Upstate Heads to Music City for 2017 ASUN Softball Championship

Upstate Heads to Music City for 2017 ASUN Softball Championship

Tournament Notes (.pdf) | Tournament Central

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate softball team will open play at the 2017 ASUN Softball Championship on Thursday afternoon in Nashville, Tenn., and it will do so as the No. 1 seed in the tournament. The Spartans will attempt to win their fourth tournament championship in five seasons and earn the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Upstate will play the winner of the game between No. 4 Florida Gulf Coast and No. 5 Lipscomb on Thursday, May 11 at 1:30 p.m. EST.

The ASUN Softball Championship is being hosted by Lipscomb with all games taking place at Draper Diamond at Smith Stadium May 10-13. The Spartans enter the tournament as the top seed for the first time since 2015 after winning their fourth ASUN Regular Season Championship in program history. Upstate finished the regular season with a 14-4 conference mark and went 41-11 overall. The Spartans secured their fifth straight 40-win season in 2017 and became the first ASUN school since Florida Atlantic from 1997-2004 to have at least five consecutive 40-win campaigns.

Upstate earned 11 postseason honors from the conference on Tuesday highlighted by unanimous Pitcher of the Year Holly McKinnon, Defensive Player of the Year Megan Obier and Coach of the Year Chris Hawkins. In addition to the individual award winners, McKinnon was named First Team All-Conference (unanimous) along with Ansley Gilstrap and Ryan Rector. Obier was joined on Second Team All-Conference by Lexi Shubert, Abbie Millete and Brittany Case. Alicia Dorgan earned a unanimous spot on the All-Freshman Team.

Shubert was also named the ASUN Scholar-Athlete of the Year for the second time in her career and is the first two-time recipient of the award in conference history. Millete and Gilstrap were also selected to the All-Academic Team along with Shubert.

The Spartans currently have the best pitching staff in the ASUN this season, and seventh nationally, boasting a 1.38 team earned run average, and is second with 364 strikeouts and 7.29 strikeouts per seven innings. Millete leads the team offensively with a .336 average and eight home runs, while Karla Beasley has a team-high 36 RBI. McKinnon is 23-7 with a conference-leading 1.28 ERA and Shubert is 17-4 overall to go with a 1.52 ERA.

As one of the top-two seeds in the tournament, Upstate owns a first round bye on Wednesday. The ASUN Softball Championship field is made up of No. 1 USC Upstate, No. 2 Kennesaw State, No. 3 North Florida, No. 4 Florida Gulf Coast, No. 5 Lipscomb and No. 6 Jacksonville.

Fans can follow the action this week on www.upstatespartans.com via live stats. All games at the ASUN Softball Championship are being streamed on WatchESPN and the ESPN app. Updates will also be posted on the Upstate softball Twitter page (@UpstateSoftball).

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