February 28, 2012

Spartans Sweep Doubleheader at Furman

Greenville, S.C. – USC Upstate extended its streak of not allowing an earned run to 14 games and picked up its 12th and 13th shutouts of the season in sweeping a doubleheader from Furman at the Pepsi Softball Stadium. Upstate won the first game, 3-0, and the second, 4-0.

Upstate improved to 14-0 on the year with the sweep. The Spartans improved to 11-1 against Furman since moving to Division I in 2008. Furman fell to 4-7 on the year with the losses.

In game one, Upstate gutted out a 3-0 victory, though it could have been a much more dominant result. The Spartans loaded the bases in four-straight innings from the third to the sixth while scoring just one run. They left 13 runners on base in the game.

Still, Upstate took the win. The Spartans did so behind the strong outing by starter Hannah Alexander (Lexington, N.C.). The sophomore went the distance, scattering three hits while striking out a career-high 12 batters. Only two Paladins reached second base. She improved to 9-0 on the year.

Upstate jumped on top with two runs in the second inning. Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) and Kara Lohr (Lexington, N.C.) both scored when Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) reached on an error.

Upstate then began its string of loading the bases with little results. Upstate loaded the bases with one out in the third, but a force out at home and a line out ended the inning. In the fourth, Upstate loaded the bases with two outs. Shellie Robinson, the reigning A-Sun Player of the Week, narrowly missed a grand slam, lifting a ball to the warning track in centerfield for the third out.

Upstate loaded the bases with one out, but again got a force out and a pop out to remain scoreless. Upstate finally broke through with the bases loaded in the sixth. With one out and the bases loaded, Ashley Butler (Laurens, S.C.) singled to drive in a run. However, Furman got out of the inning when Lindsay Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.) lined into a double play.

Despite the frustrations of not scoring more runs, Upstate got the win behind the arm of Alexander. Furman's Lakyn Shull dropped to 1-1 on the year after taking the loss. She went four innings, allowing two unearned runs in the loss.

Butler led Upstate at the plate with a pair of hits.

Lacey Dinney (Hannon, Ontario) tossed a gem in the second game. She gave up just one hit and struck out nine to earn the win and improve to 5-0 on the year.

Just like the first game, Upstate put a lot of runners on base and left its share on. The Spartans left 12 runners on base after collecting 13 hits. Upstate left 25 runners on base in the doubleheader.

After loading the bases in the second inning and not getting run and after four scoreless innings, Upstate opened a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Lindsey Greeson (Stanley, N.C.) scored from second on an error to give the Spartans a 1-0 lead.

Upstate broke the game open with three runs in the sixth. Robinson drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and two runs scored on RBI singles by Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) and Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.).

Dinney struck out the side in the third and sixth innings in yet another solid outing. Furman's Hannah Bradley went the distance and fell to 1-2 on the year. None of the four runs she gave up were earned.

Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) led Upstate with three hits in the game. Lindsay Kelly (Jacksonville, Fla.), Hayley Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla.) and Butler each had two hits.  

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