CHANTICLEERS END REGULAR-SEASON WITH EMOTIONAL WEEKEND: The Chanticleers will have a relatively slow week this week. After playing five games last week, the Chants close out the regular season with a three-game weekend set with the Liberty Lady Flames at Coastal Carolina Softball Field. Friday features a single game at 6 p.m., while Saturday’s doubleheader will see the program bid farewell to a pair of seniors, as well as a program staple. Prior to game one, the team will bid farewell to seniors Kelsey Riffel and Brittany Birnbaum. Between game one and game two the University will honor Head Coach Jess Dannelly who will be coaching his final home game after 22 years as the coach of the Chanticleer program.
PISONE ACCOUNTS FOR MAJORITY OF OFFENSE; CHANTS SWEPT BY WINTHROP: Coastal Carolina was swept by the Winthrop Lady Eagles in a weekend series, and were outscored in the set 28-5. Ashley Pisone accounted for four of the five runs, as she hit a three-run homer in game two of the series, and scored a run in game three.
SORTING OUT THE PLAYOFF SITUATION: The Chanticleers currently sit at the bottom of the Big South table with three Big South games left to play. With Presbyterian ineligible for tournament play, the next two teams ahead of the Chants (Gardner-Webb and Charleston Southern) hold the tiebreaker over Coastal Carolina for winning the season series, 2-1. Simpy put, the Chants would need to take all-three games of the Liberty series to move into fifth place in the conference. If Coastal Carolina does anything less than sweep the Flames, they enter the tournament as the sixth seed. The Big South Tournament, hosted by Radford, gets underway Thurs., May 7.
CHANTS TAKE SOUTH CAROLINA TO THE LIMIT: On April 22, the Chanticleers found themselves down 2-1 in the seventh with two outs. Mecaela Ballard drew a two-out walk, and was followed by a game-tying RBI single to right field to score Ballard and send the game to extra-innings tied 2-2. However, a four-run ninth by the Gamecocks, led by a Jill Semento two-RBI single and a two-run blast by Evan Childs led to the 6-2 defeat.
FREDERICK’S NO-HIT BID, RIFFEL’S SINGLE GIVES COASTAL CAROLINA SERIES SPLIT WITH SEAHAWKS: On Tuesday, Coastal Carolina earned a 1-0 extra-innings win over the UNCW Seahawks. The Chants stranded 11 runners on base, but Ashley Frederick was dominant in the circle, taking a no-hit bid into the sixth inning. Coastal Carolina finally pushed a run across in the top of the eighth, as senior Kelsey Riffel had the game-winning RBI on a single over second base to propel the squad to the 1-0 win in eight innings. With the win, Coastal Carolina has now won three of their last four contests.
SCOUTING THIS WEEK’S OPPONENTS:
Liberty: The Lady Flames enter the weekend series with an overall record of 19-33 and are 7-8 in the Big South. In their last 10 games, the Flames are 3-7. Earlier in the week on Tuesday, Liberty dropped a single game to the Big South leading Radford Highlanders 2-1. On Wednesday, the Flames traveled to UNC Greensboro for a doubledip with the Spartans and were swept, dropping game one 2-1 and game two 3-1. Offensively, the Flames are paced by Beth Bennett who is hitting .281 on the season with eight home runs and 24 RBI and J’nae Jefferson (4 hr., 14 RBI). The Chanticleers will look to see a pair of pitchers on the series in Tiffani Smith and Sarah Ellis. Smith, who is sporting a pristine 1.99 ERA, carries an overall record of 8-12 and has fanned 144 batters in 151.1 innings. Ellis is 11-21 with a 2.62 ERA on the season and has thrown 182 innings with 132 strikeouts. Coastal Carolina leads the all-time series 22-16. Last season, the Chants split the season series. Coastal Carolina took two-of-three from the Flames during the regular-season. Liberty beat the Chants when it mattered however, as the Flames dropped Coastal Carolina 8-2 in the semi-finals of the Big South Tournament, ending the Chanticleers’ season.