Upstate Plays Host to Campus Suites Spartan Classic
Spartanburg, S.C. – USC Upstate will host a tournament for the second time in as many weekends when four teams will come to Spartanburg to battle Upstate in the Campus Suites Spartan Classic at Cyrill Stadium Friday-Sunday. Joining Upstate in the field is Howard, La Salle, Lafayette and Oakland.
Upstate enters the tournament with a 12-0 record and will face three teams its has never played before. The Spartans have never played Howard, La Salle or Oakland and are 1-0 all-time against Lafayette, a 6-0 victory over the Explorers in North Carolina's tournament during the 2008 season.
Fans can follow the action online at www.upstatespartans.com, the official website of Upstate Athletics. Live statistics will be available for free, while live video will be available for a fee at www.ASun.TV for select games throughout the season. Recaps and stats will be available following the games online at upstatespartans.com.
Looking Back at North Carolina Central
Morgan Childers tossed a five-inning gem, allowing just one hit and striking out 13 to lead Upstate to an 8-0 victory in game one, and Haley Sheehan blasted a grand slam in the 13-1 victory in game two as the Spartans swept a doubleheader from North Carolina Central on Wednesday. Childers was dominant in earning her eighth victory of the season. She also got help at the plate from Kim Brasil who finished with three hits and four RBIs, while four other Spartans finished with two hits apiece. Hannah Alexander earned the win in the second game and Amber Hamilton saw her first action in the circle as Upstate dominated in game two. Sheehan cranked a grand slam as part of a nine-run first inning. Five different Spartans finished with two hits in the game as Upstate set a season-high with 14 hits.
Spartans Get Offensive
Upstate has clearly gotten off to a great start at the plate through the first 12 games of the season. The Spartans are hitting a gaudy .395 from the dish with 13 home runs and a .618 slugging percentage. Seven Spartans are hitting .400 or better with 11 different players hitting at least .364.
Upstate Earns Votes in Two Top 25 Polls
For the first time in the Division I era at Upstate, the Spartans have received votes in a national Top 25 poll, earning votes in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and UltimateCollegeSoftball.com polls. The Spartans' top acknowledgement came from the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll where Upstate received 15 votes and would be ranked No. 32 if the poll were expanded. The Spartans received one vote and would be No. 33 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll if it were expanded.
Harris, Childers Honored by the A-Sun as Spartans Sweep Weekly Honors a Second Time
Ericka Harris earned her first career weekly honor from the A-Sun and Morgan Childers earned the ninth such recognition by the league as Upstate again swept the weekly honors dished out by the A-Sun on Feb. 21. Harris was named the player of the week after hitting .611. She totaled 11 hits with nine runs, four RBIs and an .833 slugging percentage. Childers was named the pitcher of the week after going 4-0, picking up wins over Gardner-Webb, George Mason, and two against Hampton. She led Upstate to three wins in the Upstate Classic to help the Spartans claim the championship. She finished the week with a 4-0 record, 1.11 ERA and 39 strikeouts. She limited opposing batters to a .127 batting average and walked just four in 19 innings of work. It marked Childers' second weekly honor this year.
Harris Earns MVP Honors at Upstate Classic, Four Other Spartans picked All-Tournament
Ericka Harris led the way in the Upstate Classic, hitting .667 with three RBIs and five runs, and was named the tournament MVP. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Morgan Childers, Janna Lewis, Lauren Quevedo and Jenna Torbert. It marks the second time this season that Childers and Harris have garnered all-tournament honors, both picking up the awards at the Palmetto State Showdown.
Spartans Off to Best Start in Division I Era
Upstate's 12-0 start is not only the best start of any A-Sun team this season, it is also the best start the program has had during its Division I era which started in 2008. Prior to this season, Upstate's top effort to begin a season was an 8-0 performance before losing in Ole Miss' tournament in 2009. It ties the best start since the 2007 squad went 12-0 to begin the season en route to its fourth-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Tournament in Upstate's final year of Division II membership.
Childers Named to the Lowes Senior CLASS Award List
Morgan Childers has earned many awards and honors in her collegiate career. She received her first national honor on Feb. 16 when she was one of 30 Division I softball players to be named to the initial listing for the Lowes Senior CLASS Award. The program honors student-athletes who show excellence in four areas - community, classroom, character and competition. The list will be whittled down to 10 finalists in March with members of the media, Division I coaches and others voting on the winner which will be announced during the College World Series.
Spartans Sit Atop A-Sun Rankings
Upstate is off to a strong start and it is showing in the latest A-Sun statistical report. The Spartans lead the conference with a .395 batting average, 0.88 ERA and a .985 fielding percentage. Individually, Ericka Harris tops the league with a .567 batting average, 17 hits and 16 runs. Katie Zauner tops the conference with 31 total bases, while Kim Brasil leads the A-Sun with two triples. Morgan Childers leads the A-Sun with eight wins, 92 strikeouts, three shutouts and a .135 opponent batting average.
Upstate Supplies the Power
Upstate certainly has started the season having added the power stroke to its offensive arsenal. The Spartans have belted 13 home runs in 12 games this season. They have hit a homer in eight of 12 games, going deep three times in the season opener against Coastal Carolina. Seven different players have cleared the fences with Lauren Quevedo and Katie Zauner tying for the team lead with four. The 2010 squad set a Division I era school record with 27. The 2009 Spartans hit just 15 home runs, two more than what the Spartans have totaled to start the 2011 season.
Spartans Strong at Home
Since opening Cyrill Stadium in 2002, Upstate has been tough to beat at home. The Spartans were 24-6 in 2010 and set a school record for winning in 2009 with an 18-3 mark for an .857 winning percentage. Upstate is 154-41 (.790) all-time at home since 2002.