Softball Sweeps UNC Wilmington Wednesday


Softball Sweeps UNC Wilmington Wednesday

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CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina's softball team came away with a pair of wins over UNC Wilmington Wednesday, March 26 at the CCU Softball Field. The Lady Chanticleers came from behind in Game One and powered their way to a 12-4 five-inning victory in game one and then scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the seventh in Game Two to escape with a 4-3 win.

Coastal found itself trailing the top of the first as UNC Wilmington used a two-run single and a two-run double to take a 4-0 lead. Meghan Murray reached first and advanced to second on a Lady Chant error and then eventually moved to third on a wild pitch. Charla Wacker walked and, with one out, stole second. Carley Hughes hit a hard infield single that loaded the base for the Seahawks. After Rachel Sawyer struck out swinging to give UNCW two outs, Lindsay Styons hit a two-run single up the middle to score Murray and Wacker. Then Michelle Harrison hit a two-run double down the left field line that drove in Hughes and Styons.

The Lady Chants had their own four-run inning during the bottom of the third. With one out, juniors Brittany Birnbaum (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala) and Verity Long-Droppert (Claremont, Australia/Shenton (Western Australia)) hit back-to-back singles to right center and right field, respectively. Sophomore Alicia Irwin (Salina, Kan./Salina South) ripped a double to left center that scored Birnbaum and move Long-Droppert to third. A wild pitch allowed Long-Droppert to score and move Irwin to third. After sophomore Laicole Walker walked and eventually stole second, sophomore Ashley Pisone (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield Area) hit a two-run double to left center that scored both Irwin and Walker to tie the game up 4-4.

Coastal's hot offense carried over to the fourth inning with the Lady Chants tallying eight runs. Sophomore Mecaela Ballard (Groves, Texas/Port Neches Groves (Galveston JC)) began the inning with a single. Birnbaum reached on a Seahawk error that allowed Ballard to move to second. Long-Droppert loaded the bases after she bunted. Back-to-back RBI singles by Irwin and Walker that scored Ballard and Birnbaum, respectively, gave CCU the 6-4 lead. With the bases still loaded, Pisone's walk allowed Long-Droppert to advance to home. In the next at-bat, freshman Cass Stuart (Colville, Wash./Colville) was hit by a pitch, which allowed Irwin to score from third to make it an 8-4 CCU advantage. With one out, junior Kelsey Riffel (Wichita, Kan./Maize) reached first as UNCW got Walker out at home, but a two-run single by Ballard drove in Pisone and Stuart. Birnbaum added another two-run single that scored both Riffel and Ballard, allowing CCU to take the 12-4 advantage, which ultimately proved to be the final score.

Freshman Ashley Pedersen (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater) received the win after throwing five-complete innings and giving up four runs - all unearned - off three hits and striking out five batter. Amanda Aditays had the loss after pitching three innings and allowing seven runs, six of which were earned, off seven hits.

In the second game, it was Coastal that jumped out to an early 3-0 lead. Ballard started the Coastal offense by reaching first and advanced to second on an UNCW error. Birnbaum's sacrifice hit moved Ballard to third. Long-Droppert hit a double down the left field that allowed Ballard to score. Meanwhile in the second inning, Coastal scored two runs off RBI singles by Riffel and Long-Droppert. After Stuart walked, sophomore Alyssa Tornatore (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) had a single that moved Stuart to second. With one out, Riffel sent her RBI single to left field, which allowed Tornatore to reach third and Stuart to score.  With two outs, Long-Droppert hit her RBI single to right field and drove in Tornatore to give CCU its three-run lead.

UNC Wilmington looked to make a comeback and eventually tied the game. Hughes pulled the Seahawks to within one after she hit a two-run homer to left field in the fourth inning.  Styons scored the game-tying run in the top of the seventh to even the game 3-3. Styons made her way around the bases, reaching first on a CCU error, advancing on a wild pitch, moving to third on a Logan Shapiro groundout and ultimately scoring as CCU recorded an error in an attempt to get Styons out at home as Ashley Hill hit into a fielder's choice.

However, Coastal responded in the bottom half of the seventh. Both Walker and Pisone had back-to-back walks and then both runners each advanced a base off a wild pitch. With Pisone at second and Walker at third, in her only at-bat of the day, Pedersen singled up the middle that allowed Walker to score the game-winning run.

Pedersen also received the win in Game Two after throwing the final 0.2 for the Lady Chants, allowing no hits and no runs. Meanwhile, Brittney Lehrschall had the loss after throwing four innings and giving up one run off four hits.

Long-Droppert led the team with four hits, while Pisone drove in a team-best three RBI. Six Lady Chants recorded two or more runs in the doubleheader with Ballard scoring a team-best three.

Coastal returns to action this weekend when the Lady Chants open Big South play with a three-game series at Birmingham-Southern. The two teams meet for a doubleheader Saturday, March 29 starting at 1 p.m. CDT and then concluded the series on Sunday, March 30 at 12 p.m. CDT.