Spartanburg, S.C. - For the second consecutive year, the A-Sun Softball Championship will be held at USC Upstate's Cyrill Stadium May 9-12 and Upstate will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed. The Spartans open play in the tournament Wednesday evening at 5:30 p.m. against sixth-seeded Stetson. Fans can follow the action online at upstatespartans.com. Live stats and video on ASun.TV will be available free of charge throughout the tournament, while Saturday's championship game will be broadcast on ESPN3 for free.
Robinson Named A-Sun Freshman of the Year
After hitting .410 for the season and leading the A-Sun in a number of offensive categories, standout USC Upstate outfielder Shellie Robinson has been named the A-Sun Freshman of the Year. She finished the regular season leading the A-Sun with 16 home runs, 14 doubles, 48 runs, 128 total bases and an .821 slugging percentage. She ranks second in the league with a .410 batting average and .481 on-base percentage, while ranking third with 64 hits. A complete player, she ranks sixth with 14 stolen bases and owns a .981 fielding percentage.
Three Spartans Earn All-Conference Honors, Four Named All-Freshman
With as many as seven freshmen in the starting lineup at one time, it should be no surprise that when the A-Sun announced its postseason honors, a number of Spartan freshmen earned accolades. Shellie Robinson and Cheyenne Griffin, both freshmen, were named first team all-conference, while sophomore standout pitcher Hannah Alexander was a second team honoree. Robinson and Griffin were joined on the all-freshman team by Maddison Kieffer and Hayley Reinfeld. Griffin was a unanimous first team all-conference selection, while she, Robinson and Reinfeld were unanimous all-freshman picks. This year marks the fourth time in five seasons that three Upstate players have earned all-conference honors from the A-Sun. It also ties the 2008 squad for the school's most all-freshman selections from the A-Sun. Alexander was also an A-Sun Academic All-Conference pick.
Robinson Breaks Single Season Division I School Record for Hits
With 64 hits on the season, Shellie Robinson has broken the school's Division I record, topping the 62 hit by Crislyn Chewning in 2010. Robinson also holds the single-season Division I school record for home runs with 16 and is tied with Kim Brasil (2010) for the most runs scored during the Division I era with 48.
Alexander, Robinson Named College Sports Madness A-Sun Pitcher & Player of the Year
College Sports Madness was the first to name its postseason awards for the A-Sun and sophomore pitcher Hannah Alexander and freshman outfielder Shellie Robinson earned the organization's top honors. CSM is a website devoted to promoting college sports and names postseason honors and all-conference teams for all Division I conferences. Alexander earned CSM's A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, while Robinson took home Player of the Year honors. They were also first team all-conference picks and were joined by freshman first baseman Cheyenne Griffin. Sophomore catcher Ericka Harris and freshman outfielder Hayley Reinfeld earned second team all-conference honors.
Robinson Earns Third A-Sun Player of the Week Honor
For the third time this season, Shellie Robinson has been named the A-Sun Player of the Week after leading the Spartans to a 3-1 record last week. She hit .571 with two home runs, two doubles, four RBIs and three runs in leading Upstate to a split at Lipscomb and a sweep at Belmont, securing the No. 3 seed in the A-Sun Tournament this week. She is the only Spartan to earn three player of the week selections from the A-Sun in the history of the program, topping the two weekly selections by Kim Brasil and Lauren Quevedo. Morgan Childers was named the Pitcher of the Week by the A-Sun nine times.
Chasing 40 Wins for Third Straight Year
With one more win this season, Upstate will reach the 40-win plateau for the third-straight year. The Spartans won a Division I era school record 42 games last season and 41 in 2010.
Alexander Leads A-Sun in Wins; Nearing 200 Strikeouts
Hannah Alexander is not only the ace of the Upstate staff, she has put herself in position to compete for postseason honors in the A-Sun. She leads the A-Sun with 26 wins and ranks either second or third in five other key categories. In addition, she is approaching 200 strikeouts in 2012 and would become just the third pitcher to reach 200 strikeouts in a season in the history of the program.
Seven Above .300
Upstate has put together a strong offensive season this year and owns a team batting average of .329. Aiding in that figure are seven Spartans who are hitting .300 or better. Shellie Robinson leads the way with a .410 batting average and is followed by Cheyenne Griffin (.392), Hayley Reinfeld (.380), Ericka Harris (.329), Janna Lewis (.327), Ashley Butler (.325) and Lindsay Kelly (.317). The top three hitters on the team are freshmen with Harris being the top upperclassman in batting average.
Getting an Early Start
Scoring first in games is always a good thing, but for Upstate, it almost always ensures a win. The Spartans are 18-1 this season when scoring in the first inning, and 31-2 when scoring first overall.
Extra Innings are Okay
After not playing an extra-inning game all season long, Upstate played two in the doubleheader at North Florida (April 14). The Spartans won both games to raise its record in extra innings to 2-0 this season.
Protecting a Lead
When Upstate gains a lead, especially early in the game, it has been difficult to beat this season. The Spartans have lost just two games when holding a lead. The Spartans are 16-1 when leading after the first inning, 21-2 when leading after two, 25-1 when leading after three, 30-1 when leading after four, 26-1 when leading after five and 27-0 when leading after six.
Give Us Four Runs
With a solid pitching staff and a league-best 1.97 ERA, the Spartans are nearly unbeatable when it scores four or more runs in a game. Upstate is 33-1 when scoring four or more runs a game with the only blemish being an 8-6 loss against Florida Gulf Coast (April 21).
10 K's a Rarity
When Upstate traveled to Athens, Ga., to take on 11th-ranked Georgia (April 10), the Lady Bulldogs struck out 10 Spartan batters. For Upstate to strikeout that many times is a rarity. The last time Upstate struck out 10 times in a game was March 12, 2011 when 10 Spartans went down on strikes at No. 5 Washington. Outside of nationally-ranked teams, Upstate has struck out 10 or more times just five times since joining Division I in 2008. On the flip-side, Upstate pitchers have struck out 10 or more opponent batters 74 times since 2008.
Upstate 20th in Mid-Major Top 25 Poll
Upstate continues to be ranked as one of the top mid-major programs in Division I softball. The Spartans are ranked 20th in the latest Mid-Major Top 25 poll released by midmajorpoll.blogspot.com. Upstate peaked at No. 9 for two weeks in mid-April.
Upstate Tops All South Carolina Schools in RPI
For the fourth-straight week and the fifth time in six rankings, the USC Upstate softball team tops all South Carolina schools in the NCAA RPI ranking. Upstate is ranked 73rd in the latest RPI report issued by the NCAA. The Spartans are the top school in the Palmetto State, a full 28 spots ahead of South Carolina, which comes in at No. 101. The Spartans are the only South Carolina team in the top 100. Coastal Carolina is third in the state with an RPI of 106 and is followed by Charleston Southern (No. 119), College of Charleston (No. 129), Furman (No. 195), Winthrop (No. 196), Presbyterian (No. 246) and South Carolina State (No. 282).