Softball to Participate in USF Under Armour Invitational This Weekend


Softball to Participate in USF Under Armour Invitational This Weekend

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BACK TO FLORIDA: Coastal Carolina travels to Clearwater, Fla., March 6-9 for the USF Under Armour Invitational. The Lady Chanticleers will play Illinois-Chicago, No. 13 Baylor, East Tennessee State, Michigan State and Hofstra. Additionally, CCU faces Team USA in an exhibition game.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: The Lady Chants had a change in their schedule involving the doubleheader against Gardner-Webb.  The doubleheader has been moved to April 8 due to expectant storms on March 4. Game time is still scheduled for 2 p.m. from the CCU Softball Field.

USA, USA, USA: CCU will square off with the best softball players in the world as the Lady Chants face Team USA in exhibition action, March 6 at 8:30 p.m., in Clearwater, Fla.

SCOUTING ILLINOIS-CHICAGO: The Flames enter the USF Under Armour Invitational with a 3-11 record... Participated in the Arizona Tournament Feb. 29-March 2, with its only win of the tournament being a 4-3 win over New Mexico State... Stephanie Chavez has a team-best 12 hits and is batting .414.

SCOUTING TEAM USA: In the midst of its Bound 4 Beijing tour, which includes 46 stops nationwide... Already eight games into the tour... Has not given up a single run as the team has faced three teams that are ranked in the most recent Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll (No. 12 LSU, No. 14 Hawaii and No. 23 Maryland).

The Bears open the week with at Texas-San Antonio Tuesday, March 4 and then heads to the USF Under Armour Invitational... Ranked 13th in the March 4 Softball Collegiate Top 25 poll... Has a 12-3 record on the year and a 4-2 mark at neutral site games... KJ Freeland and Kirsten Shortridge are batting over .500 this season with Freeland hitting  .577 (15 hits in 26 at-bats) in 13 games and Shortridge batting .523 (23-for44) in 12 games.

The Buccaneers have won four of their last five games, all of which were played at the College of Charleston... Five East Tennessee State players are hitting over .300 on the year, including Jessie Hackworth (.327) and Cheniece Cason (.308), who have started in each of the Bucs’ 17 games.

SCOUTING MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans face Saint Joseph’s in a doubleheader Tuesday, March 4 in Clearwater, Fla... Started the season 4-0, but have loss its last nine games... Four Spartans-Nikki Nicosia, Gina Mondo, Bianca Mejia and Caitlin Mahoney-are hitting over .300 on the season and have started in all 13 games... Nicosia leads the team with a .409 batting average, connecting on 18 hits in 44 at-bats.

SCOUTING HOFSTRA: The Pride enter the week with a 8-7 overall record and has played 13 of those games at neutral sites... Comes off a 6-1 win over Charlotte at the NFCA Leadoff Classic in Columbus, Ga., which was its only win of the tournament... Kris Root leads the team in four different categories, including batting average (.370), runs (10), hits (17) and stolen bases (9).

NOT LIKE LAST TIME: Coastal Carolina was winless in its second trip to Jacksonville, Fla. The Lady Chanticleers lost all five games of the Jacksonville University Softball Tournament Feb. 29-March 2. Earlier this season, CCU went 2-4 at the JU/Best Western Invitational.

LONG-DROPPERT NAMED ALL-TOURNAMENT: Junior Verity Long-Droppert was selected to the JU Softball Tournament All-Tournament Team. Long-Droppert hit .375 on the weekend with six hits in 16 at-bats. She also registered two runs, one double and an RBI.

IT’S OUTTA HERE: Sophomore Alicia Irwin hit her first home run of the season and the fourth of her career with a two-run shot to left field in the fourth inning against Virginia. Last season, Irwin had home run against Elon, James Madison and Winthrop. Her home run against Elon was not only the first of her career, but a grand slam.

Coastal Carolina swept Hampton in a doubleheader Sunday, Feb. 24 at the CCU Softball Field. The Lady Chants won the first game 5-1 and then the second 3-0.

LONG-DROPPERT GOES LONG: Junior Verity Long-Droppert was a key part in the Lady Chants’ 5-1 win over Hampton. With the score tied 1-1 in the fifth inning, Long-Droppert smashed a grand slam to center field that gave CCU the 5-1 lead. Coastal’s last grand slam occurred when Alicia Irwin hit one in the third inning in CCU’s 8-0 win over Elon Feb. 18, 2007.

NONE FOR YOU: Coastal Carolina recorded its first shutout of the season with a 3-0 win in game two against Hampton. In head coach Jess Dannelly’s career, the Lady Chants have recorded 185 total shutouts and had the most during the 1991 season with 17.

ONLY ONE: Sophomore Ashley Frederick’s one-hitter in game two against the Lady Pirates was the fewest hits she has allowed while pitching a complete game. Prior to Sunday’s game, the fewest hits Frederick allowed while pitching a complete game was two versus Stephen F. Austin March 2, 2007. Coastal won that game 10-0 in five innings.

LADY CHANTS RALLY FOR WIN OVER ELON: Coastal came back from a 6-0 deficit to defeat Elon 7-6 Sunday, Feb. 17 for the Lady Chants first home win of the 2008 season. CCU got a bulk of its offense from a five-run third inning and then tied the game 6-6 in the fifth when freshman Ashley Pedersen scored off an RBI single by sophomore Mecaela Ballard. Then in the sixth, Pedersen had a lead-off home run to left field that give CCU the 7-6 lead and complete the comeback.

