CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Buccaneers softball team travels west for their final tournament of the 2013 season, traveling to Long Beach, Calif. for the Long Beach State Mayfair Invitational, with action running from March 8-11.
Charleston Southern opens up play on Thursday, March 8th with a single game against Cal State Fullerton, before opening the Mayfair Invitational on the 9th with games against UC Santa Barbara and tournament host Long Beach State. The Bucs will then take on Idaho State and UCLA on the 10th, while finishing up the long weekend against Bethune-Cookman on the 11th.
Scouting the Tournament Field
Charleston Southern Buccaneers (4-11)
Charleston Southern enters this weekend coming off a 1-4 showing at the Buccaneer Invitational as the Bucs avenged an earlier season defeat to UNC Wilmington on a walk-off single by Melanie Stickney, while falling twice to both Valparaiso and then No. 7/9 Tennessee.
On the first day of the tournament, the Bucs opened up against the Lady Vols with Tennessee taking advantage of a seven run fifth inning. Junior outfielder/pitcher Hayes Holdsworth brought in the lone CSU run with an RBI groundout, scoring Jasmine Conley on the play as the Bucs fell 8-1.
Saturday's action saw Stickney help Charleston Southern salvage a split on the day with a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth inning against Valparaiso. Linzy Rother, Jennifer Giles and Holdsworth combined for a no-hitter through regulation against the Seahawks and Stickney connected on the winning hit, scoring Jana Matthews and Ari Tedesco to close out the win.
The Bucs fell in the night cap as Valpo took advantage of three CSU fielding errors to score six runs in the top of the fifth as the Crusaders took the 9-1 victory. Holdsworth brought in the CSU run in the contest, connecting on her first home run of the season, third of her career, in the loss.
Saturday's contests saw the Buccaneers' power bats come alive as Marci Christian connected on a pair of home runs, while Matthews tied the CSU all-time career home run and RBI records, connecting on her 27th career home run while driving in her 113th RBI, tying former teammate Megan Lombard in both categories.
Christian hit three-run home runs in both games, connecting on a three-run blast in the first inning of the 6-5 loss to Valpo, and added an inside the park three-run shot to centerfield in the first inning of the 10-3 loss to Tennessee. Matthews followed Christian's blast in the Valparaiso game with one of her own, driving the ball over the fence in left centerfield to tie Lombard's career marks.
The Buccaneers offense has been headlined by junior third baseman Stephanie Sbardella on the season, as the Fairfax Station, Va. native leads the team with a .400 batting average with 16 hits and a team-high 14 runs scored. Sbardella is also tied for the team lead with four doubles.
Christian is also among the team's hitting leaders, seeing her 10-game hitting streak come to an end over this past weekend on Saturday, before her two home runs on Sunday afternoon. Christian is hitting .372 on the season and is tied with Sbardella with 16 hits, while leading the team with three home runs and 16 RBI in her first season with the Buccaneers.
Senior second baseman Trea Steele has paced the Bucs offensive efforts on the season from the leadoff spot in the order, reaching base 20 times with 14 hits, and has scored 10 runs in the game.
On the mound, sophomore right-hander Jennifer Giles has seen a majority of the action inside the circle for the Buccaneers this season, appearing in 13 of the Bucs' 15 games with 11 starts and nine complete games on the rubber. Giles has nearly equaled last season's innings count on the mound, hurling 75.2 innings this year with a 4.07 earned run average, with 48 strikeouts.
Rother is currently the team leader on the mound in the wins category with a 2-2 record overall, while Holdsworth sports a 1-0 record on the rubber, pitching 7.0 innings with six strikeouts in four appearances.
Charleston Southern follows the Long Beach State Mayfair Invitational next week at home as the Buccaneers host Appalachian State on March 13 and Mississippi State on March 15, before opening Big South Conference play at home on the 16-17 against Longwood.
Cal State Fullerton Titans (8-11)
Cal State enters the week sporting an 8-11 record overall, coming off victories over Indiana and Wisconsin, while falling to Stanford and Iowa. The Titans will take on Weber State and Virginia Tech on Thursday, before taking on the Bucs on Friday evening.
Ariel Tsuchiyama and Leesa Harris lead the Titans offense on the season with Tsuchiyama leading the way hitting .326 overall on the season with 15 hits. Melissa Sechrest is the team leader with three home runs on the year.
