CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern softball hits the road for the first time on Wednesday night as the Buccaneers make the trek to Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field for a midweek contest against South Carolina. First pitch between the Bucs and the Gamecocks is set for 6 p.m.
It marks the sixth consecutive season Charleston Southern has made the trek to Columbia, S.C. and ninth year in a row the Bucs and Gamecocks will be facing off on the diamond dating back to the 2010 season. The two teams are familiar opponents heading into the Wednesday match having faced off against each other back in the fall season.
Charleston Southern is looking to bounce back this week after struggling at home against the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational. The Bucs won their opener against Detroit Mercy, 10-2, before falling in their final four games to ETSU (twice) and Virginia Tech (twice).
The Bucs struggled to connect over the last three games with CSU suffering shutouts in each of its final three games, including a no-hitter in the tournament finale against the Hokies.
However, CSU's bright spots continue to abound this season as multiple athletes have stepped up to the plate and in the circle this season. Jade Gandara paces the Bucs with a team-best .367 batting average on the year, while Annie Bakenhus (.344), Caitlyn Emberson (.323) and Meghan Gagliano (.313) are also hitting above .300 this season.
Gandara, Emberson, and Madison Koger have all connected on home runs this year as a part of a CSU offense that has recorded 18 extra-base hits this year. Gandara and Bakenhus lead the team with a pair of doubles apiece.
Arizona Pilgrim (1-5) has been the ace in the circle early in the season for the Buccaneers. The senior right-hander has made seven starts and hurled four complete games on the year. She's thrown a team-high 41 innings' pitched to go with a 3.76 ERA. Junior Holly Clark has also seen time in the circle with seven appearances and two starts.
The Buccaneers are back at home this weekend following their midweek contest against the Gamecocks. CSU is hosting Dartmouth, UMass Lowell, Marshall, and UNC Wilmington at the Holy City Showdown on February 22-24 at the CSU Softball Field.
Bucs Among Big South Leaders
- Annie Bakenhus leads the Big South with 11 runs scored
- Jade Gandara is second in the Big South with 13 RBI
- Sarah Brown, Bakenhus, and Gandara are all tied for fourth with 11 hits
- Gandara and Bakenhus are third in the Big South in doubles with three
- Caitlyn Emberson (3) and SeaEnna Satcher (2) are the top two in the Big South in hit by pitches
- Brooklynn Brewington is tied for the Big South lead with four sacrifice bunts
- Madison Koger is the Big South leader with four sacrifice flies
- Arizona Pilgrim leads the Big South with 41.0 innings' pitched.
- Pilgrim is also third in the conference with 28 strikeouts.
Scouting South Carolina
The Gamecocks are the first ranked team the Buccaneers are facing in the 2019 season as South Carolina entered last weekend as the No. 15/14 team in the NCAA as marked by both major polls. USC wasted little time enhancing those rankings as the Gamecocks are now … after posting a 4-0 record last weekend at the Gamecock Invitational with wins over UNC Greensboro, Ohio, Campbell, and St. John's.
Charleston Southern is the second Big South opponent the Gamecocks have faced this season having topped Campbell, 16-7, against their first opponent. USC will also take on Winthrop (Feb. 24 & Mar. 6) this season to wrap up their schedule against the Big South.
Lauren Stewart (.438) is one of three Gamecocks hitting above .400 this season. Cayla Drotar (.435) and Kennedy Clark (.435) are tied for the team lead with 10 hits on the season. Drotar paces the Gamecocks with three home runs and 12 RBI on the year, while Jana Johns is the team leader with nine runs scored.
Dixie Raley (3-0) and Drotar (3-1) pace USC's efforts in the circle this season with a combined 12 appearances and six starts. Raley has allowed opponents to hit .171 with an 18:8 strikeout-to-walk ratio, while Drotar has limited the opposition to a .192 batting average this year.
Charleston Southern continues the 2019 season at home next weekend with the Holy City Showdown on February 24-26.