USC Upstate Opens 2018 Season Thursday with Doubleheader at Gardner-Webb

USC Upstate Opens 2018 Season Thursday with Doubleheader at Gardner-Webb

Game Notes (.pdf)

Spartanburg, S.C. – The USC Upstate softball team begins its 2018 season on Thursday afternoon when it makes the short drive to Boiling Springs, N.C. for a doubleheader against the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs beginning at 2 p.m. from Brinkley Stadium.

USC Upstate finished last season with a 45-13 overall record and 14-4 mark in ASUN play. The Spartans captured both the ASUN Regular Season and Tournament Championship giving the program four Regular Season and four Tournament titles in school history. USC Upstate also advanced to an NCAA Regional for the fifth consecutive season and picked up one win after defeating 25th-ranked Ohio State 7-3. The team competed in the Knoxville, Tenn. Regional, which was hosted by Tennessee.

Head coach Chris Hawkins, who is entering his 24th season at USC Upstate and has won 859 games during his career, returns 13 letterwinners from last year's team highlighted by six starters. Three of the six returning starters received postseason recognition from the ASUN in Ansley Gilstrap, Megan Obier and Brittany Case. Gilstrap, Obier and Case were also named ASUN Preseason All-Conference while Obier was voted the ASUN Preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Along with the six returning starters, the Spartans also welcome 10 newcomers in Jordyn Parker, Caylie Van Auken, Raven Sapla, Logan Morris, Kelsey Sweatt, Elisa Cecchetti, Hannah Davis, Bree Comer, Makenna Helton and Christina Biggerstaff.

Gardner-Webb finished last season with a 16-34 overall record and 8-13 mark in the Big South. The Runnin' Bulldogs will be led offensively by Kaylee Wacaster who hit .277 with 27 RBI. On the mound, Ashley Wark went 8-6 with a 3.75 ERA. GWU is under the direction of 18th-year head coach Tom Cole.

USC Upstate and Gardner-Webb are meeting for the 45th and 46th times in program history with the Spartans holding a 42-2 lead in the all-time series. The Spartans have won 18 straight games in the series dating back to 2008.

Fans can follow the action on via live stats. Both games are being streamed on the Big South Network. Updates will also be posted on the USC Upstate softball Twitter page (@UpstateSoftball).

The Spartans host their first of three straight tournaments next weekend, Feb. 16-18, entertaining Fairfield, Colgate and East Tennessee State during the Upstate Classic.

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