate with one out in the seventh. The first two Spartans reached base as Kendsey Chappelear walked and Gilstrap was hit by a pitch. Chappelear scored the game-winning run as Case hit a 2-1 offering over the North Florida left fielder, dropping for a double to put the final score at 4-3.
- Upstate picked up its 40th win of the season for the fifth consecutive year dating back to 2013. The Spartans are the first ASUN school to have at least five straight 40-win seasons since Florida Atlantic from 1997-2004.
- Holly McKinnon (22-7) earned the win in relief tossing 1.2 scoreless innings and did not allow a hit or walk while striking out one.
- Upstate starter Lexi Shubert went 5.1 innings and surrendered three runs (two earned) on three hits, three walks and six strikeouts.
- Meghan Jeffrey (0-1) took the loss allowing one run on one hit, one walk and one strikeout in 2.1 innings of relief.
- Case led the Spartans offensively with a 2-for-4 performance with two RBI.
- Gilstrap and Millete both contributed one hit and one RBI.
- McGory went 2-for-3 with two RBI and one run scored for the Ospreys.
- Bottom 1st – Upstate took an early 1-0 lead in the first on an RBI single to right field by Ryan Rector. Gilstrap was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and went to third on a stolen base and groundout.
- Top 2nd – North Florida went in front 2-1 on a two-run homer to left center field by Cocuzza.
- Bottom 2nd – The Spartans answered back with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second to take the lead again at 3-2. Chappelear recorded an RBI single to right field while Karla Beasley scored off an Osprey throwing error.
- Bottom 6th – Upstate added an insurance run in the sixth to lead 4-2. Rector began things with her leadoff double to right center field and came home on Beasley's RBI sacrifice fly.
- The Spartans finished the season with 25 wins at Cyrill Stadium for the second straight year. The 25 wins match the mark set in 2011, 2013 and 2016.
- McKinnon (23-7) picked up her third win of the series after giving up two runs on two hits, one walk and eight strikeouts.
- Shubert (4) secured the save throwing 2.2 scoreless innings of relief and allowed three hits, no walks and three strikeouts.
- Amanda Blanchard (7-4) suffered the loss after pitching six innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits, no walks and one strikeout.
- Rector finished with a game-high two hits for Upstate and drove in one run along with Beasley and Chappelear.
- Cocuzza went 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead the Ospreys offensively.
- The Spartans are the top seed for the 2017 ASUN Softball Championship and will face the winner of the Florida Gulf Coast/Lipscomb game on Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. EST at Lipscomb's Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium.