Charleston, S.C. – Just hours after rescuing Upstate in a strong relief appearance against Georgetown, USC Upstate's Morgan Childers tossed a complete game and struck out 15 batters to lead the Spartans to a 5-2 victory over Charleston Southern in the championship game of the Lowcountry Invitational Saturday afternoon at Charleston Southern.
Childers (Kings Mountain, N.C.) improved to 16-0 with the win. She earned MVP honors after going 3-0 in the tournament, making three appearances and striking out 34 batters in 18 innings of work.
Upstate improved to 22-0 on the year with the win. It marks the best start since the 2000 team went 28-0 to begin the season. The Spartans have played in four tournaments this season and have won all four. Childers earned her second MVP honor this season, earning the same honors last week as Upstate claimed the title at the Campus Suites Spartan Classic at Upstate. The Spartans will take on North Carolina A&T Monday afternoon at 2:30 at Cyrill Stadium.
"It is pleasing to know that our team keeps driving through, making correct decisions and working really well as a team," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "They motivate each other. I believe our success is largely due to those factors. Morgan was outstanding all weekend long and deserves MVP honors, and I am very pleased with how well Janna Lewis is playing."
Upstate, which was the home team because it was the No. 1 seed after pool play, started quickly at the plate when Kim Brasil (Mississauga, Ontario) led off the first inning with a triple. She scored on Katie Zauner's (Canby, Ore.) RBI single. Lauren Quevedo (Wellington, Fla.) drove in Zauner from second later in the inning as the Spartans took a 2-0 lead.
Charleston Southern (8-11) got a run back in the second inning on Jane Matthews' solo home run to center, but Upstate responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame. Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) smacked a two-run single up the middle to drive in two runs as the Spartans opened a 4-1 lead.
Charleston Southern cut into Upstate's lead with a run in the fourth inning. After Childers struck out the first two batters, Trea Stele reached on an error. She later scored on Stephanie Sbardella's double to get the Buccaneers within 4-2. Upstate added to its cushion in the fourth inning on Cheyanna Ohlrich's (North Bend, ore.) RBI double, making it a 5-2 game.
Charleston Southern attempted to rally in the seventh inning. Childers struck out the first batter in the inning, but Ari Tedesco reached on an error. After another strikeout, Childers allowed a hit and hit a batter to load the bases. However, the senior hurler induced a force play on a ground ball to end the threat and the game.
Erica Kaufman (Moncks Corner, S.C.) and Quevedo each collected two hits in the game, while Lewis added two RBIs to lead the Spartans at the plate.
Megan Lombard led Charleston Southern with two hits. Buccaneer starter Morgan Dowdy went the distance, allowing five runs on 10 Upstate hits to fall to 2-7 on the year.