GOING, GOING, GONE!: Three Lady Chants recorded a home run during the Three-Way Doubleheader Feb. 16-17. Junior Verity Long-Droppert hit not only her first career home run at Coastal, but also had CCU’s first of the 2008 with a longball against Maryland Feb. 16. Senior Allison Cantrell tallied her 17th career homer against Elon Feb. 16. Meanwhile, freshman Ashley Pedersen’s homer against Elon Feb. 17 was the first of her collegiate career.

SEVEN AND THEN SOME: Out of CCU’s first 10 games this season, two have gone into extra innings. Under head coach Jess Dannelly, two extra inning games is the most CCU has had 10 games deep into the season, a trend that has occurred seven different times.

ALL THE WAY TO 10: The Coastal Carolina-Maryland Saturday, Feb. 16 took 10 innings before the Terrapins finally came away with the 4-3 win. Coastal has never had a game last more than 10 innings and has reached 10 innings on just six occasions. The last time CCU played 10 innings was an 8-7 loss to Appalachian State in 2007.

PISONE NAMED BIG SOUTH PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Freshman Ashley Pisone was selected as the first Big South Player of the Week for the 2008 season. The Greensburg, Pa. native was 6-for-18, hit .333, scored four runs and had one double and three RBI at the JU/Best Western Invitational Feb. 8-10. Defensively, Pisone had 22 putouts and one assist and a 1.000 fielding percentage.

WHILE AT THE JU/BEST WESTERN INVITATIONAL: Coastal Carolina went 2-4 at the JU/Best Western Invitational Feb. 8-10. The Lady Chants picked up their first win of the season with a 2-1 victory over UNC Greensboro Saturday, Feb. 9. CCU end the tournament with a 3-1 win over host Jacksonville Sunday, Feb. 10.

SIX IS THE NUMBER FOR WALKER: For sophomore Laicole Walker, six was not just her jersey number at the JU/Best Western Invitational. It was also the number of games she started, the number of runs she scored as well as the number of hits she had. Walker’s six runs were a team-high and she was one of four Lady Chants with six hits on the weekend.

Junior transfer Verity Long-Droppert and freshman Ashley Pisone had a pair of impressive debuts in Coastal’s season-opening weekend at the JU/Best Western Invitational. Both players registered six hits and three RBI. Of Long-Droppert’s six hits, three were for multiple bases as she had two doubles and one triple. Meanwhile, in addition to her six hits and three RBI, Pisone also scored four runs and posted a .333 batting average.

BIRNBAUM ON THE OFFENSE AND THE DEFENSE: Junior Brittany Birnbaum was the fourth Lady Chanticleer to tally six total hits during the JU/Best Western Invitational, going 6-for-18 with two runs and two RBI. Defensively, the first baseman from Chino Hills, Calif. native totaled 46 putouts.

WE’RE GOING STREAKING: Juniors Brittany Birnbaum and Verity Long-Droppert has the longest hitting streak this season with hits in six consecutive games. CCU alum Sara Graziano (1993-94) owns the NCAA record for consecutive games hit streak with 43. The CCU and Big South Hall of Famer connected on a hit in every game spanning from April 8, 1993 to March 24, 1994.

COASTAL SELECTED THIRD IN PRESEASON POLL: CCU was selected to finish third in the annual Big South Conference preseason poll, as voted on by the league’s head coaches and sports information directors. The Lady Chants picked up 42 points in the poll.  Defending Big South Conference champion Winthrop topped the poll with 68 points and 10 first-place votes.

THE LONE RANGER: The 2008 roster consists of just one senior, Allison Cantrell. Cantrell joins juniors Brittany Birnbaum and Kelsey Riffel and junior transfers Shannon Connors and Verity Long-Droppert as the only upperclassman. Five sophomores and five freshman round out the roster.

Prior to her hand injury earlier this season, senior Allison Cantrell has been penciled in as a starter in all 141 games of her CCU career. Cantrell missed the second half of the 2006 season due to an injury. Cantrell is the only player on the 2008 roster to have played in more than 100 games at CCU.

TOUCH ‘EM ALL: A year ago, Allison Cantrell belted the second most home runs in a CCU single-season with 15. The record belongs to Meagen Johnson who connected on 20 longballs in the 2006 season. Cantrell currently ranks 10th on the CCU career homers list with 16, trailing leader Holly Lee (2000-03) who hit 44.

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK: CCU welcomes eight newcomers to the program for the 2008 season. Transfers juniors Verity Long-Droppert (Western Australia) and Shannon Connors (Plattsburgh State) and sophomore Mecaela Ballard (Galveston JC) join freshmen Morgan Dodd, Michelle Evans, Ashley Pedersen, Ashley Pisone and Cass Stuart.

CANTRELL EARNS AWARDS: Senior Allison Cantrell collected several Big South honors during the 2007 season. She was named to the All-Big South Second Team and All-Tournament Team. She was also selected for the All-Tournament team during her freshman campaign in 2005.

HEAD COACH JESS DANNELLY: Jess Dannelly enters his 21st season at the helm for the Lady Chants. With his 639 career wins, Dannelly is the winningest coach in CCU history in any sport. The seven-time Big South Coach of the Year has led CCU to six regular season league titles, five Big South Tournament titles and four NCAA Regional Appearances.

THE ASSISTANTS: Sarah Lockett and Megan Matthews Buning, both superb collegiate softball players, join Dannelly as assistant coaches. Lockett was a three-year starter for the Lady Chants, leading Coastal to two Big South titles, while earning both Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year twice. Matthews Buning complied an outstanding collegiate career as a pitcher at South Carolina, finishing with over 100 wins and 1,090 strikeouts, the 11 most in NCAA history.