CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern softball is back in action this week as the Buccaneers hit the field for a three-game series against Gardner-Webb. Thursday's doubleheader between the Bucs and Runnin' Bulldogs is set to start at 3 p.m., while Saturday's series finale is set for a 2 p.m. start.
The doubleheader games on Thursday are set to be streamed on ESPN+. Saturday's contest is scheduled to be featured as one of the Big South's ESPN3 scheduled-games for the spring season with Mike Gleason and Nate Ross calling the action at the CSU Softball Field.
CSU (16-31, 10-8 Big South) wraps up the 2019 regular season with a pair of home series against Gardner-Webb (April 18-20) and Winthrop (May 2-3). The Bucs are coming off a 13-game road trip that featured trips to conference series against Campbell, Presbyterian, Hampton, and Longwood.
The Bucs enter the weekend tied for third in the Big South standings with Winthrop heading into the final three weeks of the conference regular season. Longwood (15-3) and USC Upstate (17-4) currently sit atop the conference standings, as the teams continue to battle for their spots in the postseason. The top six teams in the conference standings will compete in Buies Creek, N.C. at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium on May 8-11 on the campus of Campbell University.
CSU is back at home for the first time in nearly a month. The Bucs were last at the CSU Softball Field back on March 20 against USC Upstate. During their 13-game road trip, CSU posted a 7-6 record with series wins over Presbyterian and Hampton. Included in the road trip was CSU's best winning streak in Big South history spanning a trio of conference series.
The Bucs have posted an 8-16 record at home this season as they host the Runnin' Bulldogs. GWU (26-22, 5-13 Big South) is 8-8 on the road this year with conference wins over Presbyterian and Winthrop.
Annie Bakenhus leads the Bucs offense this season with a .336 batting average to go with a team-high 51 hits and 25 runs scored while connecting on a team-high nine doubles. Jade Gandara is the team leader with 13 extra-base hits and 25 RBI, while Caitlyn Emberson has six home runs and 25 RBI on the year.
Sophomore Sarah Brown and freshman Rhiana Hubbard have been the Bucs' standouts at the plate in conference play. Brown's .385 batting average in Big South competition is seventh in the conference standings, while Hubbard's .604 slugging percentage (7th) and four home runs (T-5th) are among the Big South's leading power numbers.
Senior right-hander Arizona Pilgrim continues to sit among the Big South's pitching leaders this season. The Taft, Calif. native is eighth in opponent batting average (.257), third in innings pitched (165.1), and third in strikeouts (110). Holly Clark is second in the Big South in appearances (32) and games in relief (15), while Alyssa Heinrich leads the Big South in games finished.
Gardner-Webb's Andria Booth is back among the conference leaders in hitting this season with a team-leading .375 on the year. She is second in the conference in on-base percentage (.479) and runs scored (38). Autumn Owen is the team power leader with a team-leading 13 home runs and a .780 slugging percentage.
Brooke Perry is the ace in the circle for the Runnin' Bulldogs this year. She paces Gardner-Webb with a 2.76 ERA while sitting second overall with 169.2 innings pitched. She is second in the conference trailing only USC Upstate's Christina Biggerstaff's 222 strikeouts.