March 21, 2014
CONWAY - The Coastal Carolina University softball team begins Big South Conference play this weekend when it hosts Gardner-Webb for a three-game series. The teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. and a single game on Sunday, also with the first pitch at 1 p.m.
The Chanticleers finished their pre-conference schedule with a 17-9 record. Gardner-Webb is 10-18 overall and will also be playing its first conference games of the season. The two teams are the last to begin league play.
Coastal takes a 1.60 team ERA into the start of Big South play, leading the league and ranking 17th in the nation as of March 16. The Chants also were tied for 17th among Division I teams in fielding percentage and first in the conference.
Individually, Kiana Quolas leads the league with 11 wins, a 0.98 ERA and 91 strikeouts. Her ERA was tied for 19th nationally heading into this week's play. Offensively, Bri Chiusano is the Big South leader with a .459 average, 30 runs, 25 stolen bases, and a .568 on-base percentage. She stood fourth in the nation in stolen bases per game (0.96), 12th in on-base percentage and 19th in runs per game (1.15). Kory Hayden is second in the league with 10 home runs, 30 RBIs and 53 total bases. Her home run total was tied for sixth nationally, one behind five players tied with 11.
Coastal has won two of three games against Gardner-Webb in each of the last three seasons and swept their Big South opening series' the last two years. The Chants, looking for their second straight regular-season title, are opening the conference season at home for the first time since 2010.
Following the weekend series, CCU has a quick turnaround for a key early conference series at Campbell on Tuesday and Wednesday.