CHARLESTON, S.C. - Melanie Stickney helped the Buccaneers salvage a split on Saturday afternoon at the CSU Buccaneer Invitational with a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning as Charleston Southern took home the win over UNC Wilmington, while falling in the nightcap to Valparaiso.
Charleston Southern moves to 4-9 overall in the 2013 season, heading into the final day of the Buccaneer Invitational.
The Bucs close out their final home tournament of the season tomorrow afternoon, opening against Valparaiso at 1 p.m., while taking on Tennessee in the final game, with first pitch projected for 3 p.m.
Charleston Southern 5, UNC Wilmington 4 (8 inn.) (Box Score)
Linzy Rother, Jennifer Giles and Hayes Holdsworth combined for a no-hitter through regulation and Stickney provided the key hit at the end, driving in the game-winning RBIs with a single that fell in shallow left field in front of the diving centerfielder.
Stickney's late game heroics came with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Buccaneers loaded the bases with two outs as Jana Matthews and Rother drew walks to load the bases. On an 0-2 pitch, the St. Petersburg, Fla. native hit a soft line drive into the wind falling in front of the centerfielder, allowing Ari Tedesco and Matthews to race around and score the final runs of the game.
UNC Wilmington scored the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth as Lauryn Buckworth reached on a bunt, advancing KC Shue to third base to open the frame. One batter later, Olivia Poplin snapped the CSU no-hit bid with a single through the left side, scoring Shue to give the Seahawks their first lead of the weekend at 4-3 in the top of the eighth.
Rother (2-2), Giles and Holdsworth combined to carry a no-hitter through the first seven innings of the game and finished the game allowing four runs (one earned) on one hit with four walks, while striking out three. Rother carried the majority of the load pitching 5.0 innings in the game, while Giles pitched 2.2 innings of shutout relief in the effort.
Jordyn Schmidt (3-3) went the distance for the Seahawks in the loss, allowing five runs on nine hits, while striking out four batters in 129 pitches.
Tedesco, Matthews and Rother all had two hits apiece in the win over Wilmington, while Stickney and Rother had two RBI apiece for the Bucs.
Poplin recorded the lone hit for the Seahawks in the loss, going 1-for-2 from the plate for the Wilmington.
Charleston Southern took an early lead in the game, plating the first three runs in the bottom of the first with Matthews and Rother hitting back-to-back two-out doubles to create the damage. Matthews drive down the left field line scored Tedesco, while Rother followed with a blast to the fence in centerfield, scoring Sbardella and Matthews to give CSU the 3-0 advantage.
Both pitchers cruised on the mound into the fifth before Wilmington struck back to even the score.
Rother had difficulty locating the strike zone early in the frame, walking the bases loaded with one out. A fielding error on a grounder by Kristen Jernigan brought the first run across the plate. Morgan McCann was hit by a pitch to bring across the second run, bringing Giles to the mound with the bases loaded and one out. Two batters later, Buckworth was hit by a pitch, bringing Taylor Matkins across the plate to even the game at 3-all.
The score would remain the same until the teams went into extra innings.
Valparaiso 9, Charleston Southern 1 (5 inn.) (Box Score)
Valpo broke open the game in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of three CSU fielding errors in scoring six runs to give the Crusaders the 9-1 victory.
Hayes Holdsworth connected on her first home run of the season for the Buccaneers, drilling a 3-2 pitch from Valpo starter Taylor Weissenhofer over the fence in centerfield in the bottom of the fifth inning, but the CSU rally died there as the Bucs were unable to pull off the late inning magic for the second straight game in suffering their second loss of the weekend at the Buccaneer Invitational.
Giles (2-6) went the distance on the mound for Charleston Southern, allowing five hits and nine runs (four earned) in the loss to the Crusaders.
Weissenhofer (3-2) took the win for Valparaiso, striking out eight batters and scattering four hits over five innings.
Jessie Marinec drove in three runs for Valparaiso, while Amanda Wisniewski crossed the plate three times in the win.
After a scoreless first inning, the Crusaders opened the scoring in the top of the second as Tarah McShane led off the frame with a double. Wisniewski followed with a walk and the duo advanced into scoring position on Janelle Bouchard's sacrifice bunt. Marinec followd with a double down the left field line, plating both runners to push Valpo ahead early.
The Crusaders struck again in the fourth inning as Wisniewski opened the inning with a line drive home run over the fence in left centerfield.
Valparaiso sent 11 batters to the plate in the fifth inning, taking advantage of three consecutive CSU errors in building a 9-0 advantage. McShane opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly brining in Kaitlyn Ranieri, and Bouchard, Marinec, Angie Doerffler and Ranieri each drove in runs to give the Crusaders a commanding lead.
With one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, Holdsworth connected on a solo home run in the fifth inning. The blast was her first of the season and third in her collegiate career.
Natalie Yonan and Trea Steele continued the comeback attempt with two outs in the inning, but Weissenhofer was able to force Tedesco into an inning-ending groundout to end the contest.