CHARLESTON, S.C. - Fresh off their opening weekend, the Charleston Southern softball team welcomes St. Bonaventure and Jacksonville State to the CSU Softball Field this weekend as the Buccaneers hosts the three day CSU Softball tournament sponsored by Willie Jewell's Old School Bar-B-Q.
Tournament action begins on Friday, February 14th as Jacksonville State takes on St. Bonavenutre at 10:30 a.m. Charleston Southern's weekend schedule begins Friday afternoon as CSU takes on the Gamecocks of Jacksonville State at 1 p.m. For the full tournament schedule, click on the link.
Parking for the tournament is available in the football stadium parking lot as Charleston Southern looks to improve on their 3-0-1 record going back to last week's action as CSU topped Maryland-Eastern Shore twice and UNC Wilmington in extra innings, while settling for a tie against Elon.
Recapping last week's action in the opener against UMES, Hayes Holdsworth connected on her first home run of the season and Lauren Darden hurled three innings of shutout relief as Charleston Southern topped Maryland-Eastern Shore 5-1 in the CSU Tournament opener. The afternoon game against UNCW stretched into Saturday as nightfall approached, but the Buccaneers bats came to life in the eighth inning with freshman shortstop Stephanie Bergmann providing the big swing with a one-out double to score Lizzy Olmstead in the CSU 2-1 victory.
The afternoon action again matched up Charleston Southern against Maryland-Eastern Shore and this time senior Jessica Brock provided the big hit in the game with a bases-loaded double off the fence in left field, scoring all three runs as the CSU pitching staff combined for 11 strikeouts in the Bucs 7-1 victory over the Hawks. The weekend finale boasted another strong performance by a CSU freshman as Cheyenne Gandara hurled seven innings of relief on the mound for the Bucs as Charleston Southern rallied from a 5-0 deficit to tie the game up at 5-5 in the sixth inning. However, CSU was unable to complete the comeback attempt as night fell over Buccaneer Field and the game ended in a tie.
Among the CSU accolades from the weekend included freshman outfielder Amanda Matsumoto earning Choice Hotels Big South Player of the Week honors as the Palatine, Ill. native led the Bucs with a .545 batting average on the weekend with five runs scored and five stolen bases.
Sophomore Natalie Yonan hit .500 on the week to supplement the CSU offense, while senior Marci Christian connected on her first home run of the season for the Bucs after setting the Charleston Southern single season record in the category last year. Brock led the Bucs with six RBI on the weekend and tied Bergmann for the team lead with three doubles apiece.
On the mound for CSU, Darden sports a clean 0.00 earned run average on the season and a 1-0 record on the year after picking up the win in the Charleston Southern season opener. The CSU pitching staff as a whole boasts a team ERA of 1.45 and a sparkling 35:6 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the year led by 12 strikeouts by Gandara.
About the opponents
Jacksonville State is in their second tournament of the season after opening the year at the Mississippi State Bulldog Kickoff Classic in Starkville, Miss. The Gamecocks went 3-2 on the weekend with wins over Northern Kentucky and Mississippi Valley State, while falling to the host MSU Bulldogs twice on the weekend.
JSU has been led on the season by Taylor Sloan's .556 batting average at the plate, while Kalee Tabor has two of JSU's six home runs on the season. On the mound, Tiffany Harbin has seen the most action for JSU with 19 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched, to pace a staff that goes four deep on the rubber for head coach Jana McGinnis.
St. Bonaventure is seeing their first action of the season this weekend as the Bonnies begin the year when they take on Maine on Friday morning. SBU was picked eighth in the Atlantic 10 preseason poll and returns 17 players from last year's squad including junior Grace Rooney who led the team with a .368 batting average last season, as well as fleet-footed sophomore Emily McDonough who could break the Bonnies' all-time stolen base record this weekend. Senior Ashley Snider was the team's lone preseason All-Conference selection and is the current all-time home runs leader at SBU under head coach Mike Threehouse.