USC Upstate Set To Host and Open Play in A-Sun Softball Championship

May 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Spartanburg, S.C. –
The USC Upstate softball team is set to make its second appearance in the A-Sun Softball Championship when it plays host to the tournament this week at Cyrill Stadium. The Spartans will enter the tournament as the No. 3 seed after finishing the regular season with a 13-7 record in the A-Sun.

Last year, Upstate entered the tournament as the No. 4 seed and advanced to the championship game in its first year of eligibility in the tournament after moving to Division I and the A-Sun for the 2008 season. Upstate is joined in the tournament by Jacksonville (#1), Lipscomb (#2), Campbell (#4), Mercer (#5) and Kennesaw State (#6). The Spartans will open play in the tournament at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday when it faces longtime rival Kennesaw State.

The Upstate-Kennesaw State rivalry has an interesting dynamic. Both schools were members of the Peach Belt Conference in NCAA Division II prior to Kennesaw State making the transition to Division I in 2005-06. During the Division II years, Kennesaw State was one of the top Division II programs in the nation and owned a one-sided lead in the all-time series with Upstate at 29-1. While the Owls still own a 34-5 lead in the all-time series, Upstate is 4-5 against Kennesaw State since joining the ranks of Division I and the A-Sun in 2008. The Spartans and Owls split their season series this year in Kennesaw, Ga. Wednesday’s game will be a rematch of last year’s first round game when Kennesaw State took a 1-0 victory to open the A-Sun Tournament.

In all, Upstate is 22-22 against the five other teams in the A-Sun Tournament since joining the conference in 2008. The Spartans are 5-4 against #1 Jacksonville, 2-8 against #2 Lipscomb, 5-3 against #4 Campbell, 6-2 against #5 Mercer and 4-5 against #6 Kennesaw State. Upstate is 5-5 this season against the five teams, sweeping Campbell  (home) and Mercer (away), being swept by Jacksonville (home) and Lipscomb (home), and splitting with Kennesaw State (away).

Five Spartans Earn Postseason Conference Honors
After posting a 41-11 overall record and a 13-7 mark in the A-Sun this year, five Spartans have received recognition from the conference as Morgan Childers and Lauren Quevedo earned first team All-ASun honors and Kim Brasil was a second team selection. Freshmen Hannah Alexander and Lindsay Kelly were named to the A-Sun’s All-Freshman team. In 2008, the USC Upstate softball team earned seven postseason honors from the A-Sun as it played its way into a share of the regular season conference championship.

Childers tops the A-Sun with 28 wins, 355 strikeouts and a .156 opponent batting average. She became the league’s all-time career wins leader this season and currently has 112 in her four years. It marked her fourth all-conference selection. Quevedo was one of the top power hitters this season and ranks second in RBIs and slugging percentage and third in home runs. It is the second all-conference nod for her after taking home second team honors as a freshman in 2008. Brasil topped the conference in triples and ranked among the league leaders in hits. It is the second time she has earned second team all-conference honors, also receiving those honors in 2009. Alexander was solid in the circle, posting 13 wins and ranking among the conference leaders in several statistical categories, while Kelly posted the fifth-best batting average in the league during A-Sun play.

Another Rarity for Childers
With her selection to the all-conference team this season, Morgan Childers became just the seventh player in the history of the A-Sun to earn four all-conference nods. She earned first team honors in 2008, 2010 and this year, while taking home second team honors in 2009.

Spartans No. 3 Seed in A-Sun Tournament
Playing in its second A-Sun Championship ever, Upstate has clinched its highest seed in the event, entering the tournament as the No. 3 seed. Last year, Upstate was the No. 4 seed and advanced to the championship game before losing to eventual tournament champion Lipscomb. It mark the first time that Upstate has hosted the A-Sun Softball Championship (May 11-14), and the second time this season that the university has hosted a conference championship after hosting the 2010 A-Sun Cross Country Championships.

Childers Named Upstate Student-Athlete of the Year
At Upstate’s Pepsi Athletics Awards Banquet held on April 21, senior pitcher Morgan Childers was named the Female Student-Athlete of the Year. She earned the honor for the second straight year. She is the second person to win the honor twice (former men’s golfer Josh Gallman) and the first person to win the honor in back-to-back years.

Spartans Set Single-Season Division I Era Home Run Record
With Lauren Quevedo leading the power surge at the plate with 12 home runs, the 2011 Spartans have broken the Division I-era school record with 34 home runs this season. The effort tops last year’s record of 27.

Childers Tops 1,300 Strikeouts
Morgan Childers reached yet another career strikeout milestone when she racked up 12 strikeouts in the 6-0 shutout of Campbell in the first game of the doubleheader sweep. She reached 1,300 career strikeouts and now has 1,318 in her career.

