Holly McKinnon became the 27th player in school history to throw a no-hitter, and Kinsley Jennings recorded her first career hit and home run, as the USC Upstate softball team completed a three-game sweep of the Kennesaw State Owls Sunday afternoon with a 1-0 victory in eight innings.
Upstate becomes the first team to clinch a spot in the A-Sun Tournament after improving to 37-12 on the season and 9-5 in conference play. With the loss, Kennesaw State falls to 25-22 overall and 6-9 in the league.
McKinnon (23-6) pitched the longest no-hitter in school history, and the second by a Spartan this season, while striking out four batters in the process. Morgan Sikes (11-6) suffered the loss after tossing 1.0 inning of relief and allowed one run on one hit, one walk and no strikeouts.
Upstate recorded all three hits on the afternoon with Jennings, Ryan Rector and Kendsey Chappelear each reaching base.
Jennings was called on to pinch-hit in place of Chappelear to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. The sophomore picked the perfect time to record both her first career hit and home run as she took a 1-0 offering from Sikes over the center field fence to give the Spartans the 1-0 victory, completing the weekend sweep.
McKinnon retired the first 16 batters she faced and held a perfect game until one out in the top of the sixth. Hillary Kartman would reach on an Upstate throwing error but was thrown out trying to advance to second by Rector, who backed up the throw in right field.
The Spartans left two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the fifth when Megan Obier reached on a one-out error and Chappelear an infield single. Both runners advanced to second and third when Caley Chappel grounded out to second. KSU starting pitcher Logan Viers got out of the frame with a pop out to third.
Following the error in the sixth, McKinnon sat down seven in a row to collect the second no-hitter thrown by an Upstate pitcher this season. Amanda Storch threw her first career no-hitter on Feb. 21 in a win over North Carolina Central.
The junior wraps up an impressive week in the circle by going 4-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 25.0 innings of work, and limited opponents to just a .074 average at the plate.
The Spartans are off until May 7-8 when they conclude their regular season with a three-game conference series at North Florida.