This week Coastal Carolinas softball team comes back home for a quick two game home stand against USC Upstate on Tuesday, March 7 in a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. The Lady Chanticleers then travel down to Clearwater, Fla. to participate in the USF-Adidas Spring Break Invitational. CCU begins play on Thursday, March 9 against Illinois at 11 a.m. and Central Michigan at 6 p.m. Coastal takes the field again on Friday, March 10 as it take on Fordham at 1 p.m. and Virginia Tech at 6 p.m. The action continues on Saturday, March 11 as Coastal takes on Chattanooga at 11 a.m. before beginning bracket play at 4 p.m. The medal round will wrap up the tournament on Sunday, March 12 at either 9:30 a.m. or 11:30 a.m.
USF-Adidas Spring Break Invitational
Thursday, March 9
11 a.m.- Illinois vs. Coastal Carolina
6 p.m.- Central Michigan vs. Coastal Carolina
Friday, March 10
1 p.m. - Fordham vs. Coastal Carolina
6 p.m.- Virginia Tech vs. Coastal Carolina
Saturday, March 11
11 a.m.- Chattanooga vs. Coastal Carolina
4 p.m.- Bracket Play
Sunday, March 12
9:30/11:30 a.m.- Medal Play
Scouting USC Upstate:
The Spartans (14-3-1) won the Fatz Cafe Tournament this weekend with two victories over West Virginia Wesleyan and win over both Presbyterian and West Liberty State. USC Upstate has outscored its opponents a combined 32-0 in the last four games. Leading a balanced offensive attack has been freshman Heidi Gibbs, who has a team best 23 hits, six doubles and .390 batting average. Sophomore Shay Slater is hitting .368 with 17 stolen bases. The pitching has been solid for the Spartans, as junior Jessica Jolly and senior Jennifer Whited have combined to go 11-1 with 82 strikeouts in 90.1 innings.
Series vs. USC Upstate:
This is the fifth time the two schools have matched up, although the two schools have not played each other since 1997. Coastal holds a 4-0 advantage and have outscored the Spartans 22-3 in those four games. Coastal is 28-8 lifetime against the Peach Belt Conference.
Illinois will come in well rested after a two week break between appearances on the diamond. The Fighting Illini dropped both its games in the NFCA Leadoff Challenge to Florida 11-10 and to #17 Nebraska 21-1. U of I does hit the ball well with a team batting average of .281. Already this season, four players are in double figures in runs batted in. The offensive charge is led by senior Jenna Hall, who is hitting .441 with five doubles, two home runs and 14 RBI. Senior Rachelle Cordi adds the element of speed to the lineup as she has 11 stolen bases and 16 runs scored.
The pitching staff has had the worst of a tough early season schedule as the team ERA is 6.78. Sophomore Claire DeVreese has been the best pitcher in the early season for Illinois, as she has a 3-2 record and two complete games.
Series vs. Illinois:
This will be the 10th meeting between the two schools, with Illinois holding a 6-3 advantage over Coastal. Last season, the Fighting Illini defeated CCU in the Speedline Tournament by a score of 7-0. The Chants do sport a respectable 11-12 record against the Big Ten Conference all-time.
Scouting Central Michigan:
The Chippewas (4-7) went 3-3 in the Florida Invitational over the weekend. Sophomore infielder Amy Hudson has been sizzling so far this season. She leads the team with a .471 batting average, 16 hits, seven runs and 19 bases. Senior Jessica Garvin has solid start to her season, with a 2-1 record and a 2.83 earned-run average.
Series vs. Central Michigan:
Coastal defeated the Chippewas last season 3-1 during the Speedline Tournament the only time these two teams have ever faced each other. Against teams from the Mid-American Conference, the Chants have broken even at 8-8. Coastal was schedule to play MAC member Toledo earlier this year in the Triangle Classic, before weather issues forced the cancellation of that game.
