Coastal Carolinas softball team has another busy week of action. CCU welcomes in Gardner-Webb for a doubleheader on Tuesday, March 21 at 3 p.m. Another double dip follows on Wednesday, March 22 against North Florida at 3 p.m. The Chanticleers then take to the road and participate in its last regular season tournament of the season, the ECU Classic. The tournament begins on Friday, March 24 against #8 California at 2 p.m. Later that afternoon, the Lady Chanticleers take on host school East Carolina at 4 p.m. CCU continues its play in the tournament the next day, March 25, against Kent State at 9 a.m. and Penn State at 11 a.m. The third day of the tournament has Coastal and Buffalo squaring off in a 11 a.m. game.
The Bulldogs (5-15) have had a rough start to the early season, but have won three of their last four games including sweeping its two games series over Georgetown by a combined score of 21-1 over the weekend. Sophomore outfielder Jessi Williams has a team-best batting average (.429), home runs (3) and RBI (18). Sophomore pitcher Haley Schism has all five wins for GWU.
Series vs. Gardner-Webb:
Coastal holds a 3-1 advantage over GWU in the meetings between these two teams. Last year, these two teams met twice with Coastal losing the first game 2-1 but winning the second game 11-3.
Scouting North Florida:
The Ospreys (15-12) are making a solid impact in their first year in the Atlantic Sun Conference. UNF went 2-3 at the Florida State Tournament over the weekend. North Florida has been a solid hitting team for most of the season with a team batting average of .295. Junior Christina Evans has been the offensive leader with a batting average of .383. Senior Kelli Pitts has been the most consistent pitcher for UNF with five wins and an ERA of 1.66.
Series vs. North Florida:
This is the first ever meeting between the two teams, but CCU does have a record of 52-21 against teams from the Atlantic Sun Conference.
California (24-2), who is ranked sixth, are one of the national powers in the world of college softball. Cal is riding a 19-game winning streak, including all four of its games in the Capital Classic Tournament in Sacramento, Calif. last weekend. California has smoked the ball with a team batting average of .337 this season. Six regular starters for Cal are hitting over .375 on the year. Senior Haley Woods is having a memorable season as she has a batting average of .451 and leads the team in hits (37), runs (22), doubles (11), home runs (11) and runs-batted in (38). The pitching staff relies heavily on senior Kristina Thorson. Thorson has an overall record of 16-2, an 0.81 earned-run average and 156 punch outs in 103.2 innings this year.
Series vs. California:
This will be the second meeting between these two schools as California defeated Coastal 8-1 last season in the Carolina Classic. CCU is 2-7 lifetime against teams from the Pac-10.
Scouting East Carolina:
The Pirates (19-11) dropped all three of its weekend games to UAB. The Pirates offensive attack is led by senior catcher Krista Jessup whose .369 batting average and 31 hits lead the squad. Junior Kelli Harrell is the best ECU hurler with 10 wins, 12 complete games and 123 strikeouts in 107.1 innings on the mound.
Series vs. East Carolina:
This will be the 45th meeting between the two schools, with East Carolina holding a 29-15 advantage over Coastal. These two school have not faced each other since the 2003 season with CCU coming away with a 5-1 victory.
Scouting Kent State:
Kent State (8-9) went 1-2 in the Ohio State Buckeye Invitational over the weekend. The Golden Eagles are led by sophomore Corey Houk, who was named to the All-Tournament team at the OSU Invitational. Junior Brittney Robinson had 11 strikeouts in defeat for the KSU pitching staff against Pittsburgh.
Series vs. Kent State:
This is the fifth time these two school will lock up with the series knotted at two each in the previous four meetings. The last time CCU and KSU played against each other was in 1996 as Kent State prevailed 5-0.
Scouting Penn State:
The Nittany Lions (14-3) are off to the best start in the school history. PSU won the Hawai`i Tournament as sophomore pitcher Ashley Esparza took home MVP honors. Penn State is led offensively by sophomore Jen Acunto, who leads the team in most offensive categories, including hits (16), doubles (3), home runs (2) and RBI (12). The pitching has been solid for PSU as sophomore Jenn Reynolds is 4-0 with a 0.30 ERA.
Series vs. Penn State:
This is the fourth meeting between the two schools with Coastal having won each of the last two meetings including last years 2-0 win in the Carolina Classic. The Lady Chants are a respectable 11-13 against the Big Ten Conference including this years 7-2 win over Illinois in the USF-SpringBreak Invitational.
The Bulls (8-17) lost three of four games in the USF-Speedline Tournament over the weekend. Junior Sophie Barstad is the best hitter and pitcher on Buffalo. She leads the team with a .299 batting average, four home runs and 21 runs-batted in as a hitter. From the circle, Barstad has a team-best seven wins, 11 complete games and 45 strikeouts.
Series vs. Buffalo:
This will be the first ever meeting between the two schools. Coastal is 1-0 against teams from the Mid-American Conference this season and 9-8 all-time.
