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.
The Fighting Camels (19-15) split a pair of conference games over the weekend at Florida Atlantic. Campbell is a solid well-balanced offense. Junior Jessica Huffman has been the best hitter for Camels, leading the team with five home runs and 19 runs-batted-in. Freshman Krystal Vlacancich has made a big impact in her first year. She is second on the team in hits (29), home runs (3) and RBI (18). The pitching has been strong as sophomore Lauren Caviness has taken the reins as the number one pitcher this season. She is 10-8 with a 1.65 earned-run average on the year and has fanned 97 in 114.2 innings from the circle.
Series vs. Campbell:
Coastal leads the all-time series between these two school 38-12. CCU is riding an eight-game winning streak over the Camels with the last loss occuring in 1997. In the last meeting in 2004 Coastal swept both games of the doubleheader by a combined score of 15-3.
The Panthers (19-6) lost their last game to #7 Alabama 14-6 over the weekend. The team batting average for BSC is .282. Senior Nikki Rombough has started well as she is hitting .463 with four home runs and 21 runs-batted-in. The pitching led by senior Kristina Villavicencio has also been strong for Birmingham-Southern. Villavicencio leads the team in wins (12), ERA (1.46), complete games (11), innings pitched (95.2) and strikeouts (78).
Series vs. Birmingham-Southern:
This will be the 10th time that the Lady Chants and Panthers are locking up, with BSC holding a slight 5-4 advantage. Birmingham-Southern won all three meeting over Coastal last season including a 3-1 win in the Big South Tournament.
The Finley Factor:
Senior Irene Finley has enjoyed great success against the Campbell Fighting Camels in her career. In two career games against the Camels, she has yet to be retired. She is a perfect 2-for-2 with a walk and three runs scored. Junior Kristina Sheppard and senior Brittany Nelson have also hurt Campbell with the bat in their career. Sheppard is 5-for-8 with a home run and four runs driven while Nelson is 3-for-5 with a double and four RBI.
Keeping the Camels in Check:
The Coastal pitching staff has done a solid of job of keeping the Camel bats in check. Senior Brittany Nelson is 1-0 in two career appearances with a 0.88 ERA. Junior Trish Kretchman is also 1-0 in her career against the Campbell with a 1.40 earned-run average.
Shep Rips the Panthers:
Kristina Sheppard has always hit well against the BSC Panthers. She has a career batting average of .375 with a home run and four RBI against BSC.
Johnson Named the Big Souths Player and Pitcher of the Week:
Coastal Carolina senior Meagen Johnson pulled off the rare feat of being named both the Big Souths Player and Pitcher of the Week for the week ending March 26.
Johnson had a great week of action as both a hitter and in the circle. Johnson started her week by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored, six runs-batted-in and two walks in a sweep of Gardner-Webb. Johnson also picked up the win in relief in the first game against the Bulldogs, going four innings and only surrendering two hits with five punch outs. In the swept doubleheader from North Florida, Johnson was 3-for-6 with two RBI, as well as pitching a complete game three-hit shutout in the first game against the Ospreys. At the ECU Classic over the weekend, Johnson was 4-for-15 with three home runs and five RBI in against a stacked field that included #6 California. Johnson homered in all three days of the tournament, including the dramatic game-tying sixth inning blast against Cal. Johnson also pitched two-and-a-third innings in relief against East Carolina and threw an eight inning complete game against Penn State.
For the week, Johnson hit .400 in nine games, recording 10 hits and 13 RBI. She had three multi-hit games and three multi-RBI games. Her slugging percentage was .880, while she had an on-base percentage of .433 in aiding Coastal to a 5-4 record.
In the circle, Johnson's weekly totals were 21.1 innings pitched, 20 strikeouts, 12 hits allowed and a 0.66 earned-run average. She appeared in four games, with two complete games and a 2-1 record.
This was the second time Johnson has been named the Big South Pitcher of the Week during her career, as she also captured the award last season.
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 .348 average with five home runs and 54 RBI. In comparison in the losses, Hostetlers batting average is .209 with a home run and 12 runs-batted-in.
Three-Hundred on the Dot:
With her last strikeout against #6 California, senior Brittany Nelson has now struck out exactly 300 batters in her Coastal career which places her fifth.
Redshirt junior Glynn Tolleson has been a road warrior for Coastal this season, as she is hitting .364 during CCUs six road games this year.
The Light Will lead you:
Senior Meagen Johnson and junior Kristina Sheppard have both hit well in the day light this season. Johnson has the highest batting average on the team at .349, while in day games Sheppard is tied for the team lead with four home runs
Stingy During the Day:
This season senior pitcher Brittany Nelson has been quite stingy during the day. During day games, she has a 4-2 record with a 1.37 ERA in 46 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 three weeks, covering 11 appearances, Doyle has thrown 55.1 innings and compiled, a 1.39 ERA with seven wins, 44 strikeouts and a .191 opponents batting average.
Johnsons Among Conference Leaders:
Senior Meagen Johnson is currently ranked among the Big South Conference leaders in numerous offensive categories. She is second in home runs (8) and runs-batted-in (31) and third in batting average (.397) and doubles (9).
