March 18, 2013
CONWAY - Following a week off, the Coastal Carolina softball team returns to action on Tuesday when it opens up Big South Conference play with a doubleheader at Longwood, beginning at 4 p.m.
Tuesday's doubleheader starts an important first week of conference games for the reigning Big South Tournament champion Chanticleers (13-11). The Chants will play three-game series against the two early conference leaders, Longwood and Campbell, over a five-day span.
CCU and Longwood wrap up their series in Farmville, Va., with a game on Wednesday. The Chants then return home for a doubleheader against Campbell on Friday and a single game versus the Camels on Saturday.
Coastal heads into conference play having won 11 of its last 14 games and leads the Big South with a team ERA of 2.07. Kiana Quolas is 7-5 in the circle with a conference-best 1.65 ERA and four shutouts. Morgan Mastriania and Ashley Bagwell have ERA's of 2.26 and 2.73, respectively. At the plate, Kory Hayden is hitting .304 with a team-best nine home runs and 20 RBIs, Cacia Pierre has a squad-best .365 average and Bri Chiusano is hitting .333 with team-highs of 26 hits and 16 runs.
In its first season in the Big South, Longwood (19-7) is off to a 5-1 start in conference play after sweeping three games against Charleston Southern this past weekend. The Lancers feature a potent offense that is averaging a league-high 7.7 runs per game, led by the combination of sophomore catcher Megan Baltzell and senior pitcher/designated player Brooke Short.
Campbell is 17-8 overall and 3-0 in the conference after sweeping Gardner-Webb. The Camels rank second in the Big South in team batting, led by sophomore shortstop Ericka Nesbitt, who was the nation's leader in average going into last week's games.