CONWAY, S.C. – Coastal Carolina's softball team swept Charelston Southern in a doubleheader Sunday, April 6 at the CCU Softball Field en route to winning the three-game series with the Lady Buccaneers. Coastal (16-24, 3-2 Big South) won the first game 8-1 and then edged out Charleston Southern (16-28, 1-5 Big South) 3-2 in the second.
In the first game, the Lady Chants registered two runs in both the second and third innings. With one out in the second inning, junior Kelsey Riffel (Wichita, Kan./Maize) singled to Jennifer Brooks at shortstop and then eventually stole second. Freshman Ashley Pedersen (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater) walked to give CCU two runners on base. Then with two outs, sophomore Alyssa Tornatore (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) laced a single down the left field line that moved Pedersen to second and drove in Riffel from second to make it a 1-0 game. Sophomore Mecaela Ballard (Groves, Texas/Port Neches Groves (Galveston JC)) then hit a ball up the middle in the next at-bat that scored Pedersen from second.
Back-to-back doubles from junior Brittany Birnbaum (Chino Hills, Calif./Ayala) and Riffel produced both of CCU"s runs in the third. Senior Allison Cantrell (McDonough, Ga./Eagle's Landing) started the inning by reaching first on a Charleston Southern error. Cantrell advanced to second as junior Verity Long-Droppert (Claremont, Australia/Shenton (Western Australia)) grounded out to Amy Trenkamp at second. Birnbaum hit her RBI double down the left field line that allowed Cantrell to score. Meanwhile, in the next at-bat, Riffel smacked her double to center field that scored Birnbaum and gave CCU the 4-0 lead.
Coastal continued to bulid on its lead with a three-run fifth inning. Long-Droppert began the inning with a single to right field and then advanced to second on a Birnbaum sacrifice bunt. Riffel hit a single to right center that moved Long-Droppert to third. Riffel would eventually steal second to give CCU runners in scoring position, but Pedersen drilled a one-out, three-run homer to left field to make it a 7-0 CCU game.
Charleston Southern avoided being shutout in the top of the sixth when Ashley Conway hit a one-out, solo shot to left center. However, the Lady Chants added one final run in the bottom half of the inning. Long-Droppert walked and then stole second. Both Birnbaum and Riffel grounded out to third and second, respectively, but with Riffel's ground out, Long-Droppert moved to third. After Pedersen walked, sophomore Alicia Irwin (Salina, Kan./Salina South) singled through the left side to drive in Long-Droppert for the game's final run and give CCU the 8-1 advantage.
Pederson picked up the win after pitching all seven innings. She allowed just one run off three hits. Jamie Wellons had the loss in two innings of work. She allowed two runs off three hits.
In the second game, Coastal held a slim 1-0 advantage after the two innings. Freshman Michelle Evans (Upland, Calif./Upland) hit a two-out home run to left field to put CCU ahead.
However, the Lady Bucs used a two-run third inning to take the lead. With one out, Amy Trenkamp walked . As Jessica Shondel struck out on a wild pitch, Trenkamp advanced to second. Another wild pitch allowed Trenkamp to move to third. Megan Hall's double to center field allowed Shondel to score and even the game 1-1. After Conway was intentionally walked, Hall scored the go-ahead run from second base off a Gail Matsushima single to left field as Charleston Southern held a 2-1 lead.
Coastal responded in the bottom of the thrid. After Cantrell walked, Long-Droppert blasted her second two-run home run of the series to put CCU up 3-2. Long-Droppert's first two-run shot of the series came on Friday, April 4, which was also in the third inning and scored Cantrell as well.
Evans received the win after throwing 6.1 innings and allowing two runs off six hits. Evans also retired six batters. Pedersen had the save as she pitched the final 0.2 innings, giving up no hits and striking out one. Shondel had the loss as she allowed three runs off six hits in 3.2 innings of work.
For the series, Riffel hit a team-best .625, going 5-for-8 from the plate with two runs, one double and one RBI.
Coastal Carolina returns to action Tuesday, April 8 with a doubleheader against Gardner-Webb at the CCU Softball Field. First pitch of the first game is scheduled for 2 p.m.