On the mound, Jasmine Antunez and Desiree Ybarra have seen a majority of the action on the rubber with Antunez recording 16 appearances with a 5-6 record overall and a 3.18 earned run average. Ybarra has also posted double-digit appearances on the mound, sporting a 2-4 record with 12 appearances and a 3.24 ERA.
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (14-5)
The Gauchos enter the week with a 14-5 record overall and enter with a five game winning streak, including three wins over Seattle and a pair of victories over South Dakota State.
Arianna Palomares and Jessica Soria lead the Gauchos offense on the season, with Palomares hitting .439 overall on the year, while Soria is right behind hitting .343 with nine stolen bases on the year. Keilani Jennings and Shelby Wisdom have provided the power for UCSB, combining for seven home runs.
On the mound, Wisdom and Alex Pingree lead the way with Wisdom sporting a 9-4 record and 11 complete games with a 2.48 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 70.2 innings. Pingree sports a 1.89 ERA with a perfect 2-0 record with an 18:7 strikeout to walk ratio.
Long Beach State 49ers (12-6)
The tournament host, Long Beach State enters the week on an eight-game winning streak, including a perfect 5-0 record this past weekend at the San Diego State Classic with wins over Boise State, San Diego State, New Mexico, BYU and Fresno State.
The 49ers offense features five players hitting over .300 on the season including team leader Shayna Kimbrough with a .375 batting average, with Hannah De Gaetano right behind hitting .367 on the year. Karli Sandoval sports a .314 average with a team-leading five home runs on the year.
On the mound, Erin Jones-Wesley and Amanda Hansen have seen a majority of the action with Jones-Wesley sporting a 3.08 ERA and six complete games with a 6-4 record, with 86 strikeouts in 63.2 innings. Hansen has also lined up on the mound 11 times, pitching 27.2 innings in earning two saves and a 1-0 record.
Idaho State Bengals (6-8)
The Bengals enter the week following a 2-2 record this past weekend at the Santa Clara Tournament, where Idaho State recorded wins over Cal State Northridge and Fresno State, while falling to San Jose State and Santa Clara.
Vicky Galasso and Maddy Hickman lead a hard-hitting team for Idaho State as the Bengals are hitting .316 overall on the year in the lineup. Galasso leads the way with a .477 batting average with 21 hits and 15 runs scored, while connecting on six home runs. Hickman is close behind with a .395 average, while Katelyn Marquez leads the team on the base paths with nine steals and a .348 average.
Amanda Fitzsimmons leads the team from the mound with a 4.98 earned run average in 11 appearances, while Bailey Foster is close behind with nine appearances in five starts.
No. 9/11 UCLA Bruins (18-2)
The Bruins enter the week moving up one spot in both the ESPN.com/USA Softball and the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Polls, coming off a five game winning streak at the San Diego Classic with wins over Fresno State, Boise State, San Diego, New Mexico and New Mexico State.
Stephany LaRossa leads the team with a .426 batting average, while B.B. Bates returns to provide the power for the Bruins lineup, leading the way with 12 home runs and 35 RBI on the year. Gracie Boulder is among the team leaders with a .355 batting average and five stolen bases.
On the mound, Ally Carda paces the Bruins efforts with a 1.66 ERA and 11-1 record overall in 67.2 innings, with 82 strikeouts on the year. Paige McDuffee leads the team with a 0.42 ERA and 5-0 record, with opponents hitting .155 against her on the season.
Bethune-Cookman Wildcats (3-13)
Bethune-Cookman enters the week winning two of their past five games, with a victory over Dartmouth at the Hatter Classic before splitting against Niagara this past Sunday. The Wildcats take on Providence and Boston College at home in Daytona Beach, Fla., before heading out west.
Michelle Banuelos-Smith leads three players hitting over .300 on the season with a .341 batting average, while Simone Seasar and Calesha Shelley are also hitting above .300 on the year. The Wilcats are a running team, with 19 stolen bases on the season, led by Shelley going a perfect 8-for-8 on steals on the year.
Shanel Tolbert and Samantha Gale split the pitching duties for B-C, with Tolbert sporting a 2-9 record on the mound with a 3.33 ERA in 63.0 innings pitched.