The Rams (5-3) won both games of the rain shortened Fordham Spring Softball Tournament over Siena. Last years Atlantic-10 regular season champions won the Gamecock Invitational earlier this year. The only three loses that Fordham has dropped this season have all been to ranked opponents, as the Rams dropped two to #2 Texas to start the year and a game to #14 Texas A&M. Junior outfielder Krystle Henry is leading the offensive attack with a .333 batting average and eight hits on the season. The staffs best pitcher is junior Sara Kinney, who is 3-3 with a 2.06 ERA on the year.
Series vs. Fordham:
This is the first ever meeting between the Lady Chanticleers and Fordham. The Chants have feasted off teams from the Atlantic-10 Conference with a 23-5 overall record.
Scouting Virginia Tech:
The Hokies are a hot team coming into this weekends action. Virginia Tech won all four games in the UNLV Invitational to win the tournament. The Hokies bats have been smoking with six player batting over .300 and a team batting average of .326. Leading the balance offensive charge has been the freshman. Freshman Erin Ota has a team high .455 batting average while fellow freshman Charisse Mariconda leads the team with 11 RBI. The pitching staff has also been untouchable for Virginia Tech as sophomore Angela Tincher has been simply stunning. The reigning Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Week sports a 8-0 record, but even more amazing is in her 65 innings pitched she has fanned 142 batters and only given up 15 hits. Senior Katie Maynard has been impressive as well, as she is 6-2 and has struck out 53 in 43 innings in the circle.
Series vs. Virginia Tech:
This is the third time this season these team will square off.Virginia Tech defeated Coastal twice at the Myrtle Beach Chevrolet/CCU Softball Classic by scores of 5-1 and 4-0. Virginia Tech leads the all-time series between these two teams at 5-4. Coastal has an overall record of 18-39 against teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Lady Mocs (12-12) won the Frost Classic with a 5-1 record over the weekend. Senior catcher Ashleigh Bull leads the squad with a .344 batting average, three home runs and 22 hits and is second with 13 RBI. The team leader with 14 runs batted in is sophomore shortstop Tara Tembley. Senior righthander JayCee Wood has an 8-5 record, a 1.85 ERA and 12 complete games on the year.
Series vs. Chattanooga:
CCU and Chattanooga split its to two previous appearances against each other, although the two teams have not faced each other recently. The last meeting between these two school was in 1996 as Chattanooga escaped with a 5-4 victory. Coastal has done very well all-time against teams from the Southern Conference as it has a 76-40 record.
Last Season During the USF-Adidas Spring Break Invitational:
Last year, the Chants went 3-3 during in what was then the Speedline Tournament. The Chants dropped its opening game to Illinois 7-0 before rally and defeating Southern Mississippi in thrilling come from behind fashion 8-6 on the first day. During the second day, CCU dropped its only game of the day to Pittsburgh 1-0. The third day was a split as the Chants defeated Central Michigan 3-1 but were defeated by Northern Illinois 7-2. The tournament ended well as the Chants shut out Western Michigan 6-0 on the fourth and final day. Senior Sara Hostetler and sophomore Allison Cantrell led the way. Hostetler had a .316 batting average with three doubles and six hits during the tournament, while Cantrell had a team-best four RBI for the Chants.
Over the last four years, Coastal has faced teams from the Big Ten Conference eight times and in every one of those games except two, senior Brittany Nelson has been the made an appearance. In 35 innings against the Big Ten, Nelson has a career record of 2-2, a 2.64 ERA and 21 strikeouts.
Third baseman Sara Hostetler has helped lead CCU to a 4-2 record against team from the Mid-American Conference. Hostetler has a batting average of .368 in those six games with seven hits in 19 trips to the plate.
Hostetler Rips the Atlantic-10:
Senior Sara Hostetler last played against teams from the Atlantic-10 her freshman season during the 2003 season. In that two game swing, she hit .500 with three hits in six at bats with an RBI.
