Kendall Settlemyre blasted three home runs on the day to lead USC Upstate to a doubleheader sweep of Gardner-Webb in non-conference softball action Thursday night at Cyrill Stadium. The Spartans won by scores of 4-0 and 10-3.
Upstate improved to 31-7 on the year with the sweep. The Spartans have won 16-straight against Gardner-Webb and 40 of 42 in the series. Upstate will be back in action this weekend when it plays host to Stetson in a key three-game A-Sun series Saturday and Sunday at Cyrill Stadium. Gardner-Webb fell to 11-24 with the losses.
Settlemyre belted two solo home runs in game one and hit a go-ahead and eventually game-winning three run homer in game two to lead the Spartans at the plate. She increased her season home run total to 12 to move into a tie for second on the team behind Shellie Robinson’s 17.
Settlemyre’s home run burst also pushed Upstate into rare air in its time in the A-Sun. The three home runs on the day improved the Spartans’ season total to 72. The mark stands as the second-most hit by any team in the A-Sun since Upstate entered the league for the 2008 season. It surpassed the 71 hit by Florida Gulf Coast in 2008 for second place and trails Campbell’s 81 home runs hit in 2009.
Game 1 – Upstate 4, Gardner-Webb 0
After a scoreless inning, Settlemyre got Upstate on the board when she led off the second inning with a solo home run to center. The inning could have been bigger as the Spartans loaded the bases with one out, but couldn’t push anything else across.
Following Settlemyre’s home run, the game was delayed for 1:02 because of lightning in the area. After a scoreless third inning, Upstate padded its lead in the fourth. Lindsey Greeson walked with two outs and stole second. She scored on Hayley Reinfeld’s RBI single to left to make it a 2-0 Spartan lead.
Settlemyre struck again in the fifth inning, belting a solo home run with two outs to give the Spartans a 3-0 lead. Aly Schneider gave Upstate a 4-0 advantage with a sacrifice fly in the sixth as Upstate cruised to the win.
Settlemyre’s solo homer in the second was all that Upstate starter Lexi Shubert needed on the day. She improved to 22-5 on the year after scattering six hits with seven strikeouts. Gardner-Web starter Summer Darnell took the loss and fell to 8-9 after allowing four runs on eight Upstate hits.
Game 2 – Upstate 10, Gardner-Webb 3
Gardner-Webb strung together three singles in the top of the first inning, the third a two-run hard grounder down the first base line from Scarlett Harris, to open a 2-0 lead early in the game.
The second inning looked promising for Upstate as the Spartans put runners on second and third following a Settlemyre single and a double from Ryan Rector. However, Upstate’s pinch runner was thrown out at the plate on Dana Landers’ double and Gardner-Webb starter Ashley Wark got a fly out and a ground out to get out of the inning, maintaining the 2-0 lead.
Upstate finally cashed in on its opportunities in the third. Greeson reached on an error, advanced to second on a ground out and scored on Robinson’s RBI single to center. Settlemyre then blasted a three-run home run opposite field to left to give the Spartans the lead at 4-2.
Upstate looked to put the game away in the fourth inning, but managed to only get one run across to open a 5-2 lead. The Spartans loaded the bases with no outs and opened its three-run lead on Robinson’s RBI fielder’s choice. Settlemyre was walked to load the bases with one out, but the Spartans flew into a double play when Ryan Rector flew out to center and Robinson was thrown out at third before the run could score from third.
Gardner-Webb cut into the Upstate lead with an unearned run in the sixth. The Runnin’ Bulldogs had a runner on second with two outs when Megan Champion reached on a dropped pop fly in the infield to get within 5-3 of the Spartans.
Upstate padded its lead with five runs in the sixth to open a 10-3 advantage. Rector started things off with an RBI single and Landers plated a run on a squeeze bunt. Paris Prusak drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. A run scored when Marche Llanos reached on an error and Greeson ended the scoring with an RBI double.
After allowing two runs in the first inning, Upstate starter Amanda Storch settled down and kept the Gardner-Webb bats at bay the rest of the game, save from the unearned run in the sixth. She went the distance for her seventh complete game to improve to 8-2 on the year. She allowed three runs on six hits with four strikeouts. GWU starter Ashley Wark took the loss after allowing four runs before exiting early. She fell to 2-11 on the year.
Rector finished the game with three hits to lead the Upstate bats. Settlemyre had a pair of hits with three RBIs and two runs to cap off a tremendous day at the plate.