ROCK HILL, S.C. - Cheyenne Gandara and Jennifer Giles both hurled complete games and Stephanie Sbardella and Hayes Holdsworth both homered as Charleston Southern took both games on the opening day of Big South Conference play of the season, defeating Winthrop 4-2 and 5-1 on Wednesday evening at Terry Field.
Gandara (6-4) and Giles (5-5) both picked up their first Big South wins of the season as the Buccaneers avenged a 2013 season sweep by Winthrop in taking the first two games of the three-game series against the Eagles. Sbardella and Holdsworth both added their second home runs of the season in the second game of the doubleheader as the Bucs took over the early lead in Big South play on the year.
Charleston Southern (13-13-1, 2-0) and Winthrop (11-12, 0-2) complete their three-game series tomorrow afternoon, with first at Terry Field set for 5 p.m.
Charleston Southern 4, Winthrop 2
Charleston Southern pushed across a pair of runs in each of the sixth and the seventh innings and Cheyenne Gandara scattered six hits and struck out six as the Buccaneers topped Winthrop in the Big South opener for both squads, 4-2.
With the Buccaneers trailing 1-0 heading into the top of the sixth inning, Charleston Southern put two on with one out as Natalie Yonan reached on a walk and Stephanie Bergmann followed with a single to threaten Winthrop starter Sara Allen (3-5). Hayes Holdsworth followed with a single to centerfield and the WU outfielder misplayed the ball, allowing Yonan to cross the plate for the first run of the contest. Two batters later, Morgan Dowdy reached on an error by the Winthrop third baseman allowing Bergmann to cross the plate and give the Buccaneers the 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, Charleston Southern pushed across a pair of insurance runs with Amanda Matsumoto crossing the plate on Jessica Brock's double off the wall in left centerfield. Matsumoto led off the inning with a single up the middle. Brock came around to cross the plate three batters later, scoring on a wild pitch to put the Buccaneers ahead 4-1.
Winthrop battled back in the bottom of the seventh as Kelsey Ritter led off the inning in reaching on an infield error. A wild pitch advanced her to second where she came around to score on Paige Haley's RBI single to centerfield, halving the CSU lead at 4-2. Gandara closed out the game though in retiring the final two batters, including striking out Zharne Glover swinging to end the contest.
Winthrop took the lead early in the game in the bottom of the fifth as Glover doubled in Haley with two outs in the inning to go ahead 1-0.
Gandara went the full seven innings in her third complete game of the season, allowing six hits and two runs (one earned) in the victory. She struck out six in the win.
Charleston Southern 5, Winthrop 1
Hayes Holdsworth broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fourth inning with a solo home run to left and Stephanie Sbardella connected on the clinching two-run blast in the top of the seventh as Charleston Southern clinched the series win over Winthrop with their 5-1 win on Wednesday night.
Jennifer Giles hurled her third complete game of the season, allowing five hits and one run, while striking out four in the victory. Sutton Watson (4-4) suffered the loss in going a complete game for the Eagles, allowing all five runs while striking out eight.
Charleston Southern struck first in the top of the third as Brandy Galaviz led off the frame with an infield single. Amanda Matsumoto followed with her second triple of the season, driving the ball into the right centerfield gap to score pinch runner LIzzy Olmstead to put the Bucs ahead 1-0.
Winthrop answered in the bottom of the third as Megan Winningham connected on a two-out solo home run to centerfield, tying the game up at 1-1.
Holdsworth followed with her second home run of the season in the top of the fourth, connecting on a one-out solo shot to increase the Bucs lead to 2-1.
After a scoreless fifth, CSU added another run in the sixth before Sbardella's two-run blast in the seventh capped the scoring. Georgi DeLio provided the big hit in the sixth inning, connecting on a double to score Natalie Yonan. Sbardella's drive in the top of the seven scored Brandy Galaviz to put the final margin at 5-1.