Upstate Heads to Charleston for Lowcountry Invitational
Spartanburg, S.C. - The USC Upstate softball team ended its 14-game home stand with a pair of wins against Furman on Wednesday and next travels to Charleston, S.C., to take part in the four-team Lowcountry Invitational at Charleston Southern Friday and Saturday. Upstate will take on UNC Wilmington, Charleston Southern and Georgetown in the tournament.
Upstate will open the tournament Friday at 11:00 a.m. against UNC Wilmington. The Spartans are 3-1 all-time against the Seahawks. Upstate will take on Charleston Southern Friday at 1:00 p.m. The Spartans are 11-3 all-time against the Buccaneers and 6-1 since moving to Division I in 2008. Upstate has never played Georgetown, but takes on the Hoyas Saturday at 9:00 a.m. The tournament will conclude with a championship and consolation game Saturday afternoon. Live stats will be available at www.csusports.com, the official Charleston Southern Athletics website.
Upstate enters the weekend with an 18-0 record and is off to the best start since the 2000 team began the season 28-0. UNC Wilmington enters the weekend with a 1-11 record. Charleston Southern stands 6-9 on the year, including a 7-0 loss to Upstate in the Palmetto State Showdown on Feb. 12. Georgetown is 2-8 entering the tournament.
Looking Back at Furman
Katie Zauner connected on a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift Upstate to a 3-1 victory in game two and Morgan Childers picked up the wins in both games as the Spartans swept a doubleheader from Furman on Wednesday. Childers tossed a complete game gem in game one, allowing just two hits and striking out 14 to earn the shutout win. She and the Spartans also go a lot of help at the plate from Kim Brasil. Brasil drove in four runs on two doubles to lead the Upstate attack in the 6-0 victory. In game two, Upstate fell behind by a run until Ashley Butler hit a solo home run in the fifth inning to tie the game. Childers entered with one out in the fifth inning and pitched 3 1/3 perfect innings with five strikeouts to earn the win after Zauner's walk-off dinger.
An Offensive Onslaught
While Morgan Childers has been her typical dominant self in the circle, the highlight of the 2011 season so far is the tremendous start to the season at the plate. Upstate has gotten off to a torrid start on offense. The Spartans have out-scored their opponents 126-12. They are hitting .361 on the year with 19 home runs and 113 RBIs. The Spartans are just eight homers away from reaching the entire season total for home runs last year (27), and the season is just a third of the way complete.
Upstate Gains Ground in Top 25 Polls
After receiving its first mention in any national Top 25 poll last week, Upstate gained ground in this week's polls. The Spartans received 26 points in the UltimateCollegeSoftball.com poll. If the poll was expanded, the Spartans would be ranked in a tie at No. 30, up two spots from last week. The Spartans earned three points in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. If that poll was expanded, Upstate would be ranked in a tie for 31st, up two spot from last week.
Childers Tosses Sixth Career No-Hitter, Second of the Season
In a span of 15 days, Morgan Childers tossed two no-hitters to increase her career total to six. This time, she had to go the distance in the 2-0 win over La Salle on Feb. 27. Childers struck out a season-high 17 batters, one off of her own single-game school record of 18 (vs. Tusculum, 2008), to earn the win over the Explorers. She now has two no-no's this year, matching her season high of two last season. She had one in each of her freshman and sophomore seasons.
Childers Named MVP, Three Others Earn All-Tourney Honors
Morgan Childers went 3-0 with three shutouts, a no-hitter and 40 strikeouts to lead Upstate to the championship of the Campus Suites Spartan Classic (Feb. 25-27), earning MVP honors along the way. She was joined on the all-tournament team by Katie Zauner, who hit .692 with three runs and two RBIs, Cheyanna Ohlrich, who hit .375 with two RBIs and two runs, and Ericka Harris, who hit .364 with three RBIs and two runs. Childers and Harris have now earned all-tournament honors in each of the three tournaments played this season. Upstate has won the championship in all three events as well.
Spartans Off to Best Start in Division I Era
Upstate's 18-0 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. The start is also the best since the 2000 squad went 28-0 to begin the season.
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.
Brasil Moves into Top 10 All-Time for Hits
Kim Brasil's name appears in the Top 10 in six different career statistical categories at Upstate. She recently moved into the Top 10 on Upstate's all-time hits list and is currently ninth with 170 in her career. She is the first player who has played her entire career on the Division I level to reach the Top 10 in the hits category. She also ranks fourth all-time with 46 doubles and ninth with 118 runs.
Childers Second on A-Sun Career Strikeouts, Wins and Shutouts Lists
Morgan Childers owns nine career school records, but she is also making a name for herself in the A-Sun. She has moved into second place in A-Sun history with 1,114 strikeouts. Florida Atlantic's Nikki Myers owns the all-time mark with 1,376. With 97 wins, Childers also moved into second place on the conference's all-time wins list. Myers also owns the all-time mark with 108. Lastly, Childers has recorded 39 shutouts in her career, trailing Myers on the all-time list at 47.
Childers Owns Nine Career Records at Upstate
Morgan Childers entered her senior season already the owner of seven career records at Upstate. Though early in the season, she has put two more records under her hat. She tops the all-time list with 97 wins, 1,114 strikeouts, 275 batters struck out looking, 39 shutouts, a .156 opponent batting average, 135 appearances, 105 games started, 89 complete games and 769.0 innings pitched.
Three Spartans Among All-Time Defensive Leaders
One of the nation's top defensive clubs last year and off to a strong start this season, three current Spartans currently rank among the all-time great defensive players at Upstate. Sophomore Ericka Harris tops the all-time list with a .995 fielding percentage, playing primarily as the starting catcher while also seeing action at first and third base. Lauren Quevedo ranks seventh all-time with a .987 fielding percentage and fifth all-time with 798 putouts as the starter at first base. Kim Brasil is eighth all-time with a .982 fielding percentage and 10th with 494 putouts. She has played both outfield and catcher in her career at Upstate and is currently the every day starter in left field for the Spartans this 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 160-41 (.796) all-time at home since 2002.