CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern softball returns to the road this weekend after taking two of three games from the visiting Liberty Flames this past weekend at the CSU Softball Field as the Bucs travel to Buies Creek, N.C. to take on the Fighting Camels of Campbell University in a three-game series at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium.
The Bucs and Camels open the weekend with a doubleheader on Friday afternoon, with first pitch coming at 4 p.m. The two Big South rivals will close out the series on Saturday with a noon start. Live Stats and Audio will be provided for all three contests on the weekend.
Charleston Southern looks to continue to build the momentum heading into their final three Big South Conference weekend series of the season as the Bucs close out the regular season with a three game slate this weekend against Campbell, a game against Coastal Carolina on the road and three games against Gardner-Webb at home next week, before wrapping up play on the first weekend in May on the road against Presbyterian.
The Bucs bats came alive this weekend as Charleston Southern swept the opening doubleheader on Saturday against Liberty as senior outfielder Jana Matthews hit two of CSU's five home runs on the weekend in the 6-4 and 11-0 victories. Sophomore right-hander Jennifer Giles picked up the wins in both games, combining to throw 10 innings on the day, allowing one walk and striking out four while limiting the Flames to seven hits on the day.
Sunday's action saw Liberty strike back in the series finale as the Flames responded to Linzy Rother's game-tying three-run blast in the bottom of the third inning, plating 11 unanswered runs to close out the 15-4 LU win. Stephanie Sbardella connected on an RBI double in the game as well for Charleston Southern in the loss.
The Bucs' two wins this past weekend improves Charleston Southern's record to 9-33 overall on the season, 2-12 in Big South Conference play. The momentum will need to be on CSU's side as they head to current Big South leader Campbell as the Camels enter the weekend with a 26-15 record, sporting a 10-3 record in conference action on the season.
This past weekend the Camels took two of three games in Clinton, S.C., defeating the Blue Hose in both the series opener and finale, winning 5-4 and 9-4. Their lone loss came in the first game on Saturday afternoon, falling 6-2.
Last season Charleston Southern took the season series against Campbell, winning two of the three games played at the CSU Softball Field. In their last visit to Littlejohn Stadium, the Bucs and Camels split the doubleheader with matching 2-0 scores.
Charleston Southern's bats will need to be on point this weekend and the Bucs have been heating up with the weather, led by junior catcher Marci Christian, junior third baseman Stephanie Sbardella and senior outfielder Jana Matthews.
Christian leads the way on the season with a .352 batting average and serves as the team's leader in hits (43), home runs (11), RBI (28) and slugging percentage (.672). She is one of four Bucs to see action in all 42 games this season and enters this weekend chasing the CSU single season home run record of 12 set by Jana Matthews back in 2010.
Sbardella, meanwhile, continues to be one of head coach Shane Winkler's most productive players at the plate, sporting a .321 batting average on the season and leads the team with 29 runs scored at the plate. She is also currently second on the team with 35 hits, eight home runs and 25 RBIs, sporting a .434 on-base percentage in 2013.
Matthews continues to work her way up the career standings in the CSU record books and enters the weekend with a four game hitting streak. During the four game span, she has gone 6-for-10 from the plate with a double, triple and two home runs, driving in nine RBI while scoring six times herself to pace the Bucs offense. She is the program's all-time leader in career home runs (31) and RBI (131).
On the mound for the Bucs, Jennifer Giles continues to pace both CSU and the Big South Conference, leading both in innings pitched, appearances, games started and complete games on the season and is currently fourth in the conference with 101 strikeouts on the season. She comes off two strong performances against Liberty in which she picked up both her fourth and fifth wins of the season, and the sophomore hurler also recorded her first shutout of the season last week against Canisius.
Campbell Camels Scouting Report
Campbell continues to lead the Big South Conference on the season with a 26-15 overall record, 10-3 in Big South Conference play and look to top the Bucs this weekend before the Camels embark on a nine-game road trip before ending the season at home against Longwood at the beginning of May.
The Camels have been a different team at home this season, sporting an impressive 18-5 record inside the friendly confines of the Amanda Littlejohn Stadium, while falling to 4-6 when Campbell takes to the road.
Raven Lee provides the power for the Camels offense on the season, drilling a team-high 13 home runs on the year while hitting .324 from the plate. She also has five doubles on the season and has scored 13 runs while playing in 38 of the Camels 39 games on the season.
Inside the circle, freshman CourtneyRoberts paces Campbell's efforts from the mound as the right-hander sports a team-best 14-4 record from the mound, throwing 13 complete games in 21 appearances. She currently boasts a 2.86 earned run average and has 95 strikeouts against 35 walks on the season.