April 12, 2008

Upstate Plays Long Ball In Sweep Of Eagles

April 12, 2008

Box Score - Game 1
Box Score - Game 2

Spartanburg, S.C. - On the day that Upstate honored three seniors who have been instrumental in building a foundation for the program, it was a quartet of underclassmen who stepped up to make sure the seniors went out on top as Upstate hammered out four home runs en route to a sweep of A-Sun front runner Florida Gulf Coast Saturday evening at Cyrill Stadium. Upstate won game one, 6-4, and claimed a 7-3 victory in game two.

Upstate improved to 29-12 overall and 13-5 in the A-Sun. The Spartans also extended their winning streak to a season-high 10 games. Florida Gulf Coast fell to 45-13 overall and 13-3 in the conference. The Spartans are tied with the Eagles in the win column, but are two games behind in the loss column.

Shay Slater is Upstate's all-time stolen bases leader.


Upstate seniors Vanesa Flores, Tiffany Pitcher and Shay Slater played their final games in front of the home crowd at Cyrill Stadium. The Spartans will play their final four doubleheaders on the road starting next Saturday at A-Sun foe Lipscomb in Nashville, Tenn. Slater reached two more career records Saturday. With a stolen base in the first game, she moved to the top of the all-time list with 128, standing alone at the top of the list. Her sacrifice fly in game two gave her 11 for her career, tying the all-time mark.

"I could not be more proud of the effort the team put out there today," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "We swept a very good team today. I thought we played well in all facets of the game. We got key hits up and down the lineup and you can not say enough about how Lauren (Quevedo) and Courtney (Feldon) have come through in the clutch for us. While we still have eight more games to play this year, I am thrilled that the seniors, all of whom also came up with key plays offensively and on defense, were able to go out with two wins on their day. We swept all four Florida teams we played this year (Jacksonville, North Florida, Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast). With the type of talent they have in that state, that is saying something."

Florida Gulf Coast jumped on top with a two-run home run off the bat of Cheyenne Jenks in the top of the first inning in game one. However, Upstate got a run back in the bottom of the frame when Heidi Gibbs scored on a wild pitch. Upstate took a 3-2 lead in the second inning when Gibbs delivered a two-run double. Freshman Courtney Feldon made it a 4-2 ball game in the third inning when she led off the inning with a solo home run to right center. Ana Mitchell later singled to drive in a run as Upstate opened a 5-2 lead after three innings.

Upstate added another run in the fifth inning when Pitcher scored on a strikeout/wild pitch with the bases loaded to give the Spartans a 6-2 lead. FGCU cut the Upstate lead to 6-3 with a run in the sixth inning on Samantha Waldron's solo homer. In the seventh, Upstate starter and freshman Morgan Childers recorded the first two outs of the inning before Jessica Paez doubled. Carmen Paez singled to drive in a run and cut the Upstate lead to 6-4. However, Childers got Jenks to foul out to end the game.

Childers went the distance, scattering seven hits and striking out five to improve to an A-Sun best 22-5 on the year. FGCU starter Rachael Edinger went the distance for the Eagles, allowing just five hits but walking eight to fall to 20-7 on the season.

In the second game, Upstate starter Brittany Rice, a sophomore from Chattanooga, Tenn., and FGCU starter Dana Frantz held each other scoreless through the first three innings. Upstate jumped on top with a run in the fourth inning when Feldon belted her second homer of the day, this time to the opposite field, to give Upstate a 1-0 lead. Florida Gulf Coast responded with a pair of runs in the fifth inning when Jessica Paez homered to lead off the inning and Roz Tyre drew a bases loaded walk. However, Rice pitched out of the bases loaded jam with Upstate trailing 2-1.

Upstate came back in the bottom of the frame and used a huge blast from freshman Lauren Quevedo to take the lead for good. The inning started with Amber Patterson reaching when the FGCU first baseman could not handle a throw from Jessica Paez in the hole at short. Gibbs was then hit by a pitch and Kim Brasil followed with a single. Slater lifted the game-tying sacrifice fly to right. FGCU elected to walk Feldon, who had already gone deep twice on the day, to load the bases for Quevedo. But, just like Friday night when Stetson walked the bases loaded to pitch to Quevedo, the freshman first baseman took the first pitch and launched a line drive over the right center wall for a grand slam to give Upstate a 6-2 lead. It marked the second grand slam in two days for Quevedo, who also hit a walk-off homer in Tuesday's sweep of Furman.

Upstate added a run in the sixth inning on Patterson's solo home run. Florida Gulf Coast attempted a rally in the seventh, plating a run on Tyre's sacrifice fly, but Childers, who entered the seventh after a leadoff walk by the Eagles, struck out LeeAnne McDowell for the final out of the inning to give Upstate the win and sweep of FGCU.

Rice improved to 6-6 on the year, going six innings with a season-high seven strikeouts. Morgan Campen, who came into the game in the fourth inning after FGCU starter Frantz was hit in the mouth on a line drive by Pitcher, tossed 2 1/3 innings of work and took the loss to fall to 15-3.

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