Hostetler Named the Big South Conferences Player of the Week:
Senior Sara Hostetler had a great week of action as Coastal swept a pair of games from both UNC Wilmington and conference rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. In her two games against UNCW, Hostetler reached base four times with two hits, two walks, two runs scored and two runs batted-in. The senior third baseman continued her strong play in the CCU sweep of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, as she went 5-for-7 with three runs scored, five RBI and a walk in the two games.
For the week, Hostetler had a batting average of .538 as she was 7-for-13 with six RBI, five runs scored and three walks. Further, she had a slugging percentage of .769 and and posted an on-base percentage of .588.
On a Hot Streak:
Senior Sara Hostetler is on a season-best six game hitting. During the streak, Hostetler is 9-for-20 for a .450 batting average with five runs scored, a home run and six runs batted in.
The Big Four:
Coastal Carolina pitching staff had tremendous week as a whole. The four starters each threw complete games with a no-hitter, a one-hitter and two three-hitters. For the week the group only allowed one run on seven hits in 25 innings of work. The team earned-run average for the week was a miniscule 0.28 as opponents only batted .086 against the Lady Chants pitching for the week. The week began as senior Brittany Nelson threw a complete game three-hit shutout with four strikeouts against UNC Wilmington in a five inning run ruled 8-0 victory. The second game saw senior Meagen Johnson go all eight innings only giving up one run on three hits with nine strikeouts in CCU 2-1 win over UNC Wilmington in the swept doubleheader. In the third game of the week, against conference rival Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, redshirt junior Christine Doyle was simply unhittable. She went all five innings in the no-hitter and was a hit batter away from throwing a perfect game. She struck out five in the 9-0 five inning victory. Junior Danyelle Gerdts was almost as good in the second game of the doubleheader against TAMUCC. She threw a complete game shutout one-hitter in which a runner didnt get past first base and she struck out seven Islanders.
Redshirt junior Christine Doyles no-hitter against Texas A&M Corpus Christi was the first no-hitter thrown by a CCU hurler since Doyle threw a perfect game against Winthrop on April 27, 2003.
A Good Stretch:
The recent success of Coastal in winning 12 of its last 13 games is the best softball the Lady Chants have played under head coach Jess Dannelly since 1999 when they also won 12 of 13.
The keys to Coastal winning 12 of its last 13 games is a strong offense that walked 46 times and averaged better than five runs a game and a pitching staff that only yielded 20 earned runs in 91 innings from the hill.
Last Year Against Gardner-Webb:
Senior Brittany Nelson had a great doubleheader as a hitter against Gardner-Webb last season. She went 3-for-7 with a home run and five runs-batted in as CCU split the doubleheader.
In a Previous Meeting:
Senior Meagen Johnson and Kelly Feely both had solid afternoons against California last season. Feely was 2-for-3 while Johnson went 1-for-3 with a long home run to right field.
Its Been A While:
CCU has not faced East Carolina since 2003 but in that game Coastal won 5-0 as redshirt junior Christine Doyle threw a one-hit shutout with seven strikeouts.
Third baseman Sara Hostetler has helped lead CCU to a 5-2 record against team from the Mid-American Conference in her career. Hostetler has a batting average of .391 in those seven games with nine hits in 23 trips to the plate. Earlier this season against Central Michigan, Hostetler was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs-batted in as Coastal cruised to an 11-6 win.
Last season when Coastal trumped Penn State 2-0 senior Brittany Nelson was a Nittany Lion slayer. She pitched a complete game shutout in the CCU victory.
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 .347 with five home runs and 51 RBI. In comparison, in the losses Hostetlers batting average is .213 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 .325, while Sheppard leads with four home runs and 14 RBI during the day.
Stingy During the Day:
This season senior pitcher Brittany Nelson has been quite stingy during the day. She has a 4-2 record but an eye popping 0.69 in 40.2 innings of work.
After missing most of the last two seasons with injuries, redshirt junior Christine Doyle has been getting stronger over the last few weeks. In the last two weeks, covering six appearances, Doyle has thrown 34 innings and compiled a 1.03 ERA with four wins, 27 strikeouts a .177 opponents batting average.
Johnson Among Conference Leaders:
Senior Meagen Johnson is currently ranked among the Big South Conference leaders in three offensive categories. She is third in on-base percentage (.525) and home runs (5), and fifth in walks (13).
The Friendly Confines:
Senior Sara Hostetler has thrived in the friendly confines of CCU Softball Field, as she has a career average .346 with six home runs and 35 RBI.
Junior Kristina Sheppard has made multiple starts at four positions this season. Sheppard has started at third, second, left and centerfield this season.
A Balanced Attack:
The first 26 games of the 2006 season has shown Coastal to be a balanced offensive attack. Ten different Chanticleers have driven in multiple runs this season. Senior Meagen Johnson has a team-best 18 RBI while junior Kristina Sheppard has driven in 16 runs and senior Sara Hostetler has 15 RBI.
