The USC Upstate softball team returned home for the first time in 10 games Wednesday afternoon as the Spartans picked up a pair of non-conference victories after sweeping a doubleheader over the East Tennessee State Buccaneers at Cyrill Stadium.
Upstate defeated the Buccaneers by scores of 3-2 and 3-0, and improve to 27-4 on the season. East Tennessee State falls to 8-9 with the losses.
The Spartans remain at home this weekend as they host Florida Gulf Coast in a three-game conference series beginning Friday afternoon at 3 p.m.
Game 1 – East Tennessee State 2, USC Upstate 3
Ryan Rector had two hits and two RBI in game one of the doubleheader as Upstate held off ETSU for a 3-2 victory.
Rector was one of two Spartans to finish with two hits as Kendsey Chappelear went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Bethany Cowart and Taylor Carter both had a pair of hits for the Buccaneers, while Carter drove in two runs.
Amanda Storch (7-1) picked up the game one win after throwing 5.0 innings and gave up two runs on four hits, no walks and six strikeouts. Lindsey Fadnek (5-2) suffered the loss after allowing three runs on two hits, five walks and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings of work. Holly McKinnon (1) earned her first career save at Upstate on 2.0 scoreless innings of relief and gave up just two hits with four strikeouts.
Rector gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third on her one-out RBI single to left field, scoring Chappelear from third. Chappelear led off the frame with a single, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout by Brittany Case.
Carter put ETSU in front 2-1 following her two-run homer in the top of the fourth off of Storch. Rector and Amy Szymanowski combined to put Upstate back ahead 3-2 as it plated two runs in the bottom-half of the fourth. Rector started things with another RBI single to left field and Szymanowski was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded the next at-bat.
The Spartans used their defense to secure the game one win in the top of the seventh as East Tennessee State put two runners on with one out in the inning. McKinnon would get Madison Boyd on a strikeout before Danielle Knoetze took a 1-0 offering into right center field. Chappelear made a diving catch in the gap to prevent the go-ahead runs from coming in, giving Upstate the one-run victory.
Game 2 – East Tennessee State 0, USC Upstate 3
McKinnon recorded her 11th complete game of the season, and Tarynn Tirpak had a game-high two hits, as the Spartans completed the doubleheader sweep with a 3-0 win in game two.
McKinnon (16-1) limited the Buccaneers to just two hits in the game and did not register a walk while striking out seven batters. Rebbeca Wahrmund (2-1) took the loss for ETSU as she allowed three runs (one earned) on five hits, three walks and no strikeouts over 4.0 innings.
Tirpak finished 2-for-3 at the plate and Case had one RBI for Upstate. Knoetze and Samantha Carpenter had both hits for the Buccaneers.
Case gave the Spartans an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first on her RBI single to left field with two outs. Chappelear led off the inning with a walk and was sacrificed over to second by Kristen Wright. She would then go to third on a fly out to right by Rector.
Upstate benefitted from two East Tennessee State errors in the fourth and fifth innings, scoring one run each and taking a 3-0 lead. A dropped fly ball with two outs in the bottom of the fourth allowed Megan Obier to score, and Wright came home on a throwing error during the fifth on Rector’s double to left center field.
McKinnon retired the first 11 hitters in the game as the Spartans built a one-run lead. After giving up a one-out single in the top of the sixth, McKinnon sat down 10 of the final 11 batters she faced to earn her conference-leading 16th win of the season.