Bucs Battle Chanticleers for NCAA BidMay 13, 2012
by CSU Sports Information
RADFORD, Va. – Charleston Southern aims for its first ever NCAA Tournament bid and its first Big South Championship since 1988 when it opposes No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina for the conference crown on Sunday at 12 noon. The contest will be televised live on ESPNU, and fans can also follow live updates on Twitter.
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Making it Count
CSU seniors Melissa Adams, Kristin Kelleher, and Megan Lombard have helped return the program toward the top of the Big South since arriving on campus, and the trio is a big reason the Bucs find themselves one win away from the NCAA Tournament. Lombard (.571) and Kelleher (.556) are each batting over .500 in the tournament, while Adams checks in at .429 and drove in three runs in the victory over Gardner-Webb last night. As a group, they are a combined 16-for-30 (.533) with three home runs, four doubles, 10 RBI, and 12 runs scored.
Lombard Leading the Way
Megan Lombard has rewritten a good part of the CSU offensive record book during her time in the blue and gold, and the Roanoke, Va. native has been a tough out in the Big South Tournament. Lombard is raking at a .571 clip over the four games to date, with a pair of homers, two doubles, 3 RBI, and six runs scored. The senior shortstop has set the tone from the top of the lineup, and has raised her batting average by 24 points along the way. Here’s a rundown of where Lombard ranks in CSU history.
• Home runs: 1st (27)
• Hits: 1st (225)
• RBI: 1st (113)
• Slugging Percentage: 1st (524)
• Total Bases: 1st (369)
• Doubles: 2nd (45)
• On-base percentage: 3rd (.397)
After ranking 7th in the Big South in team batting during the regular season, Charleston Southern has begun to click on all cylinders offensively in this conference tournament. The Bucs launched six homers in a 14-3 rout of Liberty on Thursday, matching a single-game program record. CSU followed that performance up with three more circuit clouts in its 5-2 win over Coastal Carolina on Friday, and has clubbed 9 during the tourney after hitting just 19 over 54 regular season games. CSU has also showcased a knack for cashing in on its opportunities. During the tournament, the Bucs are 19-for-43 (.442) with runners on base, 12-for-30 (.400) with runners in scoring position, 4-for-6 (.667) with the bases loaded, and 8-for-11 (.727) with a runner on 3rd and less than two out.
Dowdy Delivers in a Big Way
The Bucs turned to Morgan Dowdy facing elimination following a 6-2 loss to Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon, and the junior right-hander from Pleasanton, California turned in a gem to help CSU into the tournament finals. Dowdy allowed only two singles and was in command all night, walking none and fanning six. She moved past Kimberly Hobbs for the single-season program-record in strikeouts with five in CSU’s opening round win over Liberty, and now has 160 punch outs for the year. Over three tourney starts this year, Dowdy is a perfect 3-0 with a 2.14 ERA and has struck out 15 while allowing 15 hits and 7 walks over 16.1 innings of work.
All of the Lights
CSU enjoyed its previous time in the nationally televised spotlight this season, as the Bucs downed Winthrop, 3-1, to clinch a three-game series sweep on March 25 in a contest broadcasted live on ESPN3. Morgan Dowdy went the distance in the circle for CSU in that one, while Jessica Brock led the way offensively with a 3-for-4 outing and an RBI. Jana Matthews accounted for the Bucs other two tallies with a two-run single.