Feb. 21, 2014
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - After a suspension due to rain that last nearly five hours Friday, the Coastal Carolina softball team was unable to put together a rally and fell to Georgia Southern 3-0 in the opening game of the Lipton Invitational.
The loss drops the Chanticleers to 5-2 this season, while Georgia Southern improved to 7-3.
Both teams were limited to five hits by 2013 All-Region pitchers Kiana Quolas and Georgia Southern's Sarah Purvis. However, the Eagles put most of theirs together in the fifth inning to account for all of the scoring.
Coastal had opportunities against Purvis, especially early in the game, but wasn't able to capitalize. The Chants put runners on base in four of the first five innings, but stranded six runners, including three in scoring position.
Bri Chiusano led off the game with an infield single to extend her hitting streak to all seven games. Kory Hayden walked with one out to put runners on first and second, but Amanda Daneker grounded into a force play at third and Purvis struck out Morgan Noad.
In the fourth, Noad hit a leadoff single down the right-field line and pinchrunner Beth Kassuhn moved to second on a sacrifice by Brooke Donovan. Kassuhn advanced to third on a wild pitch with two outs, but Purvis again escaped with a strikeout.
Quolas, meanwhile, cruised through the first frames without allowing a hit. The only Georgia Southern baserunner came on a two-out walk in the second and just one ball was hit out of the infield in play.
The Eagles' bats came struck in the fifth, though, just as the light rain that had been falling turned into short downpours. The 2013 SoCon champions collected four hits and had several other hard-hit balls that went for fouls or outs. Morgan Robinson sliced a leadoff single to left and Kourtny Thomas singled up the middle. After Quolas got a strikeout, Kassuhn made a nice play in left field, backtracking and reaching above her head to catch a liner at the warning track for the second out.
However, Breanna McLendon - the No. 9 hitter - lined the next pitch to the gap in rightcenter out of the reach of Donovan for a two-RBI triple. McLendon scored when the relay throw to third got past Hayden and went into the dugout. The Eagles then loaded the bases on two walks and another single, but Quolas got a groundout to avoid any further damage.
The rain stopped momentarily between innings, but picked up again and play was suspended with two outs in the top of the sixth. When play resumed, Donovan quickly doubled to the gap in rightcenter, but was left at second.
Georgia Southern loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth against Morgan Mastriania but the reliever got a lineout double play to Hayden and a forceout to keep it a three-run game.
In the seventh, Chiusano singled with two outs, but Purvis got a called third strike on Quolas to end the game with Hayden on deck.
Purvis, who limited Tennessee to just four hits earlier in the season, struck out eight and walked two for the win. Quolas suffered her first loss of the season, striking out one and walking three.
The long delay forced numerous changes to the schedule for the rest of the weekend. Coastal's game against Indiana scheduled for Friday afternoon was moved to Sunday. The Chants will still play Troy on Saturday morning at 9:30 but their second matchup with Georgia Southern is now scheduled for later in the evening at 6:45. On Sunday, CCU will play Indiana at 10:45 a.m. and then take on Florida at 1 p.m.