Spartans Take Two at North Carolina A&T

Greensboro, N.C.Shellie Robinson led USC Upstate at the plate and Hannah Alexander and Casee Clauser earned the wins in the circle as the Spartans took a doubleheader sweep at North Carolina A&T Tuesday afternoon at the Lady Aggie Softball Complex.

Upstate improved to 26-4 on the year. The Spartans will open A-Sun play this weekend, hosting Mercer on Friday and Kennesaw State on Saturday. N.C. A&T fell to 7-18 on the year.

"It was good to see a lot of our players contribute to both wins on the day. I was really happy to see Casee pitch well. She got ahead in the count and did really well," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins.

Upstate didn't take long to get things going in the first game, plating two runs in the top of the first inning. Ericka Harris (Pidemont, S.C.) drew a walk with one out and scored on Robinson's (DeLand, Fla.) triple to right center. Cheyenne Griffin (Moore, S.C.) followed with an RBI single as Upstate took a 2-0 lead.

Upstate added to its lead in the third inning. The Spartans loaded the bases with one out and Hayley Reinfeld (Parkland, Fla.) smacked a double into the gap in right center to score two runs and put runners on second and third. Maddison Kieffer (Middleburg, Fla.) followed with a squeeze bunt single to score a run and make it a 5-0 Upstate lead.

The Spartans made it a 6-0 game in the sixth when Harris reached on an error and advanced to third on the play. Robinson followed with an RBI single to score Harris. The Spartans added to their lead with a run in the fifth inning when Haley Sheehan (Graniteville, S.C.) scored on Lindsay Kelly's (Jacksonville, Fla.) single and an error on the N.C. A&T center fielder.

Upstate opened an 8-0 lead in the sixth inning when Dana Landers (Simpsonville, S.C.) smacked a single through the left side to score Robinson from third.

Hannah Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) went the distance for Upstate to earn the win. She allowed three N.C. A&T hits and struck out seven in six innings to improve to 15-2 on the year. Aggie starter Ashira Dobison fell to 7-11 with the loss.

Robinson led Upstate at the plate, finishing a home run shy of the cycle. She also added a sacrifice fly on the day and produced three runs and two RBIs. Griffin also finished with three hits in the game with a run and RBI, while Reinfeld drove in a pair of runs on two hits.

After two scoreless innings to start the second game, Upstate broke on top in the second inning. Kendall Settlemyre (Hickory, N.C.) started things off with a triple. She scored on Harris' sacrifice squeeze with one out. Robinson followed with a solo home run to right center to give the Spartans a 2-0 lead. It was her 12th homer of the season.

Upstate added to its lead in the fourth inning. Janna Lewis (Huntersville, N.C.) reached on an infield single and moved to second on Reinfled's single up the middle. Kieffer reached on an error and Lewis scored from second on the play to give Upstate a 3-0 lead. Reinfeld then scored on Settlemyre's ground out to second. Kelly followed with an RBI single to score Kieffer to give the Spartans a 5-0 advantage.

Upstate was not done. Harris followed Kelly's single with a single of her own and Robinson smacked a double down the line in left to score Kelly and Harris. Robinson advanced to third and then scored after an error on the play by the third baseman in fielding the throw into the infield. By the end of the fourth, it was an 8-0 Upstate lead.

N.C. A&T threatened in the fourth inning, putting runners on first and third with one out. However, Upstate starter Casee Clauser (Ladera Ranch, Calif.) struck the next two batters out to get out of the jam.

N.C. A&T could not plate a run in the fifth inning off of Upstate reliever Lacey Dinney (Hannon, Ontario) and the game ended with the 8-0 Upstate win. Clauser went four innings, giving up just one hit with five strikeouts to improve to 2-0 on the year. Aggie starter Alexandria McAfee fell to 0-8 with the loss.

Robinson led Upstate at the plate, finishing with two hits, three RBIs and two runs. Harris and Lewis also finished two hits in the game. Robinson finished the day with five hits, a sacrifice fly, five RBIs and five runs.

Follow the Spartans on Facebook and Twitter.