Coastal Knocks Off No. 20 Louisiana In Saturday Split; Alvino Homers Twice
CONWAY - On Saturday afternoon at CCU Softball Stadium, the Coastal Carolina softball team opened up Sun Belt Conference play as they were able to come away with a split over the 20th-ranked team in the NFCA, Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns. Offensive help from three Chanticleer home runs including two from junior shortstop Alexis Alvino played a big role in the game two victory.
In the top of the third, the Cajun would take a 1-0 lead as Aeriyl Mass led off the inning with a slap single that first baseman sophomore Kassidy Smith was unable to make a clean play on. Mass would come around to score later in the inning Kara Gremillion single to right field.
Alvino would answer in the bottom half of the third with a solo homer on 3-0 pitch left out over the heart of the plate.
In the bottom of the fifth after Louisiana starter, Casey Dixon was able to retire the first two Chant batters, Alvino came up to the plate and on the first pitched muscled the ball over the left field fence to give Coastal Carolina the 2-1 lead.
Looking for insurance runs to tack on, Coastal added two more in the bottom of the sixth inning as Smith led off with the third Chants' home run of the game and her third dinger of the season. Not done, next batter freshman catcher roped a single to right field as the momentum continued for the Chanticleers. After a pinch runner Payton Hanson stole second base and was able to move over on a wild pitch to third base, the sophomore scored on a deep sacrifice fly ball by junior Natalie David.
In the top of the seventh, Chants' starter Ashley Guillette allowed the first three Cajun batters to reach base, but then was able to pick up an out on a fielder's choice by Alisssa Dalton. Coach Kelley Green decided to make a change and bring back game one starter, Kaitlin Beasley-Polko to close out the game. The freshman did just that as she got Beth Ashley to ground into a 5-3 double play to end the game and pick up her second save of the season.
Guillette picked up her eighth win of the season as the junior threw 6 1/3 innings as she allowed two runs on five hits.
Alvino's two home runs in game two now gives her a team-high five for the season.
The game two victory over Louisiana is the first victory for Chanticleers over a top 25 opponent since March 4, 2004, versus Oregon.
Coastal scored first in the bottom of the first as Kailey Mellen led off with a double to left center. The senior left fielder came around to score on a Kass Smith line drive single back through the middle.
In the top of the second, Beasley-Polko hit two and walked a batter that led to the Ragin' Cajuns scoring a run on no hits in the inning and to tie the score at one.
The bottom of the second inning was indicative of how the game played out for Coastal Carolina as freshman second baseman Taylor Sweigart led off with a double down the third base line and then moved up to third base on a wild pitch and with nobody out. The next batter, center fielder Timi Tooley walked, two batters later Alvino walked to load the bases. Coastal was not able to bring home any of the runners in the inning as Kailey Mellen ended the inning with a fly out to left field that turned into a double play as the lead runner, Sweigart was thrown out trying tag up.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Chanticleers took a 2-1 lead as Tooley led off with her second walk of the game and then advanced to come around to score on a ground to second base by Mellen.
Louisiana regained the lead in the top of the sixth and held it to pick up the 4-2 win as they scored three runs on three hits from Lexie Comeax, Beth Ashley, Kourtney Gremillion along with two Chant wild pitches and one error.
Coastal led in hits for the game, 5-4, but left 10 runners on base.
Coastal Carolina and Louisiana wrap up the three-game set on Sunday afternoon at noon with the rubber match.
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