CONWAY - After setting a record for conference victories during the regular season, Coastal Carolina University looks to win the Big South Softball Championship on its home turf the Chanticleers begin play in the tournament Thursday afternoon.
The top-seeded Chants (38-14) will open against either No. 8 seed Gardner-Webb (16-35) or No. 9 Liberty (10-44) at 2:30 p.m. The Runnin' Bulldogs and Flames get the tournament started Thursday with the play-in game at 9 a.m.
Coastal swept three game series' at home against both Gardner-Webb and Liberty during the regular season, part of a perfect 12-0 record against conference foes at Coastal Carolina Softball Stadium. The Chants outscored their opponents 76-13 in those games and went 28-7 at home overall.
CCU has had 10 days off since finishing the regular season with nine victories in its last 10 games to finish with a 20-4 Big South mark. The Chanticleers held a 147-44 scoring advantage in conference play, with three of the four losses coming by a single run. Coastal ranked first in batting, pitching and fielding against league competition. Offensively, the Chants hit .310 as a team, led by Amanda Daneker (.384), Bri Chiusano (.356) and Kiana Quolas (.342). Kory Hayden hit eight of her 18 home runs, while Morgan Noad had seven of her 13 and Daneker hit each of her six on the season. In the circle, Quolas and Ashley Bagwell combined for a 1.67 ERA, ranking first and second individually in both ERA and strikeouts.
Depending on Thursday's result, Coastal will play its second game of the double-elimination tournament either at 2 p.m. or 9 a.m. on Friday. It will face either No. 4 Campbell (29-25) or No. 5 Winthrop (26-24), which meet in the second game on Thursday at noon. The last two games on the opening day will be No. 2 Longwood (38-14) against No. 7 Charleston Southern (23-31-1) at 5 p.m. and No. 3 Radford (22-28) versus No. 6 Presbyterian College (25-24) at 7:30 p.m.
A total of six games are scheduled for Friday and between two and four will be played on Saturday to set up the championship game Sunday at noon. All-day tickets are available for the first three days, along with all-tournament passes. Click here to purchase tickets online.
For fans unable to make it to Coastal Carolina Softball Stadium, all of the games on Thursday and Friday will be streamed live on the Big South Network, with Saturday's action available on ESPN3 and Sunday's championship game to air live on ESPNU. Fans can also follow all of the action via Gametracker.
Concessions will be available each day at the Road Rooster in foul territory of right field. Fans are encouraged to park in the Brooks Stadium lot and proceed by the tennis courts and along the outfield fence to the softball stadium entrance. A reminder that with baseball stadium construction still ongoing, fans are not allowed to go into the fenced area for foul balls or any other reason. Also, pets are not permitted in the facility during the tournament.