Bucs Fall to GWU; Spot in Championship On Line TonightMay 12, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
RADFORD, Va. – Linzy Rother racked up a season-high seven strikeouts in the circle for Charleston Southern, but Gardner-Webb received a three-run homer from McKenzie Morenus and strong relief work out of Cindy Boomhower to defeat the Bucs, 6-2, in game 12 of the Big South Softball Championship on Saturday afternoon.
CSU (32-25) will meet Gardner-Webb (28-27) again tonight at 7:30 p.m. with the winner advancing to Sunday’s championship game.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs utilized the long ball to take a 3-0 lead on the Bucs in the third. Melinda Dulkowski and Samantha Meenaghan singled to reach base in front of Morenus, who smacked a long three-run shot over the left field fence for her third homer of the tourney.
CSU got one of those runs back in the bottom half of the third against Childers, cutting its deficit to 3-1. Courtney Konyk reached on a fielder’s choice with one out, and then raced to third when Megan Lombard continued her torrid hitting with a double to the wall in left. Kristin Kelleher then manufactured a run with a sacrifice fly to left, plating Konyk from third. Jessica Brock was next, and the second baseman nearly tied the game with a deep drive to left, but it twisted just foul. Boomhower (13-6) was then inserted in place of Childers for Gardner-Webb, and induced a fielder’s choice groundout to keep the Runnin’ Bulldogs in front.
Rother retired seven in a row following Morenus’ blast, keeping CSU within striking distance. Boomhower had other ideas, though, setting down the first seven Bucs she faced after replacing Childers. Konyk ended that stretch with two outs in the fifth as the left-hander slap-hitter powered a triple deep to right field. That brought the red-hot Lombard to the box as the tying run, but Boomhower proved her mettle by punching out the Bucs shortstop on three pitches, preserving the 3-1 advantage.
Rother ran her stretch of consecutive outs to eight with a come-backer to start the sixth, but Morenus stopped it there with a ringing double off the top of the center field fence, sneaking in just ahead of a strong throw from Melissa Adams in center field. Morgan Baker came through with a clutch base knock two batters later, lining a RBI single to left field to up the Runnin’ Bulldogs cushion to 4-1.
CSU forged another rally in the bottom of the sixth, as Kelleher and Brock stroked consecutive singles to start the frame. A fielder’s choice still left runners at first and second an out later for Stephanie Sbardella, who waged a terrific battle against Boomhower. Sbardella worked a 3-2 count and fouled off several offerings, before ripping a RBI single back through the box on the 11th pitch of the at-bat to bring the Bucs within 4-2.
Boomhower once again displayed resolve, however, limiting CSU’s damage there by retiring Rother and pinch-hitter Trea Steele and allowing her offense to pad the lead in the top of the seventh. Savannah Burns set the table by singling and swiping second base, and was delivered to the plate for a 5-2 Gardner-Webb lead on Meenaghan’s RBI double off the wall in center. Jordyn Arrowood then tacked on another marker for a four-run advantage with a run-scoring single through the middle of the infield.
Rother (3-3) made just her fifth start of the year in the circle for CSU, but got off to an excellent start as she set down the side 1-2-3 in the first and struck out three of the first four batters she faced.
Lombard began the CSU half of the first with an infield single and scooted up to second with nobody out on a wild pitch, but GWU starter Jessica Childers regrouped to strike out Kelleher and notch a pair of groundouts to keep the contest scoreless through one inning.
Amanda Gomes became Gardner-Webb’s first base runner of the game when she tagged a two-out double to the center field fence in the second. Savannah Burns narrowly missed a RBI hit when a line drive sailed just foul down the left field line, and Rother took advantage by freezing her on a called strike three to end the threat.
Boomhower then put the finishing touches on her third win of the tournament by setting down CSU in order in the 7th to force tonight’s elimination game. The Gardner-Webb right-hander worked 4.1 innings, allowing only one run on four hits, while fanning three. Rother yielded the six runs on nine hits over 7.0 innings, while notching the seven punchouts.
The winner of tonight’s contest will face off against the winner of Radford-Coastal Carolina, which is just underway. Sunday’s title game will be televised live at 12 noon on ESPNU, with the winner advancing to the NCAA Tournament.Related Item: Box Score