CLINTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern took both games of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon against Presbyterian as the Bucs used the long ball in the first game behind three home runs between Marci Christian and Natalie Yonan, while Linzy Rother connected on a three-run blast to pace a strong pitching performance in leading the Bucs to 7-6 and 7-5 victories over the Blue Hose.
Charleston Southern improves to 13-38, 6-17 in Big South Conference play with the pair of wins, while Presbyterian falls to 22-30, 7-16 in conference action with the losses.
The Buccaneers return to the PC Softball Complex tomorrow afternoon for the conclusion of the three game series with first pitch on Sunday afternoon between CSU and PC set for 1 p.m.
Game One: Charleston Southern 7, Presbyterian 6
Charleston Southern led off the first, third and fourth innings with solo home runs in support of sophomore right-hander Jennifer Giles as the Buccaneers took the first game of the doubleheader against Presbyterian College on Saturday afternoon, topping the Blue Hose, 7-6.
Marci Christian connected on solo home runs in both the first and third innings, increasing her CSU single season record total to 15 on the season, while Natalie Yonan connected on a solo drive to centerfield for her first collegiate home run to lead off the fourth inning as the Bucs held off a late rally by the Blue Hose in picking up the Big South Conference win.
Jennifer Giles (8-27) picked up the win, throwing a complete game, allowing 10 hits and six runs (five earned) in the win. She also picked up six strikeouts in the victory, overcoming multiple PC threats for her fifth win in Big South Conference play on the season.
Kensley Loudermelk (12-14) suffered the loss in the opening game, allowing seven runs in 3.0 innings, allowing three walks, while striking out one. Kelsey Barnette closed out the game, throwing the final four innings in one-hit relief to end the game.
Christian led off the game with a solo home run to straightaway centerfield as the Bucs opened the scoring in the top of the first inning.
Presbyterian evened the score in the bottom half of the inning as Cat Tarvin singled through the left side of the infield, driving in Tera Powell with two outs.
Christian again sparked the CSU offense in the top of the third inning, connecting on her second home of the day, 15th of the season to put the Bucs ahead… The home run sparked a three run inning for CSU as Hayes Holdsworth doubled in Jasmine Conley with one out in the inning, while Hannah Wagner connected on a sacrifice fly to left centerfield, scoring Jana Matthews.
Again the Blue Hose responded with a run in the bottom half of the inning as PC loaded the bases with two outs. M. Morris brought in the Blue Hose run, drawing a bases-loaded walk, scoring Kensley Legacki to pull Presbyterian back within two runs at 4-2.
CSU added three more runs in the top of the fourth inning, this time with Yonan providing the power with a solo home run to lead off the frame. The freshman shortstop, who had come so close multiple times during the season, drilled the ball over the centerfield fence to increase the CSU lead. Three batters later, Stephanie Sbardella kept the Bucs offense rolling, connecting on a two-run double to right centerfield, scoring Christian and Ari Tedesco to put CSU ahead, 7-2.
Errors paved the way for the Blue Hose to push across another run in the bottom of inning, as Tarvin reached on a error to load the bases, while Erin Taylor followed, also reaching on an error to score Powell.
The Bucs threatened to push more across the plate in the top of the fifth as Tedesco reached on a two-out error and Christian and Sbardella followed with a single and walk respectively, but the Bucs were unable to push across an insurance run to increase the lead.
Presbyterian continued to chip away at the Charleston Southern lead in the fifth and sixth innings with Courtney Lawton doubling in Jill McLean in the bottom of the fifth inning, while Shelby Petik drove in Tarvin with a sacrifice fly in the sixth to put the score at 7-5 in favor of the Bucs heading into the final frame.
After a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh, Presbyterian put together one final rally as Lawton and Powell connected on back-to-back doubles to pull the Blue Hose back within one, with one out in the frame. Erin Ruff followed, drawing a walk, but Giles retired the final two batters, catching Legacki swinging before a fielder's choice ended the game.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 7, Presbyterian 5
Linzy Rother pitched five solid innings on the mound and connected on a three-run home run in the top of the first inning to pace the Buccaneers to the Saturday sweep over Presbyterian, topping the Blue Hose, 7-5, in the nightcap.
Rother's three-run blast accented a strong pitching performance as the senior right-hander scattered 11 hits in allowing five runs (three earned) in five innings in the win. She retired one batter on strikes without allowing a walk.
Jennifer Giles picked up her second save of the season, hurling the final two innings of the contest in relief. She allowed only one hit, striking out two in closing out the contest.
Cat Tarvin (5-5) suffered the loss for the Blue Hose, throwing 2.1 innings, allowing five runs (four earned), while Sydney Seigler pitched the final 4.2 innings in relief. PC's defense committed four errors, giving up three unearned runs in the loss.
The Bucs jumped ahead early in the top of the first inning as Marci Christian and Jana Matthews reached with one out in the frame as Christian reached on an error, while Matthews touched first on a fielder's choice. With Courtney Konyk on to run for Matthews, Rother connected on a blast to straightaway centerfield, scoring all three runs to put the Bucs ahead early, 3-0.
In the bottom half of the inning, Jill McLean took one back for the Blue Hose, connecting on a one-out solo home run to left field, racing around the bases for the rare inside-the-park run to cut the CSU deficit down to 3-1.
The Bucs added a run in the top of the second inning as Ari Tedesco connected on her first triple of the season, reaching third with two outs in the inning. The Blue Hose intentionally walked the dangerous bat of Christian, but on the ensuing play, Christian allowed herself to be picked off, staying in play long enough for Tedesco to cross the plate to make the margin, 4-1, in favor of Charleston Southern.
Matthews, Rother and Hayes Holdsworth had back-to-back-to-back singles with one out to push across another run in the top of the third inning, while Hannah Wagner followed with a walk to load the bases. However, the Bucs were unable to cash in on the opportunity as Seigler entered the game, retiring both Melanie Stickney and Natalie Yonan on strikes to keep the Bucs ahead, 5-1.
Tedesco crossed the plate in the fourth inning to put Charleston Southern ahead 6-1, before the Blue Hose struck back in the bottom half of the inning, plating two runs of their own to halve the margin.
Erin Taylor and Tera Powell provided both RBI in the bottom of the fourth inning with Taylor driving in Shelby Petik on a fielder's choice, while Powell drove in Courtney Lawton on a groundout to leave the Bucs ahead, 6-3.
Presbyterian added runs in the fifth and sixth innings as Tarvin scored on Lawton's RBI single, while Taylor led off the sixth inning with a solo home run.
CSU's final run in the contest came in the top of the sixth as Tedesco and Christian connected on back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners with one out. A throwing error by the PC catcher allowed Tedesco to score from third, putting the teams in the same situation as the first game with Charleston Southern holding the 7-5 lead heading into the final inning.
PC rallied against Giles in the bottom of the seventh inning as Petik singled with one-out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A walk issued to Mary Morris put two runners on with two outs, but Giles retired Taylor on strikes to end the game in favor of the Bucs.