Spartanburg, S.C. – For the first time in program history, the USC Upstate softball team has been ranked in the Top 25 in back-to-back weeks, coming in at No. 24 in the USA Today/NFCA poll and No. 25 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll.
In addition to the national rankings, Upstate senior left fielder Meredith Barnes has been named the CollegeSportsMadness.com A-Sun Player of the Week.
Upstate garnered its first-ever national ranking in a major Top 25 poll last year when it entered the NFCA poll in April and held the ranking for a week. This season, the Spartans made it another first when they were ranked in both major Top 25 polls on March 4 and then reentered the poll last week, marking the first time Upstate held a ranking for more than one week in the same season. With this week's ranking, it marks the first time the Spartans have earned a Top 25 ranking in back-to-back weeks.
Upstate strengthened its hold in the Top 25 in the NFCA poll, receiving 80 votes to remain at No. 24. Last week, the Spartans received 45 votes in the poll. They are sandwiched between Auburn and Northwestern, 23 votes ahead of Northwestern and five votes behind Auburn. Upstate also received more votes in the USA Softball poll this week, garnering 36 votes to stand No. 25, increasing the vote total by two over last week. The Spartans are three votes shy of LSU at No. 24 and eight votes shy of Auburn at No. 23.
In addition to the two major Top 25 polls, Upstate is ranked No. 18 in the CollegeSportsMadness.com Top 25 poll and Barnes was named the website's A-Sun Player of the Week. Barnes hit .538 in four games last week with seven hits, including two doubles, with seven RBIs and six runs to lead Upstate to a 3-1 week with a sweep of A-Sun foe Northern Kentucky and a 3-1 loss at No. 13 Georgia.
Upstate will return to action this weekend in a key three-game A-Sun series against Kennesaw State Friday and Saturday at Cyrill Stadium. Friday's doubleheader starts at 2:00 p.m. and Saturday's single game begins at 1:00. The games are the final home games of the season for Upstate and the Spartans will honor seniors Hannah Alexander, Meredith Barnes, Lindsay Kelly, Anna Miller and Erin Schattle in a pregame ceremony Saturday.