Spartanburg, S.C. – Buoyed by four victories last week, USC Upstate standout pitcher Lexi Shubert moved into a tie for the national lead with 30 wins, while the Spartans are ranked No. 41 in the latest NCAA RPI for softball.
Shubert entered last week ranked third in the nation in wins with 26. She picked up a non-conference win over Charlotte before winning all three games in the A-Sun series sweep of Northern Kentucky over the weekend. She improved to 30-5 on the year and moved into the top spot in the nation. She is tied with BYU’s Mckenna Bull, Marshall’s Jordan Dixon and San Diego State’s Erica Romero.
Meanwhile, Upstate continues to be in position to receive an at-large berth into the NCAA Tournament in the event the Spartans do not win next week’s A-Sun Tournament. The Spartans enter the A-Sun Tournament as the No. 1 seed after claiming the regular season championship over the weekend. At 40-8, Upstate has reached 40 wins for the fifth time in the last six years. Upstate does not play again until it opens play in the A-Sun Tournament on May 7 in Fort Myers, Fla.
Upstate is the highest ranked team in the A-Sun in this week’s RPI ranking. The Spartans are followed by Lipscomb (64), Kennesaw State (75), North Florida (79), Stetson (106), Florida Gulf Coast (119), Jacksonville (123) and Northern Kentucky (263). The A-Sun has four teams in the Top 100 and seven of eight in the Top 125. Upstate has played eight non-conference teams ranked in the Top 100 this season, including No. 9 Florida State, No. 15 Georgia, No. 32 South Carolina, No. 33 NC State, No. 35 North Carolina, No. 76 Elon, No. 80 Furman and No. 94 Charlotte. The Spartans are 5-5 against those teams.
Shubert is ranked in the Top 50 pitchers in the country in five different categories. In addition to leading the nation in wins, she ranks ninth with eight shutouts, 23rd with a 1.56 ERA, 30th with 1.30 walks allowed per game and 40th with 5.02 hits allowed per game.
Shubert is not the only Spartan to rank among the nation’s leaders. Shellie Robinson, who broke Upstate’s single-season school record for home runs, ranks seventh with 21 home runs, ninth with 0.44 home runs per game, 12th with 1.21 runs per game, 20th with an .890 slugging percentage, 24th with 56 RBIs and 29th with 1.17 RBIs per game. Kendall Settlemyre is 16th with 0.40 home runs per game, 19th with seven home runs and 29th with an .854 slugging percentage.
As a team, Upstate ranks in the Top 25 in nine different categories, including second with 7.31 runs per game, fourth with a .638 slugging percentage, fifth with a .977 fielding percentage and sixth with a .357 batting average.