CONWAY, S.C. -- Coastal Carolina's softball team snapped an 11-game losing skid on Wednesday, March 12 as the Lady Chanticleers split their doubleheader with USC Upstate at the CCU Softball Field. Coastal lost the first game 1-0 in a 10-inning marathon, but used a four-run sixth inning in game two to come from behind and defeat the Spartans 6-5 in game two.
Coastal and USC Upstate remained scoreless through seven innings as the teams headed into extra innings where the international tie-breaker rule is used and automatically places a runner on second. Both teams had their chances in the eighth and ninth innings, but the Spartans got the game-winner in the top of the 10th. With Courtney Tate being placed a second and pinch running for Vanesa Flores, an Amber Patterson groundout to sophomore Alicia Irwin (Salina, Kan./Salina South) at third base allowed for Tate to move to third. Tiffany Pitcher hit an RBI single through the left side that drove in Tate.
Morgan Childers had the win after throwing all 10 innings, recording 13 strikeouts and allowing just two Lady Chanticleer hits. Sophomore Ashley Frederick (Lusby, Md./Paxtuent) pitched the complete game in the loss, giving up one team unearned run in six hits. The 10-inning game marked the second time this season in which CCU has played 10 innings and just the first time in program history in which two or more 10-innings games have been played in a season.
In game two, the Spartans jumped out to a 3-0 lead midway through the first inning. With one out, Katie Adams hit a single to right field. Shay Slater struck out to give USC Upstate two outs in the inning. As Adams would steal second and Heidi Gibbs walked, Flores struck out swinging, but safely reached first due to a Coastal wild pitch. Patterson hit a bases-loaded two-RBI single to left field that scored Adams and Gibbs and moved Flores to second. With Tate coming in to pinch run for Flores, Courtney Feldon had an RBI-single to center field that drove in Tate and give USC Upstate the 3-0 lead.
Coastal respond in the bottom half of the first inning. Sophomore Mecaela Ballard (Groves, Texas/Port Neches Groves (Galveston JC)) started the Coastal offense with a walk and then moved to second off a sacrifice bunt by junior Brittany Birnbaum (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala). As sophomore Laicole Walker (Wichita, Kan./Wichita Collegiate School) struck out, junior Verity Long-Droppert (Claremont, Australia/Shenton (Western Australia)) reached first on a Spartan error that also allowed Ballard to score, snapping the Lady Chants' scoreless stretch. Long-Droppert moved to second off a passed ball and then an Irwin double to right center scored Long-Droppert to make it a 3-2 game still in favor of USC Upstate.
The Spartans added to their lead, scoring one run in both the third and fifth inning. After Gibbs grounded out to Walker at shortstop to start the third inning, Flores doubled to left center. A Patterson sacrifice bunt moved Flores to third. Flores would score off a Feldon RBI-single to give USC Upstate the 4-2 advantage. With one out in the fifth, Flores homered to center field to make it a 5-2 game.
Coastal clawed its way back, using a four-run sixth inning rally. Irwin started the inning with a home run, which was her second of the season, to make it a 5-3 game. After freshman Ashley Pedersen (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater) popped up, classmate Michelle Evans reached base after being hit by a pitch. Sophomore Alyssa Tornatore (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) popped up in order to give CCU two outs for the inning, but junior Kelsey Riffel (Wichita, Kan./Maize) walked and allowed Coastal to have runners at first and second. Ballard reached first off a costly throwing error by USC Upstate, which allowed Riffel to reach third and for Evans to score and cut the Spartans' lead to one. Birnbaum hit what proved to be a game-winning, two-run single to center field that drove in Riffel and Evans to give CCU the 6-5 edge.
Evans was credited with the win. Evans, who started the game and then re-entered in the top of the sixth, pitched 2.1 innings, allowed three unearned runs off six hits and retired four batters. Meanwhile, Frederick had the save. Frederick came into the game in the top of the seventh runners on the corners and two outs. She got Brasil to ground out to Irwin in order to end the game. Childers had the loss after pitching the final two innings for the Spartans. Childers gave up four runs, one of which was earned, off four hits.
Birnbaum went 3-for-5 on the day with two RBI, while Irwin also had two RBI and was 2-for-6 from the plate.
Coastal Carolina returns to action for its final regular season tournament when the Lady Chants take part in the Owl Classic at Kennesaw State March 15-16. CCU opens the tournament against Kent State at 11 a.m.