No One is Better in the Clutch:
Junior Kristina Sheppard is second on the team with 16 RBI, but out of her 16 runs driven in, 11 have come when there have been two outs in an inning.
When runners are on, no batter in the CCU lineup is more dangerous than senior Meagen Johnson. Johnson is batting .611 (11-for-18) this season when runners are on when she comes to the plate.
The Strikeout Queen:
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle has been the strikeout queen this season for Coastal. In 58.2 innings covering 14 appearances this season, Doyle has a team-best 47 strikeouts.
Its a Long Drive:
Coastal has shown great power in the first 26 games of the season as eight different Lady Chants have already homered in 14 of those games. That means CCU has hit a home run in 54 percent of its games this year. In comparison, last years squad homered in 30 percent of their games.
Doing Better Than The Previous Regime:
CCUs 20 home runs as team this year, has already topped last years total of 15.
Leading off the Right Way:
Since being inserted as the leadoff batter senior Sara Hostetler is hitting .450 with a home run, six RBI and an on-base percentage of .520. Coastal is also 5-1 in games in which Hostetler leads off.
Need to Avoid the Big Inning:
Coastal has given up four or more runs in an inning five times through the first 26 games. In their 13 losses, CCU has put itself in an early hole as it has given up 24 runs in the first two innings.
We Got Ya Late:
Coastal has shown great fight and determination in the latter stages of games this season. In the sixth inning and later, CCU has outscored its opponents a combined 30-12.
All Good Things Must Come to an End:
Coastal had its eight-game winning streak snapped with the loss to Tennessee Tech in the gold bracket game. The eight-game winning streak was the longest for CCU since 2003 when it also won eight games in a row.
An Amazing Number:
CCUs pitching staff through the first 26 games has only yielded two home run and only 25 total extra base hits, in comparison the CCU offense has 20 home runs and 55 extra hits.
As Fast as We Need to Be:
In the first 26 games, CCU has yet to ground into a double play while turning the trick twice themselves.
We Pick Our Spots:
Coastal may not run often, as it only has eight stolen bases on the season, but it is only on nine attempts so the Lady Chants run wisely and pick the spots they attempt to steal.
Knocking off the Giants:
When the Lady Chants knocked off #23 Virginia Tech 4-3 on March 10 it was the first win for Coastal over a ranked opponents since the 2004 season when CCU knocked off then #14 Oregon 2-1.
Thats What I Call a Good Week:
Coastal Carolina softball completed an impressive week where it went 7-1 including wins over Illinois, Central Michigan, Fordham, #23 Virginia Tech and Chattanooga in the USF-Spring Break Invitational. Coastal won all five of its games in pool play to advance into gold bracket with some of the top tier teams nationally. CCU lost a heart breaker to Tennessee Tech 4-3 in nine innings, but even the loss could not spoil what a tremendous week the Lady Chants had. Senior Meagen Johnson had a memorable tournament, as she had a .583 batting average with three home runs, 10 RBI, nine walks, a 1.500 slugging percentage and an on-base percentage of .762 against Coastals competition.
Following the action against Alabama seniors Brittany Nelson and Meagen Johnson were both named to the Crimson Classic All-Tournament Team.
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 a 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.
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 587-423. 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 Chattanooga, senior Kelly Feely now has 15 career home runs and is tied with former Lady Chanticleer Michelle Hall for sixth place all-time. She is six behind former Lady Chant Sara Graziano for fifth place all-time.
Junior Kristina Sheppard now has 13 career home runs good for 9th place all time at Coastal tied with former Lady Chant Cari Rowe and just behind former CCU softball player Michelle Hall and current teammate Kelly Feely.
Senior Sara Hostetler now has 30 career doubles and is tied with former Lady Chant Leslie Steele for sixth place.
Senior Katey Allen with moved into ninth place with 22 career stolen bases. She is behind former Coastal players Jill Friedman and Heather Endrenyi who each have 23 thefts.
Senior pitcher Brittany Nelson has 89 appearances and only trails fifth place, former Lady Chant Stephanie Belden, by three appearances.
Nelson with 39 complete games trails sixth place by three. Nelsons 37 victories are tied with Stephanie Belden for sixth place.
Nelson has moved into fifth place all-time in innings pitched with 434.1. Former Coastal pitcher Lauren Yates is ahead of her by 117.2.
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle with her five strikeouts against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is now sixth all-time in strikeouts with 252. With four wins this season, Doyle has moved into eighth all-time in wins with 29.
Next, Coastal Carolinas softball team has a pair of doubleheaders next week. The week begins for the Lady Chanticleers on Tuesday, March 28 as the team travels to Buies Creek, N.C., to take on Campbell twice starting at 4 p.m. CCU then continues the road swing by traveling down to Birmingham, Ala. to take on conference rival in Birmingham-Southern in a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. on April 2.