CONWAY, S.C.-Coastal Carolina's softball team (17-13, 2-0 Big South) used a solid offensive attack and timely hitting to sweep both games of its non-conference doubleheader over North Florida (15-14) by scores of 2-0 and 15-4 on Wednesday, March 22. For the Lady Chants, it was their eighth consecutive win and 16th win in the last 17 games.
Coastal struck first with a run in the bottom of the first inning. Leadoff batter senior Sara Hostetler (Albuquerque, N.M./Valley) singled into left field. She moved to second on the sacrifice bunt from senior Kelly Feely (Livermore, Calif./Granada) and came into score the first run as senior Meagen Johnson (Georgetown, S.C./Georgetown (Furman)) singled through the box.
The score remained tight at 1-0 until the sixth inning as CCU's Johnson and UNF's Kelli Pitts were locked in a solid pitching duel. North Florida brought in a new pitcher, Alisha Phillips, to start the inning. A one-out double by senior Brittany Nelson (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus) to left center put a runner on second. Senior Katey Allen (Lewiston, Idaho/Lewiston (Albertson College)) pinch ran for Nelson and came in to score an insurance run on the two-out double from redshirt junior Glynn Tolleson (Tomball, Texas/Tomball (Radford)).
The second game was as all Lady Chants from the beginning as CCU put a five spot on the board in the first inning. Hostetler began the frame with a double to right center. Hostetler went to third on the attempted sacrifice bunt from Feely. Feely also reached base as the second baseman dropped the ball. Johnson drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly to centerfield. After Feely moved to third on a wild pitch junior Kristina Sheppard (Galveston, Texas/Ball) walked to put runners on the corners. Another wild pitch and a throwing error by the UNF catcher plated Feely and moved Sheppard to third base. Junior outfielder Carla Hood (Marion, S.C./Marion) walked to once again put runners on the corners. Sheppard was out at the plate on a fielder choice off the bat of junior Kimberly Cillis (Magnolia, Texas/Magnolia). A Tolleson single drove in Hood for the third run of the game. Junior Danyelle Gerdts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) then drove in Cillis and Tolleson with her triple down the right field line for the fourth and fifth runs of the inning.
CCU added a run to its lead in the second, as a wild pitch scored Hostetler, who start the inning with a walk and went to third on the double from Johnson.
UNF broke up the no-hit bid of CCU starter Christine Doyle (Rio Rico, Ariz./Immaculate Academy (NJ)) with three hits and three runs in the fourth inning. Two of the three runs came in to score on the two-out fielding error by the CCU second baseman.
The Lady Chants added three more runs to its lead in the fifth inning. Hood started the frame with a base on ball. She moved to second on the Cillis sacrifice bunt. Tolleson singled through the left side to put runners on first and second. Hood came in to score on the infield hit from Danyelle Gerdts. A single by Hostetler scored Tolleson and Danyelle Gerdts.
Coastal finished off the run-ruled second game with six runs in the sixth inning. Johson began the inning with a double to leftfield. Freshman Whitney Gibson (Knoxville, Tenn./Webb School of Knoxville) pinch ran for Johnson and moved to third on the Sheppard single. Hood followed with a bunt single to load the bases. A Cillis single to left field score Gibson and Sheppard. Freshman Brittany Birnbaum (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala) pinch ran for Cillis and moved up to second on the error by the UNF shortstop off the ball hit by Danyelle Gerdts. The bases were cleared on the grand slam by Ashley Gerdts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy). For Coastal it was the second time in the last two days that a game has been ended on a grand slam. During Tuesday's game, March 21, against Gardner-Webb, Nelson did the feat.
Johnson (4-1) was the game-one winner for the Lady Chanticleers as she went the distance with only three hits allowed and six strikeouts. Johnson also drove in the winning run in the first game. The second game was won by Doyle (6-4), who gave up only two earned runs in six innings of work. Nelson was 3-for-3 in the first game while Hostetler went 3-for-4 in the doubleheader with three walks, three runs batted in and three runs scored. Danyelle Gerdts had three RBI in the second game as her sister Ashley Gerdts drove in four on the day.
Coastal will next take the field on Friday, March 24 as the Lady Chants travel to Greenville, N.C., to take on #6/7 California in the first game of the ECU Classic at 2 p.m.