Expect a Strong Outing:
Senior Brittany Nelson and redshirt junior Christine Doyle both had strong pitching outings the last time CCU faced off against teams against the Atlantic-10 during the 2003 season. Doyle went seven innings and only allowed two hits in a shutout over Charlotte, while Nelson faired almost as well also going the distance in a 3-2 win over St. Bonaventure.
Southern Conference Stars:
Senior Brittany Nelson has a record of 7-2 against teams from the Southern Conference in her career. She has thrown 62.1 innings against the Southern Conference with 53 strikeouts and a 2.14 earned-run average. Fellow senior Sara Hostetler has been equally impressive form the plate. She has an average of .416 with two home runs and 16 RBI.
Junior Kristina Sheppard drove in a career-high five runs in Coastal 6-0 win over Ohio State in the consolation game of the Crimson Classic. Sheppard had an three run RBI triple in the third inning and a two run single in the sixth to led the team to victory. Senior starting pitcher Brittany Nelson was spectacular for CCU. She went the distance striking out eight and scattering five hits.
She Holds the Key:
Over the last four years nobody controls the fourtunes of Coastal more than senior third baseman Sara Hostetler. In wins over the last four years she has hit a scalding .335 average with three home runs and 40 RBI. In comparison in the losses Hostetlers batting average is .194 with a home run and 12 runs batted in.
The Light Will Lead You:
Juniors Kimberly Cillis and Kristina Sheppard have both hit well in the day light this season. Cillis has the highest batting average on the team at .462, while Sheppard leads with two home runs and nine RBI during the day.
After a slow start to begin the season, after missing most of the last two seasons with injuries, redshirt junior Christine Doyle has been getting stronger over the last three weeks. In the last three weeks, covering six appearances, Doyle has thrown 21.1 innings and compiled a 1.64 ERA with 18 strikeouts.
Over the last two years no two Chants have hit better in neutral site games than junior Kimberly Cillis and sophomore Allison Cantrell. Cillis has the highest batting average on the team at .357 while Cantrell has hit .276 with a tied for a team best 11 RBI. She is tied with senior Kelly Feely and junior Kristina Sheppard, who also have 11 RBI in neutral site games over the last two years.
A Balanced Attack:
The first 14 games of the 2006 season has shown Coastal to be a balanced offensive attack. Eight different Chanticleers have driven in multiple runs this season. Junior Kristina Sheppard has a team best nine RBI this season. Seniors Sara Hostetler and Kelly Feely have both driven in four runs.
Getting it Done When it Counts:
Coastal has scored 34 runs on the season, but 16 of those runs, or 47 percent, have been driven in after two outs were made in an inning.
The Strikeout Queen:
Senior Brittany Nelson has been the strikeout queen in the early going for Coastal. In 33.1 innings covering seven appearances this season, Nelson has 28 strikeouts.
Its a Long Drive:
Coastal has shown great power in the first 14 games of the season as four different Lady Chants have already homered in six of those games. That means CCU has hit a home run in 43 percent of its games this year. In comparison, last years squad homered in 30 percent of their games.
Need to Avoid the Big Inning:
Coastal has given up four or more runs in an inning five times through the first 14 games. In their 12 losses, CCU has put itself in an early hole as it has given up 24 runs in the first two innings.
A Different Trend:
The 2006 season was the first time since 1998 that Coastal had opened a season at home. In the previous two years, redshirt junior pitcher Christine Doyle had been the opening day pitcher on the road, so two trends were broken when junior Danyelle Gerdts started the first game of the season.
Coastal Picked Second in Big South:
Coastal Carolinas softball team, led by head coach Jess Dannelly, has been picked for second place in the 2006 Big South Conferences softball preseason poll as voted by the Leagues head softball coaches and sports information directors, the league office announced, Jan. 24.
