Vanada powers Bucs past Columbia in final game of the Holy City Showdown

Vanada powers Bucs past Columbia in final game of the Holy City Showdown

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Lexie Vanada connected on her first home run of the season, while Caitlyn Emberson and Brittany McPherson both doubled as CSU topped Columbia in the final game of the Holy City Showdown on Sunday afternoon, 8-1.

The Buccaneers (11-13) exploded for five runs in the bottom of the first inning to provide Arizona Pilgrim all the support she needed in picking up the win inside the circle. Pilgrim went the first 5.0 innings, allowing five hits and one run in the win. Nicole Ayala went the final 2.0 innings in closing out the CSU victory.

Vanada and McPherson had two hits apiece for CSU on the afternoon and the duo combined to drive in six of the Bucs' eight runs in the win.

Columbia's (3-10) Tessa Kroll suffered the loss after getting chased following 0.1 innings in the circle. Tonia Wu went the final 5.2 innings in allowing three runs on four hits, while striking out two in relief.

After Pilgrim pitched around a Columbia triple in the top of the first inning, the Bucs jumped on Kroll in building the early 5-0 lead.

Natalie Yonan, Stephanie Bergmann and Stevi Johnson connected on back-to-back-to-back singles to load the bases with one out, before Emberson drew a walk bringing in the first CSU run. Vanada followed with an RBI single through the left side of the infield before McPherson drilled the three-run double to the right centerfield fence clearing the bases.

Columbia took one back in the top of the third as Reilly Metzger connected on an RBI double to left center scoring Kerry Cook.

Cierra Robinson scored the Bucs' sixth run in the top of the fourth after pinch-running following a McPherson single. Robinson stole second and was advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt before scoring on Stephanie Baro's sacrifice fly to right field.

CSU plated their final two runs in the bottom of the sixth as Vanada followed up Emberson's double with a towering two-run home run over the left centerfield fence.

Ayala retired the final three batters in the top of the seventh with Metzger's fly ball settling in Robinson's glove in right field to end the game.

Charleston Southern and Columbia are back in action at the CSU Softball Field on Tuesday afternoon. First pitch between the Bucs and the Lions is set for 3 p.m.