April 6, 2014
CONWAY - Kory Hayden hit her 45th career home run to set a new Coastal Carolina all-time record and the Chanticleers completed a three-game sweep of Liberty with an 11-2 six-inning victory on Sunday afternoon at Coastal Carolina Softball Stadium.
Hayden's a three-run shot over the centerfield fence finished off a seven-run inning, ended the game and broke the program's previous career record of 44, set by Holly Lee from 2000-03.
Hayden broke the CCU Hall of Famer's mark in less than three full seasons, with Sunday's game the 158th of her career. The junior also tied her career-best with the 15th homer this season, equaling her total from each of her first two seasons.
"It's amazing that she broke this record in only her junior year," Coastal Carolina head coach Kelley Green said. "It is quite an accomplishment considering all the great hitters that have come through the program."
Coastal, which improved to 26-11 overall and 8-1 in Big South play, totaled eight hits in the game, while taking advantage of 12 walks and two Liberty errors. Morgan Noad went 2 for 2 with an RBI, while six other Chants had one hit and a total of seven drove in at least one run.
Ashley Bagwell (9-6) pitched all six innings to notch her second straight victory. She allowed seven hits, struck out two and walked one.
After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning against Liberty pitcher Grace Nordan, the Chants loaded them up again in the second and scored four times. Brooke Donovan drew a leadoff walk, Kasey Oliver singled to right and Bri Chiusano walked to fill the bases. Amanda Daneker walked to get CCU on the board and Hayden followed with another. Noad then lined an RBI single to center and an RBI groundout by Sara Rasley made it 4-0.
The Flames (6-31, 1-11) were able to cut the lead the half in the top of the fifth on three straight hits, the last a two-run double by Megan Robinson down the left-field line.
However, the Chants used four hits, another walk and the two errors to pull away in the sixth and notch their 10th victory of the season by at least eight runs.
Noad's walk started the frame and pinchrunner Courtney Howell moved to second on a sacrifice by Rasley and scored on Jessie Winans' RBI single up the middle. A fielder's choice, error and catcher's interference on Liberty loaded the bases and Desiree Zaragoza delivered her second pinch-hit RBI single in as many games to make it a 6-2 score. Chiusano then lined a run-scoring single off the glove of the shortstop before Hayden ended the game by hitting out a 1-1 pitch from Nordan for the record-breaker, pumping her fist and smiling as she ran the bases before jumping on to home plate surrounded by her teammates.
Coastal is back in action at home on Tuesday as it hosts Lowcountry rival Charleston Southern for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.