Buccaneers ready for weekend showdown against College of Charleston

Buccaneers ready for weekend showdown against College of Charleston

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern remains on the road this weekend as the Buccaneers make the short trip to Patriots Point to take on local rival College of Charleston on Saturday afternoon in a doubleheader against the Cougars.

First pitch for the doubleheader between the local foes is set for 3 p.m. and both games will be streamed on the Charleston Sports Network. Live stats will also be provided on CofCSports.com for both contests.

Charleston Southern looks to make it two winning weekends in a row as the Buccaneers took the series from Liberty this past weekend on the road. CSU is in the midst of an eight game road streak as the Buccaneers remain on the road following the Saturday doubleheader, making the trip to Coastal Carolina for a Big South Conference matchup on Tuesday afternoon.

Before the Bucs can focus on the Chants though, CSU must turn their attention to the Cougars who topped Charleston Southern twice less than two weeks ago at the CSU Softball Field, falling 11-0 and 4-0 to the visiting Cougars.

College of Charleston took both games behind strong pitching efforts by Samantha Martin and Hope Klicker as the Cougars held the Bucs to nine hits over the afternoon in the sweep.

Charleston Southern's bats came to life this past weekend as CSU pounded out 25 hits over the three game series in winning 9-3 and 10-1 over the Flames, before falling in the series finale to Liberty 4-2. The Bucs also fell in a midweek matchup against South Carolina, dropping to the Gamecocks on Tuesday afternoon, 9-1.

CSU's bats have been led on the season by the efforts of senior Jessica Brock as the Puyallup, Wash., native leads the team with a .341 batting average. The Buccaneers' infielder leads the way with 42 hits and five home runs, as well as 28 RBI to pace the CSU offense on the season.

Fellow senior Stephanie Sbardella is back above .300 on the season from the plate, hitting .304 as one of two players in the Buccaneers' lineup to start in all 42 games on the field for head coach Shane Winkler. Sbardella leads the team with 11 doubles on the season and is second with 17 RBI, while seeing time in both right field and at first base this year.

Freshman Amanda Matsumoto made her return to the field this past weekend, scoring five runs over the first two games of the Liberty series in returning to the top of the batting order for the Buccaneers. Fellow freshman Stephanie Bergmann connected on her first collegiate home run in the series finale against the Flames and joins Sbardella as the only player in the Bucs' lineup to have started in all 42 games this year.

Inside the circle, junior ace Jennifer Giles continues to lead the way for the Bucs with a 9-7 record, 2.23 ERA on the year and six complete games. Opponents are only hitting .222 against the right-hander over 100.1 innings pitched, and she has combined for four shutouts with the rest of the staff on the season.

Freshman Cheyenne Gandara continues her inaugural collegiate season with a standout year, leading CSU in appearances (26), complete games (7) and innings pitched (108.0). She also leads the Bucs in strikeouts with 103 on the year with a 7-8 record inside the circle and a 2.59 ERA.

College of Charleston enters the weekend having won eight of their past nine games, including a doubleheader sweep over South Carolina State this past Wednesday to improve their overall record to 26-12 on the season. CofC is also 10-5 at home at the Patriots Point Athletic Complex.

Lizzy Vaughn leads four CofC players batting over .300 on the season with a .355 batting average and leads the team with 44 hits, nine doubles and 23 RBI. Rebecca Mueller enters with a .336 batting average and a team-leading four triples on the season, while scoring a team-high 25 runs. Carly Corthell is the team-leader with 10 stolen bases on the season.

Inside the circle, the Cougars' three-headed pitching staff boasts an impressive 2.27 ERA on the season led by Valerie Cassell's 1.77 ERA on the rubber. Martin boasts an 8-2 record and a 1.95 ERA on the year, while Klicker paces the Cougars with 98 strikeouts and nine complete games for CofC.