CHARLESTON, S.C. - Longwood slugged six home runs as the visiting Lancers swept both games of the doubleheader on the CSU Softball Field on Saturday afternoon, winning 9-3 and 8-0 in defeating Charleston Southern in the Buccaneers' Big South Conference season opener.
Jana Matthews made the day one to remember for CSU softball fans, slugging her 28th career home run to lead off the sixth inning in surpassing former teammate Megan Lombard (2009-12) as the Buccaneers' all-time home run leader.
Charleston Southern falls to 5-21 overall on the year, 0-2 in Big South Conference play with the losses. Longwood improves to 18-7 overall with the pair of wins and improves to 4-1 overall in Big South play.
The final game of the three-game series between the Buccaneers and the Lancers is scheduled for Sunday afternoon on the CSU Softball Field, with first pitch of the seven-inning contest coming at 1 p.m.
Longwood 9, Charleston Southern 3 (Box Score)
Megan Baltzell hit two home runs and Jordan Cox also went deep for the visiting Lancers as Longwood supported a strong pitching performance by Brooke Short (11-2) in the 9-3 series opening win.
Jana Matthews led the offense for CSU in the game, connecting on her 28th career home run, moving her past former teammate Megan Lombard as the program's all-time home run leader at Charleston Southern. Her blast led off the sixth inning as the Bucs attempted to mount a comeback.
Short threw a strong six innings for the Lancers, allowing four hits and three runs (one earned) in earning the win. Ashley Cornell closed out the contest on the mound, retiring the side in the seventh for Longwood.
Jennifer Giles (2-15) suffered the loss for the Buccaneers in the game, going the distance for her 12th complete game of the season. The sophomore from Jupiter, Fla. allowed 12 hits and nine runs (five earned), while striking out four batters in the loss.
The Lancers batted around in the first inning, taking advantage of a Charleston Southern error in the frame to build a 5-0 lead out of the gates.
Baltzell scored the first run of the contest, scoring on a bases-loaded walk issued to Chelsea Sciacca as Giles struggled to locate the strike zone early.
The Lancers added four more runs in the frame as Carly Adams singled in Short and Jamie Barbour brought in Emily Murphy with an infield base hit before Katie Shinrock brought in Adams and Sciacca with a two-run single to stake Longwood to the early lead.
The Lancers added another run in the top of the second as Baltzell led off the frame with a solo home run to straightaway centerfield.
The Buccaneers broke the seal on the scoreboard in the bottom half of the frame due to an unusual play with the bases loaded.
Jana Matthews led off the inning with a double down the left field line and Linzy Rother followed with a walk, putting two runners on base for CSU. Hayes Holdsworth reached on a fielding error, loading the bases for Melanie Stickney, and the senior catcher connected on a sharp grounder to the Longwood third baseman. The fielder threw home for the force out, but the catcher's relay to first base in attempt to get the double play sailed over the first baseman and to the fence in right field, allowing Rother and Holdsworth to score. In the confusion, Stickney attempted to cross the plate as well, but the relay from the outfield was on time as the Buccaneers were only able to salvage two runs from the inning.
Short and Giles matched each other with scoreless innings until the fifth, when the Lancers bats struck again, this time with Cox connected on a two-run shot with none out in the top of the inning, scoring Adams on the play to put Longwood ahead 8-2.
Baltzell capped off the Longwood scoring in the top of the sixth, leading off the inning with her second home run of the day and 12th of the season, while Matthews answered in the bottom half of the inning, connecting on a 2-1 pitch from Short, driving it over the fence in right field to put the final score at 9-3.
With one final at-bat in the bottom of the seventh, Cornell closed out the game, retiring the final three CSU batters in order to clinch the win.
Longwood 8, Charleston Southern 0 (5 inn.) (Box Score)
The Longwood bats continued to connect in the nightcap of the doubleheader as Short, Sciacca and Barbour all connected on home runs to pace the Lancers past Charleston Southern, 8-0, in clinching the series win.
Libby Morris (7-2) picked up the win, scattering three hits while striking out five for the Lancers, while Rother (2-6) suffered the loss for the Buccaneers, throwing four innings in allowing six runs.
Rother and Morris matched either other with scoreless innings into the top of the third, when Longwood used the long ball for three runs to take the lead.
Barbour opened the frame with a solo shot to straightaway centerfield. Four batters later with Kori Nishitomi on base with a single, Short connected on a two-out home run over the fence in right centerfield, giving the Lancers the advantage.
Sciacca built on the lead in the fourth, connecting on a solo home run to lead off the inning, while the Lancers closed out the scoring in the fifth against reliever Jennifer Giles as Murphy, Sciacca and Cox drove in runs, while Short came across the plate on a wild pitch to build the 8-0 margin.
Morris kept the Buccaneers bats at bay throughout the contest, with CSU threatening in the third inning putting two runners on with two outs, but the Longwood sophomore closed out the contest for the shutout victory.