#25 USC Upstate Softball 2015 Preview

USC Upstate Spartans

Overall Rank: #25
Conference Rank: #1 A-Sun
#25 USC Upstate Softball 2015 Preview
USC Upstate Team Page


The Spartans had a fantastic season last year, one that saw them absolutely dominate the Atlantic Sun on their way to a conference title, their third in seven years. Upstate became the first A-Sun team in the history of the conference to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Softball Tournament  and took home many awards and honors. Coach Hawkins was named the A-Sun Coach of the Year, Anna Miller was named the A-Sun Pitcher of the Year, outfielder Shellie Robinson was an NFCA Third Team All-American, first team NFCAA All-Region, A-Sun Player of the Year and First Team All-Conference. Lexi Shubert was named the A-Sun Freshman of the Year and was a First Team All-Conference selection. Cheyenne Griffin and Kendall Settlemyre were also First Team All-Conference picks.

2014: 46-9, 22-2
2014 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Hawkins

Field Players:
The Spartans bring back an extremely veteran squad, led by ten seniors, including big boppers Shellie Robinson and Kendall Settlemyre. Robinson smacked 18 home runs and drove in 48 runs. Oh yeah, she also led the team in average (.410), runs (55), hits (73) and doubles (15). Settlemyre drove in 44 and had a .373 average, good for second on the team. The fourth and fifth leading hitters, Dana Landers and Cheyenne Griffin, also return. Landers had eight doubles and seven triples and 33 RBI. Griffin had nine doubles and 32 RBI.

The Spartans had a three-headed rotation last year, led by Miller and Shubert, but only Shubert returns. Last year the freshman went 18-2 in 31 appearances (18 starts) and had a 1.53 ERA with 145 strikeouts. To help make up for the losses, the team brought in three players who have pitching experience, including Kinsley Jennings, Madison Ogle and Amanda Storch.  

Who to Watch:
Storch and Ogle. Ogle comes in after being crowned the 2014 Miss Tennessee Softball Player. Last season, she posted a 1.46 ERA with 220 strikeouts. Storch was a three-time All-State player and named State Player of the Year in South Carolina after going 25-2 with a 0.45 ERA and 228 strikeouts.

Final Projection:
The Spartans bring back a solid, veteran nucleus who may better last year's squad if they can get the pitching right. If any of the freshmen can help overcome the loss of Miller, it will lessen the burden on Shubert. The team brings in another impressive recruit in Karla Beasley, who hit for a .535 average, 10 home runs and a school-record 52 RBI last season. Her 37 career home runs rank 11th in the NFHS record book. USC Upstate will be challenged by a tough schedule that includes Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Florida State, N.C. State, South Carolina and Georgia.

Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament

Returning Leaders:
At Bats: Shellie Robinson, OF, 178
Hits: Shellie Robinson, OF, 73
Home Runs: Shellie Robinson, OF, 18
RBIs: Shellie Robinson, OF, 48
Runs: Shellie Robinson, OF, 55
Stolen Bases: Four tied with 5

Wins: Lexi Shubert, P, 18
Innings Pitched: Lexi Shubert, P, 146
Strikeouts: Lexi Shubert, P, 145
Complete Games: Lexi Shubert, P, 14

Madness 2015 Draft Rankings:
#15 Shellie Robinson


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