The USC Upstate softball team will make its first national television appearance when it travels to Columbia, to take on South Carolina on the SEC Network Tuesday night at 7, and will host Gardner-Webb for a doubleheader on Thursday beginning at 4 p.m. at Cyrill Stadium to highlight the midweek non-conference schedule.
Upstate has played several games on ESPN3 and the WatchESPN app, including the Tuscaloosa Regional last season and a bevy of games at home in Cyrill Stadium, but Tuesday’s game is the first-ever for the Spartans on national television. Fans can catch the action in Spartanburg on AT&T U-Verse Channel 607, Charter Cable Channel 36, DirecTV Channel 611, Dish Channel 408 and Verizon FiOS Channel 75.
Upstate enters the week with a 29-6 overall record and on an eight-game winning streak. The Spartans won all four of their games last week, a non-conference thriller over Presbyterian at home and a sweep of A-Sun foe Florida Gulf Coast in Fort Myers.
South Carolina comes into Tuesday’s game with a 29-15 overall record. The Gamecocks went 2-3 last week and were swept by No. 3 Florida in an SEC series. Upstate owns a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with the Gamecocks which dates back to the 2009 season. Gardner-Webb enters the week with an 11-22 overall record and has lost five games in a row. The Bulldogs were swept over the weekend by Coastal Carolina in Big South play. The Spartans are 38-2 all-time against the Bulldogs and have won the last 14 meetings in the series.
Fans can follow the action at upstatespartans.com with links to live stats for all three midweek games as well as the WatchESPN links for Tuesday’s game at South Carolina. Complete postgame coverage will also be available.
Spartans No. 42 in Latest NCAA RPI, Among Nation’s Stat Leaders
The NCAA announced its latest RPI ranking Monday and Upstate made another big jump in the rankings and enters the week ranked No. 42 among 295 Division I softball programs. It is a jump of 10 positions from last week’s ranking.
Upstate is the top-ranked A-Sun school in the RPI. The conference has four teams ranked in the Top 100 and seven of eight in the Top 135. Following Upstate in the ranking is Kennesaw State (62), Lipscomb (91), North Florida (96), Stetson (101), Jacksonville (102), Florida Gulf Coast (132) and Northern Kentucky (261). The RPI is a key tool used by the NCAA Selection Committee for at-large selections to the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to the RPI, Upstate finds itself ranked among the nation’s top teams in several team and individual statistical categories. The Spartans rank in the Top 10 in all of Division I in four categories, including second with a .979 fielding percentage and a 1.97 home runs per game. They trail only Stetson and Oklahoma in those categories, respectively. Upstate is also ranked third in the country with a .643 slugging percentage and eighth with a .352 batting average.
In addition, the Spartans rank 11th with a .829 winning percentage, 13th with 1.74 doubles and 7.31 runs per game and 25th with a 2.27 ERA.
Individually, Shellie Robinson and Lexi Shubert lead the way for the Spartans. Robinson is ranked third in the country with 17 home runs, fifth with 0.49 home runs per game, sixth with 1.31 runs per game, 15th with a .942 slugging percentage and 38th with 1.14 RBIs per game. Shubert is fifth with 21 wins, eighth with six shutouts, 12th with 1.07 walks allowed per game, 22nd with a 1.48 ERA and 37th with 4.77 hits allowed per game. Cheyenne Griffin ranks 27th with 12 home runs, 35th with 0.34 home runs per game and 37th with three sacrifice flies.