Bucs host Tennesee, Valparaiso and UNC Wilmington at Buccaneer Invitational

Bucs host Tennesee, Valparaiso and UNC Wilmington at Buccaneer Invitational

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern returns home for their second home tournament weekend, hosting No. 4/4 Tennessee, Valparaiso and UNC Wilmington at the CSU Softball Field with action running from March 1-3.

During the three day tournament, the Buccaneers will host Tennessee twice, Valparaiso twice and have a rematch against UNC Wilmington after falling to the Seahawks earlier this season at the Florida Lipton Invitational.

2013 Buccaneer Invitational Tournament Schedule (Home Team is listed in bold)
Friday, March 1, 2013
11 a.m. - Valparaiso vs. UNC Wilmington (Live Stats)
1 p.m. - UNC Wilmington vs. Tennessee (Live Stats)
3 p.m. - Tennessee vs. Charleston Southern (Live Stats/Live Video)

Saturday, March 2, 2013
9 a.m. - UNC Wilmington vs. Tennessee (Live Stats)
11 a.m. - Tennessee vs. Valparaiso (Live Stats)
1 p.m. - UNC Wilmington vs. Charleston Southern (Live Stats/Live Video)
3 p.m. - Valparaiso vs. Charleston Southern (Live Stats/Live Video)

Sunday, March 3, 2013
1 p.m. - Valparaiso vs. Charleston Southern (Live Stats/Live Video)
3 p.m. - Tennessee vs. Charleston Southern (Live Stats/Live Video)

Scouting the Tournament Field
Charleston Southern Buccaneers (3-7) (Weekly Notes)

The Bucs (3-7) enter this weekend coming off of a 1-1 appearance in this past weekend's College of Charleston Cougar Classic in which the Buccaneers defeated Wagner in the CofC Classic opener, while falling to South Carolina on the final day. The Buccaneers scheduled game against College of Charleston was called off due to electrical failure in the lights.

Friday's action against Wagner saw the Buccaneers bats explode in the bottom of the fifth inning, sending 10 batters to the plate with Trea Steele capping off the frame with a walk-off double to the fence in centerfield as CSU defeated the Seahawks, 9-1.

Melanie Stickney drove out her second home run of the season in the sixth inning against the Seahawks in support of sophomore pitcher Jennifer Giles' first win of the season, scatting four hits while striking out five in the win.

In Saturday's game against South Carolina, an eight-run top of the fourth helped the Gamecocks offset home runs by both Marci Christian and Stephanie Sbardella as USC defeated the Bucs 17-3 in what turned out to be CSU's final game at the Patriots Point Athletics Complex.

Christian plated the first two runs of the game for the Bucs with a game-tying two-run blast to straightaway centerfield, while Sbardella went deep with her second home run of the season to left field in the losing effort.

Junior third baseman Stephanie Sbardella leads the team on the season with a .500 batting average, and is the team leader with 13 hits in 26 at-bats. The Fairfax Station, Va. native leads the team with 10 runs scored and 10 RBI, while also leading the team with four doubles and two home runs on the season.

Marci Christian is also among the CSU batting leaders, currently on a team-high nine-game hitting streak with 12 hits in her past 27 at-bats, and is hitting .400 on the season. Christian is coming off a game with her first home run of the season as the junior transfer from Longwood University has 12 hits, three doubles and nine RBI on the season.

Senior second baseman Trea Steele has been a sparkplug for the Buccaneers at the top of the order this season with 12 hits and four doubles from the leadoff position for CSU. Steele is hitting .343 from the plate with eight runs and five RBI, while recording a perfect fielding percentage in 51 chances.

Sophomore pitcher Jennifer Giles has been the team leader on the mound in the 2013 season, recording a team-high eight appearances with seven starts and five complete games overall. A tough-luck pitcher, she has recorded a 3.28 earned run average in 47 innings pitched, with a 36:24 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Senior Linzy Rother and junior Hayes Holdsworth have also appeared on the mound this season for Charleston Southern, with Rother recording the win over George Mason, while Holdsworth picked up the win against Savannah State.

