Softball Falls 6-4 to Radford in Regular Season Finale


Softball Falls 6-4 to Radford in Regular Season Finale

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CONWAY, S.C. -- Coastal Carolina's softball team fell in its regular-season finale 6-4 to Radford Sunday, April 27 on Senior Day at the CCU Softball Field as the Highlanders swept the Lady Chanticleers in the three-game series. Meanwhile, five of the game's 10-totaled runs came off home runs as both the Lady Chanticleers and Highlanders registered two home runs during Sunday's game that was televised on ESPNU.

Radford took the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. With one out, Jenn Everhart and Sarah Himan hit back-to-back singles to the outfield. Meanwhile, Cassie Rhodes hit into a fielder's choice that got Himan out at second, but allowed Everhart to reach third. Rhodes stole second and a Vicki Madden walk loaded up the bases for Kristen Shifflett, who singled to left field to drive in Everhart.

Coastal evened the game in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Mecaela Ballard (Groves, Texas/Port Neches Groves (Galveston JC)) reached base after she was hit by an Ashley Taylor pitch in the head. Ballard moved to second as junior Kelsey Riffel (Wichita, Kan./Maize) dropped a bunt, while sophomore Alicia Irwin's (Salina, Kan./Salina South) double to center field scored Ballard to make it a 1-1 game.

Radford's Sarah Himan hit the game's first home run as she had a one-out, solo shot to left center that returned the lead to Radford in the top of the third. However, the Lady Chants responded in the bottom of the third with two-run blast from freshman Michelle Evans (Upland, Calif./Upland). With two outs, senior Allison Cantrell (McDonough, Ga./Eagle's Landing) singled and then took advantage of a Radford error to advance to second. In the next at-bat, Evans drilled her home run to left field, which was her second of the series and put Coastal up 3-2.

The Lady Chants' lead would be short-lived as Radford scored four runs in the top of the fourth. Shifflett started the inning with a game-tying, lead-off home run to left field. After Hope Creasy singled through the left side, Larissa Williams entered the game to pinch run for Creasy. With one out, Larissa Williams stole second and then advanced to third on a Taylor groundout. Ashley Carlson laced an RBI single up the middle that allowed Larissa Williams to score the go-ahead run. After Carlson stole second, Everhart hit an RBI single to the left side and then advanced to second  on the throw as Coastal unsuccessfully attempted to get Carlson out at home. Meanwhile, Himan had a double to deep center field that drove in Everhart and allowed the Highlanders to hold a 6-2 lead.

Radford had chances to add to its lead during both the fifth and sixth innings, but Coastal's defense made a couple key stops. In the fifth inning, Madden sent a shot that looked to be going over the center field wall, but sophomore Alyssa Tornatore (Frederick, Md./Tuscarora) snagged the fly ball just before it went over the wall to record the out. Meanwhile in the sixth, with one out and Lauren Williams on second and Shannon Keefe on third, Carlson lined out to junior Kelsey Riffel (Wichita, Kan./Maize) in right field, who then tossed the ball to Cantrell at second in order to also get Lauren Williams out to end the inning.

Coastal's offense started to claw back during the bottom of the seventh. With one out, junior Verity Long-Droppert (Claremont, Australia/Shenton (Western Australia)) blasted the game's fourth home run to center field to make it a three-run game. Cantrell reached base on a Radford miscue, but got out at second as Evans hit into a fielder's choice. Sophomore Ashley Frederick (Lusby, Md./Paxtuent) entered the game to pinch run for Evans, while freshman Ashley Pedersen (Fayetteville, Ga./Whitewater) also entered the game to pinch hit for Ballard. With two outs, Pedersen hit a single to Shifflett at shortstop that allowed Frederick to advance to second. Ballard re-entered the game to run for Pedersen, but, in the next at-bat, Frederick was called out on interference as Riffel hit the ball to Shifflett and the ball touched Frederick.

Taylor pitched all seven innings in the win, giving up four runs off nine hits and recording eight strikeouts. Evans received the loss after she allowed six runs off 12 hits in seven innings of work.

Coastal returns to action at the Big South Conference Tournament that will take place at Winthrop Thursday, May 8-Saturday, May 10 in Rock Hill, S.C.