CONWAY, S.C.-The Coastal Carolina softball team was in action today, Sun. March 22 as it split a doubleheader with College of Charleston, falling 10-6 in game one and won 9-8 in game two of the non-conference doubleheader from Coastal Carolina Softball Field. Coastal Carolina is now 9-19, with College of Charleston posting a 10-16 record.
In game one, Coastal Carolina jumped out to a 1-0 lead as Mecaela Ballard (Groves, Texas/Galveston) singled to left field, and promptly advanced to third on a stolen base and aBrittany Birnbaum (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala) sacrifice. The next batter, freshman Stacy Snellings (Richmond, Va./ Godwin), flied out to right field to drive in Ballard to give the Chanticleers the 1-0 advantage.
In the College of Charleston second, the Cougars took the lead with one swing of the bat, as Kristi Woodall hit a two-run homer over the left field fence off starter Katelin Edwards (Greer, S.C./Byrnes) to give CofC the 2-1 lead.
Coastal Carolina would take a 3-2 the lead by scoring runs in both the second and third innings. College of Charleston put the game away in the fourth inning, as the Cougars pushed across five runs, with the big blow being a Shannon Howard two-run dinger to give CofC a 7-3 lead and knocked Edwards out of the game in favor of reliever Ivy McCranie (Nashville, Ga./Berrien).
CofC would add runs in the final three innings to extend their lead to 10-3. The Chants would score a trio of runs in the bottom of the seventh, as the Cougars committed three errors in the frame, but it wasn't enough as Coastal Carolina dropped the 10-6 contest.
Edwards falls to 4-12 on the season, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and struck out a batter. Cougar pitcher Terri Mesko improves to 6-8 on the season as she allowed six runs, two of them earned, on eight hits, and struck out nine Chants.
Ballard was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while senior Kelsey Riffel (Wichita, Kan./Maize) was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI and a run scored.
Ballard translated her success from game one to game two, as she led off the home half of the first with a walk. The sparkplug when on to steal second, and moved to third on a Birnbaum sacrifice. A batter later, Snellings flied out to deep short to score Ballard and give Coastal Carolina the early 1-0 lead.
CofC would take the lead in the second inning, as Katie Nutaitis singled to lead off the inning, and scored when Katie Pesature reached on an error. Amber Shifflett added the second run on the inning with an RBI single to give the Cougars the 2-1 lead.
In the Coastal Carolina second, both Morgan Dodd (Chattanooga, Tenn./Girls Prep) and Ashley Pisone (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield) walked with one out. Ballard would reach base yet again on a fielder's choice to load the bases with one out for Birnbaum, who struck out swinging for the second out of the inning. Ballard would score on a wild pitch to tie the game at 2-2, but College of Charleston hurler Shannon Howard then forced Evans to ground out to short to end the threat.
Sarah Maples (Pasadena, Texas/ Deer Park) led off the third inning with a double over the left fielder's head. Riffel would reach base on a bunt single, and advanced to second on a Williams' fielder's choice, and knock CofC starter Shannon Howard out of the contest. Dodd would follow with her second walk of the game to load the bases with one out for Pisone, who sacrifice flied to right to score Maples for the 3-2 lead.
The Cougars answered back in the away half of the third with two outs, as Katie Forbes singled, and was scored on a Kristi Woodall double to left center to knot the game at 3-3.
Coastal Carolina made a big statement in the fourth, scoring a season-high six runs in the frame. Birnbaum started off the big inning for the Chanticleers with a single, and was followed by consecutive walks by Snellings and Evans to load the bases with none out. Maples then singled to left field for her third hit of the contest, scoring Birnbaum and leaving the bases chucked with still nobody out. Riffel would reach bases on a fielder's choice as Snellings was cut down at home for the first out of the inning. The next batter, Williams, singled up the middle to score Evans and give Coastal Carolina the 5-3 lead. Pisone would have the big knock of the game for the Teal and Black, ripping a double to left centerfield to score a pair of Chanticleers to run the tally to 7-3 in favor of Coastal Carolina. The Chants would add two more runs on the inning to carry a 9-3 advantage.
Junior Ashley Frederick (Lusby, Md./Patuxent) took the start in game two, and held the Cougars to three runs on six hits through five innings. The hurler seemingly ran out of gas in the sixth inning, as she allowed the four runs.
The Cougars made it a ballgame in the sixth inning. The big blow of the inning was Shannon Howard's second homer of the day, a two-run shot over the left field fence to cut the Coastal Carolina lead to a two-run advantage at 9-7. Edwards then relieved Frederick with two outs to get Nutaitus to end the inning.
Coastal Carolina would enter the top of the seventh clinging to a 9-7 lead. Edwards retired Lonergan via strikeout, before surrendering a solo home run to Pesature over the centerfield fence to cut Coastal Carolina's lead in half at 9-8. Forbes would follow with a double to left center to put the tying run on second with one out. McCranie entered with one out and the go-ahead run at the plate in Kristi Woodall, who would flied to right field for the second out of the inning to move pinch runner Amanda Maurer to third. However, the freshman would nail down the first save of the season as she forced Amber Shifflett to fly out to right fielder Alyssa Tornatore (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) who made a game-saving catch in foul territory to secure the win in the 9-8 thriller.
Frederick improved to 4-5 on the season with the win, as she allowed seven runs on 10 hits and struck out a pair in the victory. McCranie picked up the save as she threw two thirds of an inning without giving up a hit.
The Cougars used four pitchers in the contest, but starter Shannon Howard took the loss to fall to 3-8 on the year. As a staff, CofC allowed nine runs, seven earned, on 10 hits and fanned six Coastal Carolina batters.
The Chanticleers will next be in action on Wed., March 25 as the team hits the road for the first time in nearly a month. The destination is Charleston, S.C. for a doubleheader with the Charleston Southern Lady Bucs, who defeated the Chants 8-0 on Fri. March 20. First pitch of the Big South twinbill is slated for start.