DOUBLEHEADERS GALORE: Coastal Carolina will host three straight doubleheaders at the CCU Softball Field, two of which will be this week. The Lady Chanticleers welcome Presbyterian to town Thursday, March 20 and then Georgia Tech Saturday, March 22.
LIVE VIDEO ACTION: Live video of game one of the Coastal Carolina-Georgia Tech twinbill will be streamed online via THE EDGE on www.bigsouthsports.com. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 per game or $29.95 for the entire season.
SCOUTING PRESBYTERIAN: The Blue Hose enter the week with an 8-13 record... Swept by Gardner-Webb in a doubleheader Tuesday, March 18... Had their March 15 doubleheader against North Greenville cancelled due to inclement weather... Last victory was a 4-1 win over Liberty at the Stetson Hatter Softball Classic Sunday, March 9... Prior to Tuesday’s games, Rachel Parker (.364) and Amanda Miller (.333) are the only two batting over .300 on the season...
SCOUTING GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets are on their spring break trip, making stops at Tennessee Tech March 18, Winthrop March 20 and Coastal March 22... Swept by Tennessee Tech in a doubleheader Tuesday March 18... Last win was a 7-3 triumph over then-No. 24 Virginia Tech in game two Sunday, March 16... Aileen Morales bats a team-best .337 (31-for-92).
COASTAL WINS TWO AT OWL CLASSIC: The Lady Chants won both of their games Sunday, March 16 at the shortened Owl Classic hosted by Kennesaw State. After CCU’s games on Saturday, March 15 were cancelled due to severe thunderstorms and two tornado warnings in the Kennesaw, Ga. area, CCU only played Manhattan and Alabama State on Sunday. The Lady Chants came away with the 4-3 win over Manhattan in eight innings and then topped Alabama State 6-2.
LADY CHANTS WIN IN EIGHT: Sophomore Alyssa Tornatore had the game-winning RBI single in the top of the eighth inning against Manhattan Sunday, March 16 that allowed classmate Alicia Irwin to score and eventually give CCU the 4-3 victory. The win was CCU’s first extra-inning victory of the season.
LADY CHANTS SPLIT DOUBLEHEADER WITH USC UPSTATE: Coastal went 1-1 in its midweek series against USC Upstate Wednesday, March 12. The Lady Chants lost the first game 1-0 in 10 innings, but rebounded in the second with a come-from-behind 6-5 victory.
SNAPPING STREAKS: In Coastal’s 6-5 win over USC Upstate March 12, the Lady Chants ended both losing and scoreless skids. Coastal had dropped its last 11 games and then had not scored a run in 52 innings. The scoreless stretch ended in the first inning as sophomore Mecaela Ballard scored off a Spartan error that allowed junior Verity Long-Droppert to reach base. Junior Brittany Birnbaum hit a two-run single in the bottom of the sixth that drove in junior Kelsey Riffel and freshman Michelle Evans, giving CCU the 6-5 lead and capping a four-run, two-hit sixth inning.
IRWIN DROPS A BOMB... AGAIN: Sophomore Alicia Irwin sparked Coastal’s four-run sixth inning in game two against USC Upstate with a lead-off home run. It was Irwin’s second longball this season and the fifth of her career.
ALL THE WAY TO 10: Coastal Carolina has played in two 10 innings games this season, a feat that has not been accomplished in a single season prior to this year. CCU had its first 10-inning game come against Maryland Feb. 16 and its second versus USC Upstate in game one of the March 12 doubleheader. Coastal has never had a game last more than 10 innings and has reached 10 innings on just seven occasions.
DEALING WITH THE ELEMENTS: Mother Nature was not on CCU’s side weather-wise for the week of March 4-9. The Lady Chants had games either postponed or cancelled due to rain and thunderstorms as well as played two games at the USF Under Armour Invitational in windy and cold conditions.
TEAM USA EXHIBITION WASHED OUT: With rain and thunderstorms rolling through the Clearwater, Fla. area Thursday, March 6, Coastal’s exhibition game with Team USA was cancelled. The game was part of Team USA’s Bound 4 Beijing tour, which features 46 stops before Team USA travels to Beijing, China for the 2008 Summer Olympics Aug. 8-24.
CCU-GARDNER-WEBB DOUBLEHEADER POSTPONED: The doubleheader between Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb has been postponed to April 8 at 2 p.m. at the CCU Softball Field. The game was originally scheduled for March 4, but expected rainfall in the Conway area pushed the doubleheader back.
NOT A GOOD TIME AT THE USF UNDER ARMOUR INVITATIONAL: Coastal Carolina went 0-5 at the USF Under Armour Invitational held at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater, Fla. Among those CCU lost to were No. 13 Baylor and Michigan State, who had upset Baylor in extra innings.
NEW TOPS: Coastal Carolina debuted two new uniform jerseys - a black one and a white one - at the USF Under Armour Invitational. Made by adidas, both jerseys have “Chants” written in teal in block lettering across the chest and have teal numbering on the front and the back.
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.
CCU TAKES TWO FROM HAMPTON: 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.
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.
IMPRESSIVE DEBUTS: 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 and sophomore Mecaela Ballard have the longest hitting streaks 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 freshmen round out the roster.
NOW FOR YOUR STARTERS...: 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 641 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.