ROCK HILL, S.C. - Jennifer Giles continued her strong performance on Thursday, going the distance against Coastal Carolina in picking up her second shutout of the season as No. 9 Charleston Southern upset the No. 1 Chanticleers at Terry Field, 2-0.
Hayes Holdsworth drew a bases-loaded, two out walk in the top of the sixth and Hannah Wagner followed with an RBI single to provide Giles with all the offense she needed in the contest as the sophomore right-hander from Jupiter, Fla. took care of the rest in her second win of the day.
"We knew we had something special today and Jennifer Giles went toe-to-toe with the conference pitcher of the year and was just a little bit better," commented head coach Shane Winkler on the standout performance by Giles. "Offensively, Ari Tedesco keeps setting the table for us and we got huge at-bats from both Hayes Holdsworth and Hannah Wagner, so we're getting production all throughout the lineup this tournament."
Charleston Southern moves into the winners' bracket and takes on No. 5 Winthrop tomorrow afternoon at Terry Field with first pitch set for 2:00 p.m. The Eagles defeated No. 4 Radford earlier on Thursday afternoon, 4-1. Coastal Carolina falls into the losers' bracket and takes on Radford in an elimination game, with first pitch set for 9 a.m. tomorrow morning.
"Against Winthrop, we feel it's a good matchup for us," said Winkler on taking on the Eagles tomorrow afternoon. "We were swept by them earlier in the season, but we were also swept against Coastal as well. We feel like we're a different team right now and feel that we can continue to compete with anybody. Tonight, we'll relax and rest as we've been up all day long and come back tomorrow and try to score first and let Winthrop come chase us."
Giles went the distance in the contest, retiring eight batters on strikes while scattering five hits in her second shutout of the season. Giles had previously shutout Canisius at the CSU Softball Field on April 3rd. Giles walked only two batters in the game and finished the day with 19 combined strikeouts going back to the first game of the day.
"Jen's been outstanding, absolutely outstanding so far in the tournament," said Winkler. "This is the same pitcher from earlier this year when we faced Florida and we knew she had the potential to do this all season. It's coming out at the right time"
Kiana Quolas suffered the loss for Coastal Carolina, allowing two runs and seven hits in the complete game effort. She added four strikeouts against three walks, retiring 12 CSU batters in a row up until the deciding sixth inning.
Charleston Southern threatened early, putting a runner in scoring position in the top of the first inning, but a strong throw by Brooke Donovan ended the CSU scoring threat, gunning down Jana Matthews at the plate.
Matthews reached on a two-out single up the middle and advanced to second as Linzy Rother drew a full-count walk to threaten CCU starter Kiana Quolas early. Hayes Holdsworth followed with a single to straightaway centerfield, and with the third base coach waving Matthews home, Donovan came through with a strong throw to the plate, catching Matthews by a step and a half to end the CSU top half of the inning.
Giles continued to ride the momentum she built in the first game, retiring Bri Chiusano and Kory Hayden on strikes in the bottom of the first inning, but the Chanticleers threatened to push a run across with two outs in the second inning.
Jazmin Daigle led off the inning drawing a walk and advanced to second on Morgan Noad's sacrifice bunt. A two-out single by Donovan moved Daigle over to third, but Jessie Winans' line drive went straight to Hayes Holdsworth out in right field and the CSU fielder recorded the final out of the frame to leave both teams scoreless after the first two innings.
Coastal Carolina nearly ended the pitchers' duel in the bottom of the fourth inning as Cacia Pierre led off the inning getting hit by a pitch. With Sara Rasley in to run, she moved around the bases on a sacrifice bunt, while Noad singled her over to third to put runners on the corners for CCU with one out.
Giles battled back, retiring Paige Goldsack on a strikeout, fooling her with the changeup, and after Donovan coaxed a walk, Giles caught Winans with back-to-back changeups, getting her to swing over the final one to end the inning and the threat.
The Chanticleers again threatened in the bottom of the fifth inning as the fleet-footed Chiusano led off the inning reaching on a bunt single and advanced to second on a stolen base. However, a strong throw by Ari Tedesco on Hayden's fly ball to centerfield kept Chiusano at second base and Giles retired Pierre on a foul out down the third base line to end the inning and keep the score at 0-0 heading into the top of the sixth inning.
Charleston Southern finally snapped the scoreless game in the top of the sixth, pushing across the first run of the contest as Holdsworth drew a bases-loaded walk and Hannah Wagner added an RBI single to the frame as CSU took the 2-0 lead.
"Hayes was outstanding in her at-bat," commented Winkler on the first run of the game. "It was a little frustrating because she fouled off ball four the pitch before, but then she watched it up in the zone and gave us an opportunity to get a huge run. Our key coming into the game was to score first and let the other team chase us and it worked out in our favor."
Quolas had retired 12 batters in a row dating back to the end of the first inning before Tedesco snapped the streak in the top of the sixth, driving a single to right field to lead off the frame. Christian followed with a single over the shortstop to put two runners on with none out. A wild pitch advanced both runners into scoring position before an intentional walk with one out was issued to Matthews to load the bases.
Coastal retired the second out of the inning, getting Tedesco out at the plate on Rother's fielder's choice to the shortstop, but Holdsworth battled to a full count before drawing the walk and Wagner followed with a line drive single back up the middle scoring Christian and Courtney Konyk for the first two runs of the game.
Giles kept the Chanticleers at bay in the bottom half of the sixth inning as Daigle flew out to left field to open the frame. After a single by Noad to straightaway centerfield, the sophomore right-hander went into her bag of tricks, retiring Goldsack swinging with a change-up, before blowing strike three past Donovan to end the inning and put the Bucs three outs away from advancing into the winners' bracket at the Big South Conference Softball Championships.
CSU made short work of the Chanticleers in the bottom of the seventh inning as Giles retired Winans on strikes to open the frame and fielded and threw out Chiusano for the second out. The final out came on a popup to centerfield with Lizzy Olmstead corralling the final out to end the contest.