Buccaneers top UMES in season opener, 5-1; Game against UNC Wilmington suspended due to nightfall

Buccaneers top UMES in season opener, 5-1; Game against UNC Wilmington suspended due to nightfall

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern picked up the 5-1 win over Maryland-Eastern Shore in their season opener on Friday morning, but their afternoon contest against UNC Wilmington was unable to be completed due to nightfall as the Buccaneers closed out the first day of the CSU Tournament.

Charleston Southern and UNC Wilmington will conclude the game, which was suspended in the top of the eighth inning with the score tied 1-1 tomorrow morning after the conclusion of the Elon-UNC Wilmington game scheduled to start at 9 a.m.

CSU will close out the day in taking on Maryland-Eastern Shore for the second time this weekend, with first pitch between the Bucs and the Hawks set for 1 p.m.

Charleston Southern 5, Maryland-Eastern Shore 1
Hayes Holdsworth connected on her first home run of the season and Lauren Darden hurled three innings of shutout relief as Charleston Southern topped Maryland-Eastern Shore in the CSU Tournament opener on Friday morning.

UMES pushed across the opening run of the ball game in the top of the fourth inning for the only blemish in a strong start by CSU senior hurler Morgan Dowdy, but the Buccaneers responded with three runs in the fifth and two more in the sixth in picking up the season opening win over the Hawks.

The action was slow in the early going as both pitchers were on target throughout the first three innings as Dowdy and UMES's Abria Tinsley put up matching zeroes on the scoreboard. Tinsley retired the first nine CSU batters in order, while the Hawks placed in a pair of singles against Dowdy over the first three frames.

Dowdy retired Allison Anderson on strikes to end the third inning and followed it up with a pair of strikeouts to open the fourth before Morgan King put UMES on the board with one swing. King swing at a hanging inside curveball and lined it down the left field line, clearing the fence inside the foul pole for the two-out solo home run and first run of the ball game.

Tinsley meanwhile, battled through a jam in the bottom half of the frame as Stephanie Sbardella led off the inning with a single. Lizzy Olmstead checked in to run and promptly took second base with the steal on the first pitch to give CSU a runner in scoring position with none out. Two batters later, Jessica Brock drew a four-pitch walk, but the Buccaneers offense sputtered as Tinsley retired the next two batters on fly-outs to end the inning and keep the UMES lead intact.

Darden (1-0) struck out the first two batters she faced in coming in relief in top of the fifth inning in putting up a scoreless frame and the Buccaneers offense came to life in the bottom half of the inning.

With one out against reliever Kelly Cullen, freshman Amanda Matsumoto drove a full-count pitch to left centerfield, driving in Ari Tedesco who had reached on a walk. Matsumoto ended up on third with the stand-up triple on the play to tie the game up at 1-1. Sbardella wasted little time in following up with a double into the left field corner to bring in Matsumoto to push the Bucs into the lead. Marci Christian capped the scoring in the inning with a single up the middle to bring in Sbardella, but the CSU senior first baseman was tagged out trying to take third base on the play to end the CSU rally.

Darden again dealt UMES with a three-up, three-down inning, including back-to-back strikeouts to end the frame in the sixth, which led way to Holdsworth putting a cap on the contest with her blast in the bottom half of the inning. After Brock reached on a two-base error by the UMES right fielder, Holdsworth teed up the 1-2 offering from reliever Kaitlyn Hitch and launched the ball into the air and over the fence just to the right of straightaway centerfield for the two-run home run to give CSU a commanding 5-1 lead.

UMES had one final comeback attempt in the top of the seventh as King connected on a one-out double to the fence in left centerfield, but a head's up play by Natalie Yonan at third base caught King in a rundown on a grounder to third base and Darden retired the final batter to close out the opening CSU win.

Sbardella led the Buccaneers on the morning, going 2-for-3 from the plate with a run and an RBI, while Holdsworth drove in a pair courtesy of the home run. King went 3-for-3 from the plate for UMES.

Dowdy went 4.0 innings in her first action after coming back from an injury that sidelined the right-handed senior for the entire 2013 season. She finished with five strikeouts, allowing three hits and one run in the contest. Darden wrapped up her first win of the season with four strikeouts and one hit over three innings on the mound.