Charleston Southern tops UNC Wilmington, UMES in improving to 3-0

Charleston Southern tops UNC Wilmington, UMES in improving to 3-0

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern picked up wins against UNC Wilmington and Maryland-Eastern Shore on Saturday afternoon as the Buccaneers continued their early season success as the season opening Charleston Southern Tournament. CSU topped UNCW, 2-1, in extra innings, while the Bucs defeated UMES 7-1 in the nightcap.

Stephanie Bergmann connected on a walk-off double in extra innings against UNC Wilmington, while the CSU pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts during the Buccaneers' 7-1 win over the Hawks in the nightcap as CSU improved to 3-0 overall on the weekend with the pair of wins.

The Buccaneers will look to close out the weekend tomorrow afternoon as Charleston Southern takes on Elon. First pitch between Charleston Southern and the Phoenix is set for 3:30 p.m.

Charleston Southern 2, UNC Wilmington 1 (8 inn.)

Stephanie Bergmann connected on a one-out double to the right centerfield gap as Charleston Southern topped visiting UNC Wilmington, 2-1, on Saturday afternoon as the teams closed out the continuation of the game on Friday evening.

With Lizzy Olmstead placed on second base in the extra frame, Hayes Holdsworth battled through a 1-2 count in connecting on a slow grounder to the shortstop, allowing the fleet-footed senior to advance to third and into prime scoring position. Bergmann took strike one from reliever Peyton Jordan, before jumped on the 0-1 pitch in driving the ball to the fence in right centerfield, past the UNCW centerfielder to drive in the winning run in the game and improve Charleston Southern to 2-0 on the season.

Freshman hurler Cheyenne Gandara picked up her first win of the season in the contest pitching three innings of one-hit relief behind starter Jennifer Giles in topping the visiting Seahawks. Gandara recorded three strikeouts in her first collegiate action, including holding UNCW scoreless in the eighth inning behind a stand-out play by Marci Christian and Georgi DeLio, catching Erin Brown trying to score with one out and ending the Seahawks' scoring threat.

Giles and UNCW starter Casey Rowland traded zeroes on the scoreboard over the first four innings with Rowland in particular batting through several jams in the bottom of the second and third innings. Stevi Johnson reached third with two outs in the second inning on a wild pitch, but was stranded when Rowland retired the side on strikes. The third inning also ended with Rowland stranding Christian on second by striking out the side to end the frame.

Both teams broke through and put a crooked number up on the scoreboard in the fifth inning Morgan Ayers led off the inning with a double to right centerfield, driving a full-count offering from Giles to the fence. Nella Chamblee traded places with her three pitches later, connecting on a double in the same spot to score Ayers and put the Seahawks ahead in the top half of the inning.

The Buccaneers rallied back in the bottom of the frame as Amanda Matsumodo led off with a bunt single. She followed up by stealing second on the first pitch and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Stephanie Sbardella as CSU took advantage of the small ball opportunities allowed them by the UNCW defense. Christian knotted the game up at 1-1 with a single between the shortstop and third baseman, bringing in Matsumodo with one out in the inning to even the score.

Neither team was able to put the winning run across the plate in regulation as the Buccaneers saw their final chance on Friday evening fall short as CSU went down in the bottom of the seventh.

Nightfall hit before the teams were able to start the eighth inning as CSU and UNCW postponed play to be picked up again on Saturday afternoon.

With Brown placed on second base to open up the top of the eighth inning, Brittany Gamby connected on a sacrifice bunt to advance her to third base with one out. Merritt Wilkinson followed by dropping down the suicide squeeze bunt, but Christian alertly picked up the ball and tossed it home to DeLio at the plate to catch Brown trying to score for the second out, ending the UNCW threat, and leading to the CSU game-winning run in the bottom half of the frame.

Natalie Yonan went 2-for-3 from the plate for the Buccaneers in the game in support of Giles' pitching performance. Giles went five innings in the game, allowing three hits and one run, while striking out four.

Charleston Southern 7, Maryland-Eastern Shore 1

Jessica Brock hit a bases-clearing double and the CSU pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts and allowed one unearned run as the Buccaneers topped Maryland-Eastern Shore in the nightcap.

The Buccaneers put one run across in the bottom of the first inning, two in the third and four in the fifth in picking up their second win of the weekend against the Hawks. Gandara (2-0) picked up her second win of the afternoon, throwing one inning of shutout relief, while Lauren Darden, Morgan Dowdy and Giles all hurled two innings in a combined appearance from the staff.

Holdsworth drove in the first run of the game with a base hit through the left side of the infield, bringing Christian across the plate to put the Bucs ahead in the bottom of the first inning.

The Buccaneers plated two more in the bottom of the third as Matsumoto led off the inning with a bunt single. Sbardella drew a walk and advanced to second on a passed ball as Matsumoto picked up her second stolen base on the day to put two runners in scoring position. Christian plated the first run of the inning with a sacrifice fly out to left field, while Brock followed with a seeing-eye grounder through the left side of the infield to plate Sbardella and give CSU the 3-0 lead.

The Hawks took one back in the top of the fourth, taking advantage of a Buccaneer fielding miscue in plating their first run of the game. A CSU fielding error on Morgan King's sharp grounder up the middle gave UMES a runner on first with one-out and Trenece Nash followed with a shallow single down the left field line to put runners on first and second. Emily Diseroad followed with a base hit up the middle, driving in King to put the score at 3-1. Dowdy escaped the jam with a fielder s choice and a groundout to shortstop to end the threat and keep the CSU lead intact.

Charleston Southern put the game away in the bottom of the fifth inning, with four runs crossing the plate to provide insurance. Matsumoto and Sbardella reached on back-to-back singles, before a walk by Christian loaded the bases with none out in the inning. Brock took advantage, jumping on a 2-0 offering from Abria Tinsley in driving a pitch left high in the zone off the left field fence to clear the bases, ending up on second with the standup double.  Olmstead drove in the final run of the inning, connecting on a two-out double down the left field line, scoring Brock and putting the Buccaneers lead at 7-1.

Giles entered the contest in the sixth and closed out the game, retiring five of the final seven UMES batters on strikes to end the game in favor of the Buccaneers.

Brock went 2-for-3 from the plate with four RBI in the game, while Sbardella, Christian and Matsumoto scored two runs apiece in the victory.