Charleston Southern returns to the road next weekend for their final tournament of the 2013 season, traveling to Long Beach, Calif. for the Long Beach State Mayfair Invitational, in which the Buccaneers will take on Cal State Fullerton in a single game, before opening tournament play against UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State, Idaho State, UCLA and Bethune-Cookman.

No. 7/9 Tennesee Volunteers (13-2) (www.utsports.com)
Tennesee bounced back from two losses this past weekend at the Mary Nutter Collegiate Classic, falling to Northwestern and UCLA with a 5-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara to move to 13-2 overall on the season.

The Volunteers will take on Lipscomb in their home opener on Tuesday and will take on College of Charleston on the road on Thursday, before opening play in the Buccaneer Invitational against UNC Wilmington at 1 p.m. on Friday.

Raven Chavanne, Lauren Gibson, Rainey Gaffin and Whitney Hammond are all hitting over .400 on the season from the plate for the Volunteers with Chavanne leading the way with a .449 batting average. Chavanne leads the team with 22 hits and 17 runs scored, while Cheyanne Tarango leads the team with three home runs and 16 RBI.

Ivy and Ellen Renfroe lead the way from the mound for Tennessee on the season, combining for a 9-1 record in 15 appearances on the mound. Ivy sports a 0.64 ERA on the season with 36 strikeouts against seven walks, while Ellen has a 1.09 ERA with a team-leading 42 strikeouts and a 5-1 record overall.

Tennesee is currently 2-0 against the Big South Conference on the season with two wins against Coastal Carolina at the USF 4 Team Tournament, winning 8-0 and 10-3.

UNC Wilmington (6-7) (Weekly Notes)
Under first year head coach Kristy Norton, the Seahawks opened up their 2013 season at home, hosting Iona, Detroit and Nebraska-Omaha at the UNCW Beach Blast on Boseman Field. The Seahawks are coming off their annual weekend tournament, the Seahawk Clash, and Wilmington went 2-1 overall on the weekend with two wins over UMBC, while falling to Gardner-Webb

Wilmington welcomes back 10 letter winners and seven starters from last season's squad, led by senior shortstop Lauryn Buckworth and CAA All-Rookie selection Jordan Critcher, while sophomore pitcher Casey Rowland is also back after making 31 appearances and 24 starts in the circle for the Seahawks in the 2012 season.

Buckworth and Morgan McCann are both hitting over .400 on the season with Buckworth leading the way hitting .471 overall with 16 hits in 34 at-bats, leading the team with four doubles and nine RBI. McCann is second on the team with 12 hits, including three doubles, while Jordan Critcher leads the team with eight rebounds scored on the year.

Rowland returns to the mound, leading the way for Wilmington on the season with a 3-3 record overall, with nine appearances in 46.1 innings pitched, throwing a team-high six complete games with one shutout.

Against the Big South on the season, UNC Wilmington is 1-1 overall, with a 6-5 win over Charleston Southern at the Florida Lipton Invitational, while falling to Gardner-Webb this past weekend, 4-2.

Valparaiso Crusaders (3-5) (Weekly Notes)
The Crusaders come into this weekend off the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic in which Valparaiso went 1-4 overall, falling to Western Kentucky, South Dakota State, Pittsburgh and Western Michigan, while recording their lone win of the weekend against Dayton.

Head Coach Jordan Stevens has nine new faces among his 21 players on roster, sporting fifth-year senior Amanda Bolton and Joylyn Ichiyama to lead the way.

Brittany Duncan and Tarah McShane are both hitting over .400 on the season, led by Duncan's .435 batting average on 10 hits in 23 at-bats. Ichiyama also has 10 hits on the season, while Janelle Bouchard, Ichiyama and Amanda Wisniewski have all hit home runs this year.

Sierra Pico and Taylor Weissenhofer have both recorded five starts apiece in their freshman campaigns with the Crusaders, while Bolton leads the team with a 2.42 earned run average on the season.

Valpo has not faced a Big South opponent on the season.

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