The preseason favorite this season is Winthrop, who garnered seven first place votes and 84 points overall to narrowly finish ahead of the Lady Chanticleers, who received three first place votes and 81 points overall. Winthrop was the conferences regular season champion and were the runner-up in the Big South Tournament last season. Radford received four first place votes and 76 points to finish a close third. The top three were followed by Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (46 points), Birmingham-Southern (45 points), Liberty (44 points), and Charleston Southern (16 points).
Libertys junior shortstop Jessica Moore, who was the 2005 Big South Softball Player of the Year, was voted as the Conferences Preseason Player of the Year. Moore received six first place votes and 19 points overall to finish ahead of Coastal Carolinas senior pitcher/designated player Meagen Johnson, who had two first place votes and six points overall.
Head Coach Jess Dannelly: Coastal Carolina head coach Jess Dannelly (South Carolina 80) is in his 19th season as the mentor of the Chanticleers. He has a career record of 576-422. Coach Dannelly won his 550th career softball game May 14, 2004 and is 30th among active softball coaches in victories and 61st in winning percentage.
Coastal Carolinas softball team returns 15 letterwinners from last years team including its entire pitching rotation from a year ago. The returning rotation is seniors Meagen Johnson and Brittany Nelson, redshirt junior Christine Doyle and juniors Danyelle Gerdts and Trish Kretchman.
Also returning to the senior-laden squad: are seniors Sara Hostetler, Lynee Hastings, Kelly Feely, Irene Finley, Katey Allen, juniors Kristina Sheppard, Kimberly Cillis, Carla Hood and sophomores Allison Cantrell and Ashley Gerdts.
Newcomers Dot Coastals Roster:
Coastals rosters also has something new as seven new players have joined the squad this season. Redshirt junior Glynn Tolleson and redshirt sophomore Erika Trujillo are both eligible to play after sitting out last season. Joining the team this season are freshmen Kelsey Riffel, Brittany Birnbaum, Whitney Gibson, Candra Witt and Tara Albohn.
Its a Sisterly Thing:
Redshirt junior catcher Glynn Tolleson is the sister of former Lady Chanticleer Morgan Tolleson. Morgan Tolleson played for Coastal from 2002-2003. From the circle, she appeared in 24 games and compiled a record of 9-9 with a 2.58 earned-run average.
Three Named to All-Big South Team:
Seniors Sara Hostetler and Meagen Johnson were named Big South First Team All-Conference while junior Kimberly Cillis was named Second Team the league office announced May 13, 2005. It was the second time that Hostetler was named to the first team, while Johnson and Cillis each were first-time members of the All-Big South squads.
Milestones on the Horizon:
Coastal Carolinas softball team has several career milestones in reach.
After her home run against Illinois State, senior Kelly Feely now has 13 career home runs and is tied with former Lady Chanticleer Cari Rowe for seventh place. Former Lady Chant Michelle Hall is in sixth place with 15 home runs.
Junior Kristina Sheppard now has 10 career home runs good for 9th place all time at Coastal just behind teammate Kelly Feely.
Senior Sara Hostetler now has 28 career doubles and is tied with former Lady Chant Holly Lee for seventh place.
Senior Katey Allen with 21 career stolen bases has tied Kacee Crumpacker for ninth place.
Senior pitcher Brittany Nelson has 83 appearances and only trails fifth place, Stephanie Belden, by nine appearances.
Nelson with 36 complete games trails sixth place by six. Nelsons 34 victories trails sixth place by three. Belden currently is ranked ahead of Nelson in both categories.
Nelson is also among the leaders in innings pitched as she is 11.1 innings from moving into sixth place all-time in innings pitched currently held by Tracey Russ.
Next, Coastal Carolinas softball team comes home for a four game home stand. They play a double dip against UNC Wilmington on Wednesday, March 15 starting at 4 p.m. CCU then will play host to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi for a pair of games on Friday, March 17 starting at 3 p.m.