After increasing its season home run total to a school record 64 with 12 homers last week, the USC Upstate softball team moved into the top spot among all Division I schools for home runs per game in the latest statistical report issued by the NCAA Monday.
Upstate All-American Shellie Robinson has helped the Upstate cause in reaching No.1 in the nation. She ranks third individually in total home runs with 15 and fifth with 0.48 home runs per game.
Upstate’s 64 home runs in 31 games amounts to 2.0645 per game, 0.39 ahead of national powerhouse Oklahoma, which has hit 68 home runs in 33 games for an average of 2.0606 per game.
The No. 1 ranking is not the only time the Spartans have topped the nation in a statistical category in the Division I ranks. The Spartans finished the 2013 season with the nation’s top defense in leading the country in fielding percentage. Last year, the Spartans were ranked No. 1 in the nation in ERA for a brief period near the end of the season.
In addition to leading the nation in home runs per game, Upstate ranks in the Top 25 in the nation in seven different categories. The Spartans are third in slugging percentage (.655), seventh in fielding percentage (.978), 11th in batting average (.353), 15th in winning percentage (.806), 18th in doubles per game (1.71) and 19th in runs per game (7.23).
Individually, Robinson has set the tone for the Spartans in the national rankings. In addition to her No. 3 and 5 rankings in the home run categories, she also ranks sixth with 1.29 runs per game and 14th with a .954 slugging percentage. Cheyenne Griffin is 19th with 0.39 home runs per game, 20th with 12 home runs and 39th with an .821 slugging percentage. Not to be outdone, Lexi Shubert, who is the two-time reigning A-Sun Pitcher of the Week, ranks among the nation’s leaders as well. She is 11th with 17 wins, 17th with 1.17 walks allowed per game, 33rd with a 1.54 ERA and 38th with 4.78 hits allowed per game.
Upstate Ranked 52nd in Latest NCAA RPI
After going 4-1 last week with a doubleheader split with NC State and a three-game sweep of North Florida, Upstate has moved up eight positions and ranks No. 52 in the latest RPI released by the NCAA. The RPI a key tool used in determining at-large selections to the NCAA Tournament.
Upstate is the top-ranked A-Sun team in the NCAA RPI. The Spartans are 13 positions ahead of Kennesaw State at No. 65. The Owls are followed by Lipscomb (75), North Florida (87), Stetson (89), Jacksonville (109), Florida Gulf Coast (128) and Northern Kentucky (261). The A-Sun boasts five of its eight teams in the Top 100 and seven of eight in the Top 130.
In addition to the four A-Sun opponents ranked in the Top 100, Upstate has played or will play seven non-conference opponents ranked in the Top 100 in this week’s ranking, including No. 5 Florida State, No. 26 Georgia, No. 30 NC State, No. 32 South Carolina, No. 40 North Carolina, No. 73 Elon and No. 91 Charlotte.