Softball Players Rack Up Honors at Pepsi Awards Banquet
In addition to Morgan Childers earning the Female Student-Athlete of the Year award at the athletic department’s annual Pepsi Athletics Awards Banquet on April 21, the softball team was well represented in earning honors at the event. Childers also earned the Dr. Joe Bowman Pinnacle Award for career achievement, was inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Fraternity and was named the team’s Most Valuable Player. Lauren Quevedo earned the team’s Impact Player Award, took home a Dr. Joe Bowman Pinnacle Award and earned a departmental Leadership Award. Kim Brasil earned a Dr. Joe Bowman Pinnacle Award and was inducted in the Chi Alpha Sigma Honor Fraternity. In addition, the softball team was selected as the female sport with the highest team GPA.

Brasil Named National Physical Education Major of the Year
Not only is she a talented player on the diamond, Kim Brasil is a gifted student in the classroom. She was recently selected as a Major of the Year by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE). Brasil graduated with nearly a 3.9 GPA and will attend graduate school in Wisconsin next fall.

Childers Tops All-Time A-Sun Wins Record
With a 3-1 victory at Mercer on April 16, Morgan Childers became the A-Sun’s all-time wins leader. She also earned a win in the second game of the Kennesaw State series, which was finished on April 16, and now has 112 wins. She broke the old record of 108 held by Florida Atlantic’s Nikki Myers (1999-02).

Closing in on 600 Wins
While Morgan Childers has continued to rack up milestone after milestone and other Spartans has put their name on Upstate’s career record books, head coach Chris Hawkins is closing in on a career milestone of his own. With 599 wins in his career, he is just one victory shy of reaching 600. Now in his 17th year at the helm of the program, he is not only the winningest coach in the history of the softball program, he has more wins than any other coach who has ever coached at Upstate in any sport.

Upstate Among A-Sun Elite
With the majority of A-Sun schools having completed its regular season, Upstate remains one of the top statistical teams in the A-Sun. The Spartans top the conference with a .304 batting average, while ranking second with a 1.46 ERA and .974 fielding percentage. Individually, the Spartans lead five categories. Offensively, Kim Brasil leads the conference with five triples, while Katie Zauner tops the conference with 16 doubles. Morgan Childers leads the A-Sun’s pitchers with 28 wins, 355 strikeouts and a .156 opponent batting average. See the full listing in the left sidebar on page 5.

Brasil an All-Time Great
Kim Brasil is closing out a career in which she has set a standard at the plate for all future Upstate players. She ranks among the all-time career leaders in eight different categories, ranking fourth all-time with 50 doubles, fifth with 14 triples, and sixth with 205 hits and 140 runs. She is the only player to have played all four years on the Division I level to reach the top 10 in hits. In addition to her offensive capabilities, she also ranks 10th all-time with 544 putouts while playing both outfield and catcher in her career.

Quevedo Second on Upstate’s All-Time Home Runs List
A second team all-conference selection as a freshman, Lauren Quevedo is wrapping up a career that will place her as one of the top power hitters in the history of the program. She currently ranks second on Upstate’s all-time home runs list with 32 and is seventh with a .546 slugging percentage. She is also the only player who has played all four years on the Division I level to have reached the top 10 in RBIs, ranking fourth with 117.

Breaking the Sweep Streak
Entering last weekend’s doubleheaders at Kennesaw State and Mercer, Upstate had either recorded a sweep of been swept in every A-Sun doubleheader on the year. The Spartans split with Kennesaw State for the first split in conference play this season. They went on to sweep Mercer, giving the Spartans six sweeps (Belmont, North Florida, Stetson, Mercer, Campbell and ETSU) and have been swept three times (Lipscomb, Jacksonville and Florida Gulf Coast).

Upstate Garners First-Ever Top 25 National Ranking
For the first time in school history playing on the Division I level, the Upstate softball program earned a top 25 national ranking in a major top 25 poll, coming in at No. 25 in the March 22 poll.

Childers Tops 300 Strikeouts for Second-Straight Season
With her fourth strikeout of the evening against South Carolina (April 13), Morgan Childers reached 300 strikeouts on the season. It marked the second time in her career that she has reached 300 strikeouts. She topped the mark last season and finished the year with 428. She has 355 this season.

Spartans Strong at Home
Since opening Cyrill Stadium in 2002, Upstate has been tough to beat at home. The Spartans were 24-6 in 2010 and set a school record for winning in 2009 with an 18-3 mark for an .857 winning percentage. Upstate is 170-45 (.791) all-time at home since 2002. Upstate entered the doubleheader against Lipscomb (March 27) with a 26-game home winning streak dating back to last season and a 20-0 mark to start the 2011 season. However, the loss to the Lady Bisons in the first game ended the streak.

Childers Second on A-Sun Career Shutouts, Strikeouts Lists
Morgan Childers has moved into second place in A-Sun history with 42 shutouts and 1,318 strikeouts. Florida Atlantic’s Nikki Myers owns the all-time marks with 47 shutouts and 1,376. Childers is five shutouts and 58 strikeouts shy of the all-time records.