The Battle At The Beach Is Set To Begin Thursday Afternoon
CONWAY - After a successful 4-1 start to the season in last week’s Kickin’ Chicken Classic, the Coastal Carolina softball team is right back at this weekend, starting Thursday afternoon at 4 p.m. as they host a doubleheader against the Lafayette Leopards at CCU Softball Stadium as part of the Battle at the Beach tournament. Other teams participating in the tournament include Robert Morris, UConn, Kent State, and Rider.
Last weekend the Chants picked up two wins versus Iowa State and victories versus Presbyterian, and UNCG. Freshman Kaitlin Beasley-Polko picked her first two career collegiate wins, both shutouts, as she knocked off Iowa State in her debut with a line of 7 IP, 7 K, and 4 hits. On Sunday, Beasley-Polko knocked off Presbyterian with 7 IP, 11 K, and only 3 hits.
The Coastal freshman came up big on offense in their first weekend of play as Samantha Sack and Courtney Dean were able to hit back-to-back home runs in their first collegiate game versus Iowa State. In the fourth inning, with bases full, Sack blasted a grand slam over the right-field fence and then the next batter, Dean, on the first pitch hit an opposite-field shot to put away the Cyclones, 8-0.
The Huskies come in the weekend with a season record of 3-2, winners of their last three as they defeated Jacksonville State, Jacksonville and Army.
Three UConn players have played in all five games this season and have a batting average of .300 or better. Kiwi McDaniel leads her team with a .375 average, while Olivia Sappington (.333), and Emma Stanley (.308) follow behind.
In 2018, the Huskies have been picked by the coaches in the American Athletic Conference to finish seventh.
So far in 2018 the Colonials have played in four games and yet to win. Last weekend, Robert Morris played in the Cleveland State Domed Tournament as they fell to the likes of the host team, Cleveland State, Niagra, Canisius, and Bowling Green.
Abrielle McCartney has hit .462 as she collected six hits, including four doubles, while driving in five. Four other RMU players have been able to hit over .300 over the first four games; Taryn Miller, Brianna Bunner, Ashlee Groover and Olivia Lorusso.
The Colonials have been picked by the coaches of the NEC to finish second, right behind last week’s opponent in the Kickin’ Chicken Classic, Saint Francis.
The Battle At The Beach is the first action of the Kent State Golden Flashes will see in 2018 as a season ago they were able to collect a record of 33-28 overall with a 15-9 record in the MAC, which was good for a share of second place in the East Division. The Golden Flashes advanced to postseason play and were able to win their conference tournament and then move on the NCAA tournament as they lost in the Waco Regional going 1-2. Their lone win came against the Pac-12’s Oregon State Beavers.
In 2017, Kent State had the MAC’s Player of the Year, Maddy Grimm and Ronnie Ladines, and Bailey Brownfield. Emily Dobbin was a selection to the second team all-conference.
The Golden Flashes are expected to finish first in the MAC per the coaches.
This weekend is also the opener for the Lafayette Leopards as a season ago they finished with a 13-28 overall record and 5-13 in the Patriot League.
Returner Brooke Wensel was named the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2017 while at shortstop and was able to help turn eight double plays including a tie for the top mark against league opponents. In 98 chances she committed just two errors, assisting on 56 plays and 40 put outs that ranked her as the best player at her position in the league.
At the plate, Wensel was able to hit safely in 10 straight games with a batting average of .500 that helped the team to a season-high five straight wins.
This season, the Leopards have been voted in the preseason coaches’ poll to finish seventh in their conference.
Rider comes into their opening weekend of the season after finishing with a 6-44 record overall and 1-19 in the Metro Atlantic Conference.
Emily Ottman is the Broncs leader in the circle as in 2017 the sophomore was tied for sixth conference 30 appearances. The right-hander had 16 starts and 14 relief appearances.
Monica Clark returns this season for the Broncs as the team’s top hitter. In 2017, the senior played in 50 games a year ago with 47 starts. Clark hit .252 and collected 37 hits, totaled 51 bases, and 12 base on balls.
Rider comes into 2018 tabbed as the MAAC’s 10th best team.
The Battle at the Beach begins on Thursday afternoon with the Chanticleers taking on Lafayette at 4 p.m. in game one of the day’s doubleheader.