CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern fell in both ends of the doubleheader on Saturday afternoon to visiting Radford, falling 11-2 in the early game, while the Buccaneers' comeback attempt fell short in the nightcap, 5-4.
CSU falls to 19-28-1 overall on the season, 5-10 in Big South Conference play, while Radford improves to 17-19, 11-3 in conference action on the year.
The Bucs and Highlanders close out the series tomorrow afternoon with a single seven-inning contest at the CSU Softball Field, with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.
Radford 11, Charleston Southern 2 (5 inn.)
Radford took advantage of four Charleston Southern errors in the early game of the doubleheader, scoring nine unearned runs and holding off a late CSU rally as the Buccaneers fell in the series opener to the Highlanders on Saturday afternoon.
Charleston Southern mounted a comeback attempt in the bottom of the fifth inning with Morgan Dowdy and Stephanie Sbardella drilling back-to-back RBI singles in the inning, but Stephanie Dameron ended the CSU rally in closing out the game in favor of the Highlanders.
Jennifer Giles (9-10) suffered the loss inside the circle for the Bucs in the game, going 2.1 innings in allowing four hits and six runs (two earned) in falling to the Highlanders. Cheyenne Gandara closed out the final 2.2 innings inside the circle with six strikeouts while scattering four hits.
Kelsey Weddle (2-6) picked up her second win of the season, throwing two innings of no-hit relief for the Highlanders in support of starter Rachael Walters. Walters went the first two innings, allowing a single to Ari Tedesco in the second inning, while Dameron closed out the action for Radford.
The Highlanders pushed across two runs in the top of the first inning as Kayla Bishton doubled in Jessie Hutchens and Whitney Davis to put Radford ahead 2-0. The Highlanders added a third run in the top of the second as Summer Robinson scored on a CSU throwing error.
Radford did a majority of their damage in the third inning as the Highlanders sent 12 batters to the plate in the frame with Hutchens providing the big blow with a three-run home run to give RU the commanding 11-0 lead.
The Buccaneers battled back in the bottom of the fifth in threatening to send the game into the sixth inning as Dowdy singled in Brooke Holcomb and Sbardella drove in Hayes Holdsworth with two outs, but the comeback attempt fell short in closing out the opening game of the series.
Radford 5, Charleston Southern 4
Natalie Yonan connected on a two-run single and the Buccaneers took advantage of several Radford miscues at the plate to take the early lead over the Highlanders, but CSU was unable to hold RU late in the game as the Bucs fell in the nightcap of the Saturday doubleheader, 5-4.
Charleston Southern put two runners in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh inning against the Highalnders as Stephanie Bergmann and Matsumoto both singled with one out and advanced to second and third on a groundout by Brock. Sbardella worked a 1-2 count against Radford reliever Walters before sending a towering drive down the left field line. However, the drive did not have the distance to clear the fence, settling in the glove of Mackenzie Blackwell to end the contest as the Highlanders held off the Bucs.
Giles (9-11) suffered the loss for CSU on the afternoon, throwing one inning in relief in allowing two runs (none earned). Morgan Dowdy went the first four innings on the afternoon, retiring the first nine batters she faced in allowing three hits and three runs overall on the day. Cheyenne Gandara went the final two innings in perfect relief, striking out three batters.
Abby Morrow (8-4) picked up the win for Radford in going the first four innings, scattering five hits and four runs (one earned) in the victory. Walters closed out the contest on the mound, allowing two hits over the final three innings in picking up her third save of the season.
Charleston Southern struck first on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second. With runners on second and third and two out, Yonan connected on a sharply hit single up the middle to score Ari Tedesco and Holdsworth in putting the Buccaneers ahead 2-0.
Radford took their first lead of the game in the top of the fourth inning as Hutchens singled in Mantel, while Casey Burns brought in Bishton and Hutchens with a base hit in putting the Highlanders up 3-2.
CSU rallied back with two more runs in the fourth inning as the Bucs took advantage of miscommunication between Morrow and Hutchens. Stevi Johnson tied the game at 3-3 with one out in the inning, scoring on a wild pitch that bounced to the backstop. Ari Tedesco followed two pitches later as strike three eluded Hutchens behind the plate, scoring on the play to put the Buccaneers ahead 4-3.
Radford retook the lead in the top of the fifth as Robinson scored on a failed pickoff attempt, while Davis doubled in Mantel to put the score at 5-4 in favor of the Highlanders, setting up the late CSU comeback attempt.