Spartanburg, S.C. – Hannah Alexander struck out 10 batters to lead the Spartans to a win over UMKC and Maddison Kiefer ignited the Spartans in the win over Maine as the USC Upstate softball team opened its season with a pair of wins Saturday in the Subway Upstate Classic at Cyrill Stadium. Upstate defeated Maine, 5-1, and UMKC, 7-1.
Upstate improved to 2-0 on the year with the wins. The Spartans will be back in action Sunday taking on N.C. Central at 12 noon and Western Carolina in the tournament finale at 2:00 p.m.
"We played solid both games," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "We had good pitching each game. We did a good job of executing our game strategies. UMKC is a top four-or-five team in our conference and to play that well against them says a lot for where we are now. Maddison led us all day long."
Maine opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, scoring on a wild pitch. Upstate starter Anna Miller (Portland, Ore.) then got into a bases loaded jam with one out. However, the Cal JC All-American a year ago pitched out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts.
The bottom of the lineup sparked Upstate in the bottom of the second as the Spartans scored five runs to take a 5-1 lead. Upstate strung together four straight hits from batting spots 6-9 starting with Kieffer's (Middleburg, Fla.) double. The Spartans then got a run scoring fielder's choice, two more singles and a steal home to do the damage. Ericka Harris (Piedmont, S.C.) collected a two-run single to highlight the inning.
Neither team could put anything together the rest of the game as Upstate took the 5-1 win. Harris led the Spartans at the plate with two hits and two RBIs. Kieffer also had a pair of hits.
From the second inning on, Miller settled down and shutdown Maine's bats. She tossed five innings, allowing one run on five hits with six strikeouts. Jamie Ujvari (Niceville, Fla.) came in to toss two scoreless innings to close out the game for the Spartans. She struck out two.
UMKC jumped on top early in the second game of the day for Upstate. Liz Broyles hit a solo home run with one out to give the Kangaroos a 1-0 lead. However, Upstate took the lead in the bottom of the inning on Shellie Robinson's (DeLand, Fla.) two-run homer. It was her 18th career homer and it put the Spartans ahead for good.
Upstate added to its lead with two runs in the third inning to open a 4-1 advantage. Kieffer collected an RBI double and scored the second run of the inning as well. Upstate put some distance between itself and UMKC with three unearned runs in fourth inning. Dana Landers (Simpsonville, S.C.) highlighted the inning with a two-run single.
Alexander (Lexington, N.C.) was simply solid in the circle in her season debut. She went the distance, allowing one run on four hits with 10 strikeouts to earn the win. Cinda Ramos (0-1) took the loss for UMKC after allowing four runs on seven hits in three innings.
Robinson led Upstate at the plate with three RBIs. Cheyenne Griffin and Kieffer each had two hits. Liz Broyles was 2-for-2 with a run and RBI for UMKC.
In other action…
Game 1 – UMKC broke open a close game with five unearned runs in the top of the fourth inning to go on for a 8-0 win over N.C. Central.
Game 2 – Western Carolina withstood three early runs by Maine and scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 5-4 victory over the Black Bears.
Game 5 – After opening up a 2-0 lead in the first, Western Carolina exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the second to cruise to a 13-2 victory over N.C. Central.
Saturday, February 9 Results
Game 1 – UMKC 8, N.C. Central 0
Game 2 – Western Carolina 5, Maine 4
Game 3 – Upstate 5, Maine 1
Game 4 – Upstate7 , UMKC 1
Game 5 – Western Carolina 13, N.C. Central 2
Sunday, February 10 Schedule
10:00 am – Maine vs. UMKC
12:00 pm – N.C. Central vs. Upstate
2:00 pm – Western Carolina vs. Upstate