ROCK HILL, S.C. Coastal Carolinas softball team (35-20, 10-2 Big South) used strong pitching performances and senior Meagen Johnson's (Georgetown, S.C./Georgetown (Furman)) hitting to sweep a pair of games from Winthrop (28-28, 3-7 Big South) by the scores of 6-0 and 4-1 on Monday, May 8 in Rock Hill, S.C.
Johnson has a spectacular day at the plate with three walks and three home runs to go along with a victory from the circle. Johnson continued to add to her own team record in home runs and now has hit 20 home runs this season.
Coastal tallied a run in the first inning. Senior Sara Hostetler (Albuquerque, N.M./Valley) singled up the middle to start the frame. She went to second as sophomore Allison Cantrell (McDonough, Ga./Eagle's Landing) walked. A Kelly Feely (Livermore, Calif./Granada) sacrifice bunt moved Hostetler and Cantrell up a base. Johnson was then intentionally walked to load the bases. After a strikeout, junior Kristina Sheppard (Galveston, Texas/Ball) walked to score Hostetler with the first run of the game.
The game remained 1-0 Coastal heading to the fifth inning, as Lady Chanticleers hurler redshirt junior Christine Doyle (Rio Rico, Ariz./Immaculate Heart Academy) and Winthrop's starter Shahna Ashard were locked in solid pitching duel. In the fifth CCU broke through for three runs. Junior Danyelle Gerdts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) reach first and went to second on the throwing error from the WU pitcher. Danyelle Gerdts advanced to third on the Hostetler sacrifice bunt, and came into score the second run as Cantrell drove a ball through the drawn in infield. After a foul out, Johnson hit her league best 18th home run of the season to score Cantrell and give CCU a 4-0 advantage. The Johnson ball bounded off the WU leftfielder as she raced back to the warning track and went over the fence for a home run.
CCU added a pair of runs in the seventh inning as Danyelle Gerdts singled to start the frame. A Hostetler sacrifice bunt moved her to second and she went to third on the Cantrell bunt single. Danyelle Gerdts came in to score the fifth run and Cantrell moved to second on Feely's RBI single up the middle. Ashley Gerdts (Colorado Springs, Colo./Air Academy) doubled to right field to score Cantrell from second for the sixth and final run of the first game.
Doyle (17-7) was masterful for Coastal in the first game going five innings and only allowing two hits with five strikeouts to win her sixth game in Big South play this season. Ashard (16-8) took the game one loss for Winthrop. Johnson pitched the last two innings unscathed for the Lady Chanticleers.
The second game was scoreless for the first three and a half inning until Winthrop pushed a run across in the fourth. Junior Laura Hill singled to center field to start the inning. Lindsey Merrimen walked to move Hill to second base. Katie Smith pinch ran for Hill at second and moved third as Merrimen moved up to second on the Lauren Blaser sacrifice bunt. Smith came in to score the first run of the game on the Jenny Scrymgeour ground out to the shortstop.
CCU tied the game at one in the fifth inning as Johnson blasted a 3-2 two-out offering deep over the centerfield wall for her second home run of the afternoon and 19th of the season.
The Lady Chants took the lead in the sixth inning. Sheppard singled to centerfield start the frame. She moved to second on the Brittany Nelson (Flower Mound, Texas/Marcus) sacrifice bunt. Senior Katey Allen (Lewiston, Idaho/Lewiston (Albertson College) pinch ran for Sheppard and second and came in to score the go ahead run on Danyelle Gerdts' RBI double to the left field gap.
Johnson, the reigning Big South Player the Week, added her second home run of the game and third of the afternoon with her 20th blast of the season. Johnson's home run landed somewhere around the midpoint beyond the WU outfield wall and the outdoor track area. Ashley Gerdts made it back to back home runs with her 10th home run of the season to give CCU a 4-1 advantage.
Johnson (9-3) continued her do everything afternoon by picking up the win in relief with three perfect innings. Johnson punched out eight in five innings of relief on the afternoon.
Coastal will travel next travel to the Big South Tournament as the number one seed to be held in Radford, Va. from May 11-13. Check out GoCCUSports.com for all the latest news, pairing and game times for Lady Chants softball.
Notes: Coastal continued to add to their school record home run total with four more on the afternoon... CCU has now hit 54 home runs this season... Johnson ended the 2006 regular season with a batting average of .400 to go along with a slugging percentage of .938 and an on-base percentage of .506.