Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate cleared the fences nine times on the day to break the program's all-time season record for home runs en route to a doubleheader sweep against North Florida in A-Sun softball action Saturday afternoon at Cyrill Stadium. Both games ended early as the Spartans won game one, 9-1, in five innings and game two, 15-4, in five.
Upstate has now hit 61 home runs on the year and has cleared the fences in 29 of 30 games this season. The only game in which Upstate failed to hit a homer was at No. 9 Florida State in a 2-0 loss. The 61 home runs on the year broke the all-time program record of 60 hit last season en route to a 46-9 record and the regular season A-Sun championship. Dana Landers had two of Upstate's home runs on the day. The Spartans entered the weekend ranked fifth in the country in home runs per game.
Upstate improved to 24-6 overall and 7-1 in the A-Sun with the sweep Saturday. North Florida fell to 21-17 overall and 3-5 in the conference. The teams will wrap-up their three-game conference series Sunday at 1 p.m.
Game 1 – Upstate 9, North Florida 1
Upstate threatened in each of the first two innings, but could not put anything together as the game went to the third in a scoreless tie. The Spartans put runners on first and second with one out and second and third with two outs in both innings, but UNF starter Kayla Goff got out of both innings unscathed.
Upstate threatened again in the third inning. This time, the Spartans cashed in. Aly Schneider reached on a single through the right side and Cheyenne Griffin followed with a single to put runners on first and second. Karla Beasley drove a double off the wall in left center to score Schneider from second with the game's first run. It started a huge inning for the Spartans.
Landers cleared the bases with a three-run homer to center to give the Spartans a 4-0 lead. Kendall Settlemyre made it back-to-back homers with a solo shot to center as Upstate opened a 5-0 advantage. UNF used three pitchers in the third inning. Goff gave way to Kaylie Wallace. After allowing the back-to-back homers, Wallace was lifted for Geneva Santos.
UNF battled right back and cut into the Upstate lead in the fourth. After two singles in the first three batters, Abby Tewey slapped a double to right center to drive in a run and cut the Spartan lead to 5-1. The Ospreys had runners on second and third, but Upstate starter Lexi Shubert got back-to-back ground outs to put an end to any thoughts of more runs crossing the plate for the Ospreys.
The homer parade continued in the fourth inning when Griffin and Beasley belted back-to-back home runs to give the Spartans a 7-1 lead. The Spartans ended the game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning. Kaitlyn Jaeger lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score the first run of the inning. After loading the bases, Griffin belted a single that hit off the top of the wall to score the game's final run as Upstate won, 9-1. The ball missed being a grand slam by less than an inch.
Griffin finished the game 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs to lead Upstate at the plate. Settlemyre, Beasley and Reinfeld each had a pair of hits. Shubert went the distance and improved to 16-4. She allowed just one run on four Osprey hits with three strikeouts. Goff took the loss for UNF and fell to 10-6.
Game 2 – Upstate 15, North Florida 4
After a scoreless inning in the first, Upstate opened the scoring in a big way in the second. The Spartans sent 11 batters to the plate, batting around to open a 7-0 lead. The Spartans loaded the bases with one out and Jaeger and Shellie Robinson drew back-to-back walks to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. Schneider then cleared the bases with a three-run double to left center. Two more runs crossed the plate on Beasley's single up the middle as Upstate took early command.
North Florida responded in the third inning, plating two Ospreys to cut into the Upstate lead. Shelby Duncan singled to left to drive in a run and another Osprey scored on the play after an error in the outfield.
Upstate, though, got the runs back and more in the bottom of the third. Robinson singled down the line with a runner on third to drive in a run and Schneider followed with a two-run homer to left as the Spartans opened a 10-2 advantage.
Upstate wasn't done. The Spartans used the long ball to plate five more runs in the fourth inning. Landers, Lindsey Greeson and Paris Prusak each belted solo home runs. Greeson's homer was the second of the week for the senior and the second of her entire life. Robinson then belted a two-run homer to give the Spartans a 15-2 lead. The home run broke the Upstate single season school record with 61.
UNF got a couple runs back in the fifth on Stacy McClelland's two-out, two-run homer to left center to get within 15-4, but Upstate starter Amanda Storch got the final out to end the game in five. Storch improved to 7-2 on the year with the win after allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits. She struck out five. Goff took her second loss of the day after allowing seven runs on five Upstate hits.
Schneider had a monster game in game two, finishing 3-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs. Prusak was 3-for-3 with three runs, while Robinson and Landers each had two hits. Robinson drove in four runs and scored three times.