Spartans strike back to defeat Buccaneers, 5-3

Spartans strike back to defeat Buccaneers, 5-3

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern was unable to come back from a sixth-inning rally and fell to USC Upstate at home on Saturday night, 5-3. 

Lexi Shubert (2-0) led the Spartans in the circle with six hits and nine strikeouts in a complete game effort. CSU reliever Holly Clark closed out the Buccaneer loss with two hits and one strikeout. Arizona Pilgrim (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing two hits in the sixth inning with both runners coming around to score in the Spartans' three-run frame.

Amanda Matsumoto saved a run from crossing the plate with a diving catch in center to close out the top of the inning. Cheyenne Gandara struck for the Bucs in the bottom half of the inning with a two-out solo home run that cleared the right field fence to give the Bucs the 1-0 lead. 

The Spartans tied it up in the top of the third with an unearned run as Kendsey Chappelear scored on a throwing error on an errant pickoff attempt. Stephanie Bergmann lead the Bucs off in the bottom of the inning with a hard hit to the pitcher for a single, but was left stranded as Shubert struck out the next batter and forced two groundouts to close out the inning.

An aggressive running game put the Spartans ahead in the top of the fifth.  Ansley Gilstrap drew a walk and advanced all the way to third on a bunt from Brittany Case. Karla Beasley grounded out to shortstop to get the run across and give Upstate the 2-1 lead. 

CSU responded in the bottom of the inning with a single to right field from Destini Ewing that Jade Gandara followed with her third home run of the season, giving the Bucs with a 3-2 lead at the end of the fifth.

The Spartans stole momentum back with a hitting rally in the top of the sixth as Megan Obier, Blakely Burch, Gilstrap and Case recorded singles to finish the top of the inning with three runs and the 5-3 lead. 

The Buccaneers were unable to get on base in the final two innings and Clark held the Spartans hitless in the final inning of the home loss.