Lady Chanticleers allow only two hits in nightcap shutout
CONWAY, S.C. - The Coastal Carolina softball team (25-27, 6-6 Big South) dropped one, 1-3, and won one, 4-0, against conference foe Charleston Southern (18-35, 3-9 Big South), Sunday, May 9, to secure its spot as the third seed in the upcoming 2004 Big South Conference Softball Tournament. The Lady Chants also earned their first conference shutout of the season in the nightcap with the 4-0 victory.
In game one of the series, CCU went up first in the second inning. Sophomore pitcher Brittany Nelson drew her ninth walk of the season, followed by another walk from sophomore Kelly Feely to put runners on first and second. A double to right center from junior Diana Mendez brought Nelson home, putting Coastal up 1-0 with only one out and runners on second and third. Freshman Kimberly Cillis grounded out to the short stop, and Feely was caught stealing at home to end the inning.
Charleston Southern gained the lead in the top of the third, going up 2-1 on two consecutive home runs to center field, and Coastal wouldn't score again in the game. The Buccaneers scored the insurance run in the top of the fifth after a pair of walks, a sacrifice bunt to advance the runners, and a single up the middle from Kelly Backert for the RBI. Charleston Southern connected on six hits during the game, while Coastal had five.
In the nightcap, the Lady Chants used seven walks as the key to their success. Coastal scored three of its four runs in the bottom of the third inning, beginning with a walk by freshman Kristina Sheppard. Nelson and Mendez lined out and popped up at the next two at-bats, followed by a Feely walk to put runners on first and second. Sophomore Lynee Hastings then tallied her 14th hit of the season, singling to left field to load the bases, followed by a walk from freshman pitcher Danyelle Gerdts for her fifth RBI of the season, bringing Sheppard home to put CCU up 1-0.
With the bases still loaded and two down in the third, lead-off hitter junior Delane Oscarson drew a walk to score Feely and bump the score to 2-0 in Coastal's favor. After a pitching change by the Bucs, who exchanged Amanda Noble for Tessa Miller for the second time in two games, Hastings scored CCU's third run of the night on a wild pitch.
The Lady Chants scored their final run in the bottom of the fourth inning, with Hastings leading off with a walk and freshman Carla Hood pinch running in her place. Gerdts followed up with a single down the middle, and Oscarson walked for the second straight time to load the bases. Finley and sophomore Sara Hostetler both struck out with bases loaded, but Sheppard singled to first base, driving Hood home for the final score of the night.
Gerdts held CSU to only two hits during the nightcap, striking out three and tallying no walks to improve her record to 9-11. In the first game, Nelson gave up six hits, walking three and striking out four, dropping to 11-13.
With the victory, CCU solidified its spot as the third seed in this year's conference tournament, taking on sixth-seeded Liberty, Thursday, May 13, at 3 p.m. (CST) in Birmingham, Ala. The rest of the pairings break down as follows:
#1 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi vs. #8 Bye
#2 Winthrop vs. #7 Charleston Southern
#3 Coastal Carolina vs. #6 Liberty
#4 Radford vs. #5 Birmingham-Southern
The entire tournament will be StatCast live via the official website of the Big South Conference (www.bigsouthsports.org), and there will also be a live internet radio feed which can be accessed through Coastal's official website.