Bucs set for Radford with BSC crown on lineMay 4, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern aims for its second 30-win season in three years and a Big South regular season title when it hosts Radford for a three-game series at Buccaneer Field this weekend. Saturday’s doubleheader is slated for a 2 p.m. start, and all three contests can be watched live on the Big South Network, presented by State Farm.
GAME NOTES | LIVE VIDEO | LIVE STATS
Conference Title at stake vs. Highlanders
CSU enters the final weekend of regular season play as the last remaining threat to end Radford’s run of three consecutive Big South Conference crowns. That will be a tall order as the Bucs enter three games back and in need of a sweep, but Shane Winkler’s club nearly pulled out the brooms against the Highlanders at Buccaneer Field last season. Morgan Dowdy turned in two of her better performances of the campaign in a doubleheader on May 7, tossing a pair of complete game shutout while yielding only seven hits as CSU cruised to 3-0 victories. Jessica Brock paced the offense with a 3-for-4 outing in the back end of the doubleheader sweep, while Megan Lombard also went deep. CSU had another win within its grasp on Senior Day, but saw Radford come away with a 3-2 triumph in nine innings, before downing the Bucs’ 9-1 to end their season in the Big South Tournament. Mickey Dean’s Radford squad has not dropped a conference series all year long, and took two of three from Gardner-Webb last weekend. Senior shortstop Nichole Beall has wreaked havoc throughout, as she leads the league in home runs, doubles, runs scored, stolen bases, total bases, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
CSU-Radford Recent History
The Bucs’ series victory over the Highlanders on the final weekend of the 2011 campaign snapped a 9-game losing streak to Radford. Mickey Dean has established RU as the standard-bearer in the Big South during his six years at the helm, and is more than familiar with CSU Head Coach Shane Winkler. Dean served as head coach of the National Pro Fastpitch’s (NPF) Chicago Bandits, with whom Winkler filled the role of assistant coach during the summer of 2009. The Bandits sported a league-best 27-12 record that season, and featured a roster comprising several Olympic performers. Here’s a look at the CSU-Radford series over the past four seasons:
May 7: CSU 3, Radford 0; CSU 3, Radford 0
May 8: Radford 3, CSU 2 (9 innings)
May 13 (Big South Tournament): Radford 9, CSU 1
March 27: Radford 7, CSU 1; Radford 8, CSU 0
March 28: Radford 15, CSU 7
April 24: Radford 6, CSU 1; Radford 10, CSU 4
April 25: Radford 5, CSU 2
April 11: Radford 6, CSU 2; Radford 8, CSU 1
April 12: Radford 6, CSU 2
Rother Too Much for College of Charleston Again
Linzy Rother was the catalyst in CSU’s doubleheader sweep of CofC on April 18, and filled that role once again in the Bucs’ 3-0 victory in the opener of May 2nd’s double dip. Rother homered and drove in a combined five runs versus the Cougars at Buccaneer Field and picked up right where she lefts off on Wednesday at Patriots Point by going 3-for-3 with an RBI double which broke a scoreless tie in the sixth. The North Carolina State transfer also made the most of her fourth start in the circle by continually working out of jams to keep the Cougars off the scoreboard, striking out five while yielding eight hits and two walks. Rother’s recent surge at the plate has given her the team lead in batting at .307, 1 percentage point ahead of senior Kristin Kelleher. Since the calendar turned to April, Rother is 11-for-28 (.393 batting average) with two doubles, three homers, 14 RBI, and four runs scored. She has also showcased a discerning eye by walking ten times to compile a .537 on-base percentage, while also racking up a .759 slugging clip. Rother has also given Meredith Felts and CSU’s pitching staff some valuable innings in the circle by permitting only four earned runs over 19.2 frames (1.42 ERA), while punching out 18 batters.
Kelleher Setting Tone in Big South play
Rother’s patience at the plate has allowed her to draw the 10th most walks in the Big South, and Kristin Kelleher has been excellent in that department as well by working the 3rd most free passes to accumulate the 3rd best on-base percentage in the circuit. Like Rother, Kelleher has also been red-hot since the start of April, batting .326 with a .446 OBP. Kelleher’s production from the batter’s box has been consistent from the beginning of Big South competition; however, as the Springfield, Va. native easily leads CSU with a .367 average and .500 OBP over 18 league contests. Megan Lombard and Stephanie Sbardella are in a tie-for-second in that category, sporting .296 clips while teaming to club five round trippers.
Senior Day Festivities Set for Sunday
CSU hopes to celebrate a Big South regular season championship following the conclusion of Sunday’s matinee, and the program will also enjoy pre-game festivities as it will honor Kristin Kelleher, Megan Lombard, and Melissa Adams before their final home game at Buccaneer Field. Lombard has put her name all over the Charleston Southern record book, while Kelleher and Adams have also earned nods during their careers. The trio arrived at CSU in conjunction with Shane Winkler’s first season at the helm in 2009 and helped the program to a 30-win season in 2010 and a program-high tying 10 Big South wins last year. CSU had last captured 30 victories in 1993.