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May 14, 2010
DeLand, FLa. - Cheyanna Ohlrich and Lauren Quevedo each belted home runs and the USC Upstate softball team jumped on top of Jacksonville early and advanced to the final day of the A-Sun Tournament with a 7-4 victory over the Dolphins Friday afternoon at Patricia Wilson Field at Stetson University.
Upstate advances to play Stetson Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Depending on the outcome of the Lipscomb/Stetson game later today, the game will either be to play for a spot in the championship game against Lipscomb if the Lady Bisons win, or against Stetson in one of two must-win games against the Hatters for the A-Sun title. Stetson is currently the only unbeaten team in the tournament. If the Hatters win against Lipscomb, the Lady Bisons would be eliminated leaving just Upstate and Stetson in the tournament with the Spartans having to win twice to secure the tournament championship.
Upstate improved to 40-14 on the year, reaching 40 wins for the first time in the school's Division I era. Upstate moved to Division I for the 2008 season and is in its third year playing in the A-Sun. The Spartans won 40 games in three straight years from 2005-07 in the last three years of Division II membership.
"The home runs that Chey and Lauren hit really helped us get momentum and led us to the win," said Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins. "Ericka did a great job stepping in to start at third in place of Keri (Sarratt). Morgan really gutted out her third straight game in two days. It was very hot and she battled through everything to get the win. It just goes to show you what kind of a person and competitor she is."
After notching just two hits in Friday morning's tournament-opening loss to Kennesaw State, Upstate has brought out the bats in the last two games, getting eight hits last night against Lipscomb and 11 today. After a scoreless first inning, Upstate took control of the game with five runs in the fifth inning. After Quevedo was hit by a pitch with two outs, Ohlrich belted a two-run homer that clanged off the metal bleachers in left field to give Upstate a 2-0 lead.
Upstate was not done. Blake Meredith, who had a clutch hit in Thursday night's win over Lipscomb and who has been inserted into the lineup as the designated player after starting third baseman Keri Sarratt ended her tournament and season with a knee injury last night, drew a walk. Haley Sheehan reached on an error and Kim Brasil followed with an RBI single to center. Crislyn Chewning singled to drive in a pair of runs to give Upstate a 5-0 advantage.
Upstate made it a 7-0 game with a pair of runs in the fifth inning on Quevedo's two-run bomb with Katie Zauner on base. Quevedo's homer also came with two outs in the inning, just like Ohlrich's dinger in the second. It marked her team-leading 10th of the season.
Upstate starter Morgan Childers kept Jacksonville off the board through five innings. She struck out five and allowed two hits through five innings. However, she ran into trouble in the sixth. Jacksonville loaded the bases with no outs and Sarah Simon followed with a grand slam to cut the Upstate lead to 7-4. However, Childers showed why she was a first team all-conference selection. She struck out the next batter and induced two pop ups to end the inning.
Childers was dominant in the seventh inning. She struck out the first two batters and got Kayla Ouellet to pop out to end the game. Childers finished the game with eight strikeouts to increase her season total to 424. She improved to 33-7 on the year with the win.
Ohlrich led Upstate at the plate. She finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run. Meredith also collected a pair of hits, while Quevedo notched two RBI on her home run in the fifth. Chewning also drove in a pair of runs.