Junior centerfielder Danyelle Gerdts is currently tied for the lead in the conference in triples (5) while ranking third in runs scored (26).
Coastal currently leads the Big South Conference in doubles with 41. The team is second in triples with eight and second in home runs with 27.
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 35 games of the 2006 season has shown Coastal to have a balanced offensive attack. Eleven different Chanticleers have driven in multiple runs in a game this season. Senior Meagen Johnson has a team-best 31 RBI while junior Kristina Sheppard has driven in 21 runs and senior Sara Hostetler has 18 RBI.
No One is Better in the Clutch:
Junior Kristina Sheppard is second on the team with 21 RBI. However of her 21 runs driven in, 15 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 .545 (18-for-33) this season with runners are on.
The Strikeout Queen:
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle has been the strikeout queen this season for Coastal. In 80 innings covering 19 appearances this season, Doyle has a team-best 64 strikeouts.
Its a Long Drive:
Coastal has shown great power in the first 35 games of the season as eight different Lady Chants have already homered in 21 of those games. That means CCU has hit a home run in 60 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 27 home runs this year, has already nearly doubled last years total of 15.
The Lady Chants have now scored 152 runs this season, 10 more than last years team.
Leading off the Right Way:
Since being inserted as the leadoff batter 15 games ago, senior Sara Hostetler is hitting .413 with a home run, nine RBI and an on-base percentage of .491. Coastal is also 10-5 in games in which Hostetler leads off.
Need to Avoid the Big Inning: Especially Early:
Coastal has given up four or more runs in an inning six times through the first 35 games. In their 17 losses, CCU has put itself in an early hole as it has given up 32 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 41-21.
Closing In Quickly:
Head Coach Jess Dannelly is closing in on milestone win number 600. Dannelly is vying to become only the 31st active coach to get to 600 active Division I softball victories.
On a Hot Streak:
Senior Sara Hostetler had her team season-best 10-game hitting streak ended against #6 California. In the 10 games, Hostetler was 16-for-31 with 13 runs scored, a home run and eight RBI.
Ending the Game in Style:
Coastal ended three games during the week of March 20-27 on a home run. Senior Brittany Nelson ended the Coastal 14-3 win over Gardner-Webb with a grand slam. Sophomore Ashley Gerdts did the same feat in the 15-4 win over North Florida and to top the week off senior Meagen Johnson ended CCUs 8-0 win over Buffalo with a two-run shot.
Doyle Twirls a Gem:
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle flirted with her second no-hitter of the season and had to settle for a one-hit shutout of Buffalo on March 26. The blemishes on Doyles nearly perfect day were a walk in the third inning and an infield single in the sixth.
Hostetler Named the Big South Conferences Player of the Week:
Senior Sara Hostetler had a great week of action for the week ending March 19 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.
The Big Four:
Coastal Carolina pitching staff had tremendous week as a whole for the week of March 13-19. The four starters each threw a complete game 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. 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 CCUs 2-1 win over UNC Wilmington in the swept doubleheader. In the third game of the week, against Big South foe 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 TAMU-CC. She threw a complete game, one-hit shutout 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:
Before the weekends action Coastal had won 16 of its last 17 games this was the best stretch of softball the Lady Chanticleers under Jess Dannelly since 1994 when the CCU won 17 out of 18 to open the season.
There are several keys to Coastal winning 17 of its last 22 games. CCU has had a strong offense that walked 79 times and averaged better than five runs a game. The Lady Chants pitching staff that only yielded 34 earned runs in 146 innings from the circle.
An Amazing Number:
CCUs pitching staff, through the first 35 games, has only yielded six home run and only 39 total extra base hits, in comparison the CCU offense has 27 home runs and 76 extra hits.
As Fast as We Need to Be:
In the first 35 games, CCU has yet to ground into a double play while turning the trick three themselves.
We Pick Our Spots:
Coastal may not run often, as it only has 12 stolen bases on the season, but it is only on 13 attempts.
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 at the USF-Invitational. The eight-game winning streak was the longest for CCU since 2003 when it also won eight games in a row.
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 from March 9-11. 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 heartbreaker 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 on March 5. 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, going the distance striking out eight while 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 592-427. 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 32 career doubles, which is sixth on Coastal all-time list only one behind former softball player Michelle Hall for fifth place.
Senior Katey Allen with moved into seventh place with 24 career stolen bases. She is only three behind former Lady Chant Beth Park who finished her career with 27.
Senior pitcher Brittany Nelson has 82 appearances and only trails fifth place, former Lady Chant Stephanie Belden, by one 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 439.2. Former Coastal pitcher Lauren Yates is ahead of her by 112.1.
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle with her five strikeouts against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is now sixth all-time in strikeouts with 269. With seven wins this season, Doyle has moved into eighth all-time in wins with 32.
Danyelle Gerdts with her five triples this season is now tied for eighth all-time for three baggers in a single season.
Next, Coastal Carolinas softball team has a pair of doubleheaders next week. The week begins for the Lady Chanticleers on Tuesday, April 4 as the team takes on College of Charleson in Conway, S.C. twice starting at 4 p.m. CCU then continues the home stand by taking on ACC rival North Carolina State in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. on April 6.