CHARLESTON, S.C. - Longwood sent 14 batters to the plate in the pivotal third inning the Lancers erased in early deficit in sweeping the weekend series from Charleston Southern on Sunday afternoon at the CSU Softball Field with the 12-2 victory.
Linzy Rother connected on her fourth home run of the season and Stephanie Sbardella had an RBI single as the Buccaneers built an early 2-1 lead, but the Longwood bats came alive in the third inning against CSU starter Jennifer Giles (2-16) as Kori Nishitomi and Emily Murphy hit home runs to give the Lancers the Big South Conference win.
Charleston Southern falls to 5-22 overall on the season, 0-3 in Big South Conference play with the loss. Longwood improves to 19-7, 5-1 in conference action with the three game sweep.
Giles went the first 2.2 innings in the game for Charleston Southern, surrendering all 12 runs (five earned) in the loss for the Buccaneers. Rother closed out the contest with 2.1 innings of no-hit relief for CSU.
Libby Morris (8-3) picked up her second win in as many days, throwing 3.1 innings in scattering five hits and two runs. Ashley Cornell finished the game inside the circle for the Lancers, pitching 1.2 innings of two-hit relief.
The Buccaneers jumped ahead early in the bottom of the first as Trea Steele led off the inning with a double down the left field line. A sacrifice bunt by Natalie Yonan moved her over to third, where she came around to score on a sharp hit single through the left side of the infield by Sbardella.
The Lancers answered in the second inning as Carly Adams reached on a fielder's choice and advanced into scoring position with two outs in the frame. Jamie Barbour followed with an RBI single through the right side of the CSU infield, plating Adams for the tying run.
Rother put the Buccaneers back in the lead in the bottom half of the frame, jumping on the third pitch from Morris and drilling the offering over the fence in right centerfield to give CSU the 2-1 lead.
The Bucs threatened to build on the advantage as Hannah Wagner followed with a single up the middle and Steele drew a two-out walk, but the Lancers pitched their way out of trouble to keep the CSU lead at one run.
Longwood exploded in the top of the third inning, plating 11 runs and sending 14 batters to the plate as Murphy capped off the inning with a three-run blast over the centerfield fence to give the Lancers the 12-2 advantage.
Nishitomi led off the inning with a solo home run, knotting the score up at 2-all and Chelsea Sciacca followed three batters later with a sacrifice fly to centerfield, scoring Megan Baltzell to give Longwood their first lead of the game.
Adams followed with a two-run double to continue the scoring and Shinrock, Nishitomi and Brooke Short all drove in runs before Murphy capped off the scoring with her home run, putting Longwood ahead 12-2 heading into the bottom of the third.
Rother set the Lancers down in order in both the fourth and fifth innings, giving the Buccaneers two chances to extend the game.
CSU rallied in the fourth as Wagner led off the inning with a single and Lizzy Olmstead followed, reaching on a fielder's choice to give the Bucs two runners on with none out. A groundout put both runners in scoring position and Steele beat out an infield single to load the bases. However, the rally met an abrupt end as Natalie Yonan's hard-hit line drive was snagged by Jordan Cox at third base, and the Longwood third baseman doubled up Wagner off the base to end the threat.
At the plate for the Buccaneers, Steele and Wagner both went 2-for-2 in the game, while Nishitomi and Short had two hits apiece for the Lancers.
Charleston Southern is back in action next weekend as the Buccaneers host conference foe Winthrop University in a three-game series at the CSU Softball Field. First pitch in the opening doubleheader scheduled for Saturday, March 23rd, is set for 1 p.m., while the final game of the series will begin on Sunday, with first pitch also at 1 p.m. Longwood returns home to Farmville, Va. next week as the Lancers host their first Big South Conference series, taking on Coastal Carolina on March 19-20.