#39 USC Upstate Softball 2018 Preview

USC Upstate Spartans
Overall Rank: #39
Conference Rank: #1 ASUN
USC Upstate Logo
USC Upstate has had to replace some big time players in the past, but they have continued to have success in the Atlantic Sun. This will be another season where heading into the year the talk will be about who is gone. Pitchers Holly McKinnon and Lexi Shubert were dominate on the mound last season and both are gone. That leaves a huge hole on the mound for the Spartans. Sophomore Erin Hill is the team’s top returning pitcher with just 18.1 innings. Transfer Christina Biggerstaff, who spent time at Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State, is the most likely candidate to eat up most of the innings in 2018.
2017: 45-13, 14-4
2017 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Chris Hawkins
Key Departed Players:
Abbie Millete, C, .310 BA, 8 HR, 32 RBI
Ryan Rector, OF, .304 BA, 5 HR, 32 RBI
Holly McKinnon, P, 1.41 ERA, 25-8 W-L, 208.0 IP, 216 SO
Lexi Shubert, P, 1.47 ERA, 19-5 W-L, 162.1 IP, 163 SO
Key Returning Players:
Ansley Gilstrap, IF, .339 BA, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 32 SB
Brittany Case, OF, .337 BA, 2 HR, 25 RBI
Karla Beasley, 1B, .326 BA, 7 HR, 39 RBI
The Spartans typically rely on their pitching and do enough at the plate to win games. While the pitching staff is reworked, Coach Chris Hawkins may have to get more out of his hitters. That should not be too much of a concern with the talented trio of Ansley Gilstrap, Brittany Case and Karla Beasley returning. All three hit over .325 last year. Gilstrap led the way with a .339 average and drove in 31 runs. She is also a speedster on the base paths. Beasley is the power hitter of the bunch, belting seven homeruns and driving in 39 runs. This may not be a team that ranks sixth in the nation in ERA again, but they are still the team to beat in the ASUN.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament