Coastal Carolinas softball team has a pair of doubleheaders this week. The week begins for the Lady Chanticleers on Tuesday, April 4 as the team takes on the College of Charleston in Conway, S.C. starting at 4 p.m. CCU then continues the home stand by taking on Atlantic Coast Conference foe North Carolina State in a doubleheader starting at 4 p.m. on April 6.
Scouting College of Charleston:
The Cougars (20-20) took two of three from Elon over the weekend to even their record. The Cougars are led by senior catcher Jayme Durand. Durand leads the team in batting average (.365), hits (51) and runs-batted-in (35) while ranking second in home runs (9). The team batting average is .304 and Cougars have smashed 36 home runs. The pitching staff is led by freshman Shannon Howard. Howard leads the squad in wins (10) and strikeouts (75).
Series vs. College of Charleston:
Coastal leads the all-time series between these two school 33-12. CCU dropped both games to the Cougars last season by the combined score of 7-3 but CCU has won the last three meetings at CCU Softball Field over the last five years.
Scouting North Carolina State:
The Wolfpack (33-12) having gotten off to a great start and took two out of three from ACC rival Maryland over the weekend. NC State junior Heather Gelbard has been solid in the batters box. She leads the team in batting average (.306), hits (44) and total bases (68). The pitching has been stellar for the Wolfpack. Junior Shaina Ervin currently leads the team with a 1.02 ERA while fellow junior Abbie Smith has a team-best 15 wins and 17 complete games.
Series vs. North Carolina State:
This will be the sixth meeting between the two schools, with NC State holding a 4-1 advantage. Last season, the Wolfpack downed the Lady Chants by the scores of 4-2 and 9-1. Coastal is 1-3 against the ACC this season.
Shep Hunts Cougars:
CCU junior Kristina Sheppard has done well against CofC in her career. Sheppard is 3-for-5 lifetime with a home run and two RBI.
Feely Fires On NC State:
Senior Kelly Feely is Coastals best hitter against NC State as she has a career average of .462 against the Wolfpack with two RBI.
Johnson Named Big South Player of the Week:
Coastal Carolina's senior softball player Meagen Johnson was named the Big South Conference's Choice Hotels Softball Player of the Week the league office announced this afternoon, April 3. This was the second consecutive week that Johnson has been named the Big South Player of the Week. Last week, March 27, Johnson was named both the Big South Player and Pitcher of the Week. This is also the third consecutive week that a Coastal softball player has been honored by the league office. Two weeks ago, March 20, senior Sara Hostetler was also named the Big South Player of the Week.
Johnson had a great week of action as both a hitter and in the circle. Johnson started her week by going 3-for-6 with two runs scored, five runs-batted-in and a walk in a sweep of Campbell on March 27. Johnson hit the game-winning three-run blast in the sixth inning to propel Coastal to a 6-4 win in the first game over Campbell. Johnson also picked up the win as she started the first game against the Fighting Camels, going five innings and surrendering no earned runs, with six punch outs. In the split doubleheader with conference rival Birmingham-Southern on April 2, Johnson was 3-for-7 with four RBI, as well as starting the first game in the circle against the Panthers. Johnson hit the two-run game-winning home run in the first inning in the second game of the afternoon to propel CCU to an 8-0 victory over the BSC. Johnson's three hits against Birmingham-Southern were the third time this season she had tallied three hits in a game.
For the week, Johnson hit .462 in four games, recording six hits and nine RBI on the week. She had two multi-hit games and two multi-RBI games. Her slugging percentage was 1.231, while she had an on-base percentage of .500 in aiding Coastal to a 3-1 record.
Twice as Nice:
Sophomore Ashley Gerdts with her home run against Birmingham-Southern, has now hit six round trippers this year, which is twice as many as she had during her freshman season.
Junior Kimberly Cillis has been steady at first base this season. She sports a perfect fielding percentage with 240 putouts and has recorded 14 assists in 35 games.
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 .357 average with five home runs and 57 RBI. In comparison, in the losses, Hostetlers batting average is .206 with a home run and 12 runs-batted-in.
Right at Home:
Senior Sara Hostetler has played well at the friendly confines of CCU Softball Field this season. She leads the team in hits (16) and runs scored (15).
The Light Will Lead You:
Senior Meagen Johnson and sophomore Ashley Gerdts have both hit well in the day light this season. Johnson has the highest batting average on the team at .375 and the most runs-batted-in with 31, while in day games Ashley Gerdts is tied for the second on team lead with five home runs.
Stingy During the Day:
This season, redshirt junior pitcher Christine Doyle has been quite stingy during the day. During day games, she has a 7-4 record with a 1.44 ERA in 63 innings of work.
Senior Meagen Johnson has crushed the ball during the night as well. She is batting an amazing .700 with four home runs and eight RBI when the sun goes down. Fellow senior Kelly Feely has also hit well at night this year, as she has a batting average of .400 with one home run and four runs-batted-in.
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 four weeks, covering 14 appearances, Doyle has thrown 68.1 innings and compiled a 1.23 ERA with nine wins, 51 strikeouts and a .201 opponents batting average.
Johnsons Among Conference Leaders:
Senior Meagen Johnson is currently ranked among the Big South Conference leaders in numerous offensive categories. She leads the conference in runs-batted-in (40) and is second in home runs (11) and doubles (10) while placing fourth in batting average (.407).
Junior centerfielder Danyelle Gerdts is currently tied for the lead in the conference in triples (5) while ranking third in runs scored (29).
Coastal currently leads the Big South Conference in doubles with 52. The team is second in triples with nine and second in home runs with 33.
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 39 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 40 RBI while junior Kristina Sheppard has driven in 24 runs and senior Sara Hostetler has 21 RBI.
No One is Better in the Clutch:
Junior Kristina Sheppard is second on the team with 24 RBI. However, of her 24 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 .535 (23-for-43) this season when runners are on.
The Strikeout Queen:
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle has been the strikeout queen this season for Coastal. In 93 innings covering 22 appearances this season, Doyle has a team-best 71 strikeouts.
Its a Long Drive:
Coastal has shown great power in the first 39 games of the season as eight different Lady Chants have already homered in 25 of those games. That means CCU has hit a home run in 64 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 33 home runs this year, has already nearly doubled last years total of 15.
The Lady Chants have now scored 175 runs this season, 23 more than last years team.
Leading off the Right Way:
Since being inserted as the leadoff batter 19 games ago, senior Sara Hostetler is hitting .426 with a home run, 12 RBI and an on-base percentage of .493. Coastal is also 13-6 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 five times through the first 39 games. In their 18 losses, CCU has put itself in an early hole as it has given up 33 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 44-21.
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 Division I softball victories. He currently has 595 career wins.
There are several keys to Coastal winning 20 of its last 26 games. CCU has had a strong offense that walked 85 times and averaged better than five runs a game. The Lady Chants pitching staff that only yielded 41 earned runs in 172 innings from the circle.
Trouncing of the Sun:
Coastal swept Campbell University in their doubleheader on March 28. With the two wins over the Fighting Camels, CCU improved to 6-0 against the Atlantic Sun Conference this season having outscored Gardner-Webb, North Florida and Campbell in those games a combined 54-13.
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.
On a Hot Streak:
Senior Sara Hostetler had her team season-best 10-game hitting streak end 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 at the ECU Classic, March 24-26, 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.
An Amazing Number:
CCUs pitching staff, through the first 39 games, has only yielded seven home run and only 47 total extra base hits, in comparison the CCU offense has 33 home runs and 94 extra hits.
As Fast as We Need to Be:
In the first 39 games, CCU has yet to ground into a double play while turning the trick four times 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 14 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 595-428. 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 current teammate Meagen Johnson and just behind former CCU softball player Michelle Hall and current teammate Kelly Feely for sixth place.
Senior Sara Hostetler now has 35 career doubles, which is fifth on Coastal all-time list only six behind former softball player Cari Rowe for fourth 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 94 career appearances which places her fifth, only eight behind former Chant Vicki Dulaney for fourth place.
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 440.2. Former Coastal pitcher Lauren Yates is ahead of her by 111.1.
Redshirt junior Christine Doyle with her five strikeouts against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is now sixth all-time in strikeouts with 276. With nine wins this season, Doyle has moved into eighth all-time in wins with 34. Doyle with her save against Campbell, now has two career and is ranked fifth on CCUs all-time saves list.
Danyelle Gerdts with her five triples this season is now tied for eighth all-time for three baggers in a single season.
Senior Meagen Johnson with 11 home runs this season is now tied for sixth all-time for home runs in a single seasonat Coastal with former softball player Sherry Johnson.
Next week, will again be a busy week for the Lady Chanticleers as Coastal travel to Elon, N.C. to play a pair of games on April 11 against the Phoenix starting at 3 p.m. Coastal then returns home for a doubleheader on Thursday, April 13 at 5 p.m. CCU wraps up the week with a conference doubleheader against Charleston Southern at 4 p.m.