CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern begins the fourth weekend of the 2015 season as the Buccaneers make their first road trip of the year to Columbia, S.C. for the Carolina Classic. This week's tournament field features South Alabama, South Carolina, Marshall and Tennessee State with the Bucs taking on South Alabama in their opener at 3 p.m.
Last weekend CSU went 4-1 at the Willie Jewell's Invitational at CSU with the Bucs topping North Carolina A&T (twice), UNC Wilmington and Tennessee Tech. Marci Christian connected on a pair of home runs twice on the weekend in leading the Bucs to wins over N.C. A&T and Tennessee Tech, while Cheyenne Gandara had a pair of 10 strikeout games. The duo swept the Big South Player and Pitcher of the Week honors for their performances.
This is one of two road tournaments for the Bucs this season as CSU is also on the road at the Easton Tournament hosted by Cal State Fullerton from March 13-14.
Winkler Against the Tournament Field...
Head Coach Shane Winkler is 2-6 all-time against the CSU Tournament Field this weekend as the Bucs' head coach enters his seventh season in the dugout with CSU. Winkler and the Bucs have topped both Marshall and South Carolina in Winkler's tenure with both wins occurring in the 2012 season. The Bucs fell in their only contest against South Alabama in 2010.
Feb. 27, 2010 vs. South Alabama L, 3-8
Feb. 11, 2011 at South Carolina L, 6-10
Apr. 5, 2011 at South Carolina L, 4-12
Feb.17, 2012 vs. Marshall W, 3-2
Feb. 28, 2012 at South Carolina W, 2-0
at South Carolina L, 2-11
Feb. 24, 2013 vs. South Carolina L, 3-17
Apr. 1, 2014 at South Carolina L, 1-9
Charleston Southern Last Week...
*Cheyenne Gandara and Marci Christian earned Big South Conference Pitcher and Player of the Week honors this past week following their performance at the Willie Jewell's Invitational at CSU
*Taylor Powell connected on the walk-off double in CSU's 9-1 win over North Carolina A&T on Saturday afternoon.
*Amanda Matsumoto used her speed to record a team-best four stolen bases on the weekend.
*Marci Christian connected on four home runs over the weekend to raise her season total to seven on the year.
*Cheyenne Gandara recorded her first collegiate double-digits strikeout performance on Saturday afternoon, retiring 10 batters on strikes against North Carolina A&T. She followed that up with another dominant performance, retiring 10 more batters on strikes against Tennessee Tech on Sunday afternoon. She leads the Bucs with 55 strikeouts on the season
*Stevi Johnson broke out in a big way this weekend, batting .500 with six hits, six runs scored and her first home run of the 2015 season.
Scouting South Alabama...
*South Alabama is the lone ranked team in this weekend's tournament as the Jaguars enter the Carolina Classic ranked #24 in both the USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll and the ESPN.com/USA Softball Poll
*The Jaguars have posted wins over several opponents familiar to CSU already this season, topping Big South rival Liberty at the Sand Dollar Classic and Lipscomb, the team that eliminated the Bucs from the 2014 Knoxvile Regional of the NCAA Tournament
*Stephanie Pilkington leads the South Alabama hitting efforts on the season, connecting at a .472 rate on teh year with 11 RBI, 11 runs and four doubles
*Kalen McGill and Devon Brown have both posted five wins already for the Jaguars this season inside the circle. McGill has a team-low 1.75 ERA, while Brown had 97 strikeouts in 49.0 innings pitched.
Scouting South Carolina...
*South Carolina and CSU have faced off against each other the most in this tournament field with the Gamecocks holding the 5-1 advantage in the series
*The Gamecocks have topped two members of the Big South Conference this season already, defeating Longwood (twice) and Presbyterian. USC has also topped CSU's local rival College of Charleston two weeks ago at the Gamecock Invitational
*Alaynie Page leads the USC efforts from the plate at the season with a .471 batting average with six home runs, 22 RBI and 17 runs scored
*Nickie Blue is the ace on the staff for the Gamecocks this season with a 6-1 overall record and a 0.95 ERA in 58.1 innings pitched.
*Marshall also enters the weekend with 11 wins to their total after winning their first six games of the season.
*The Thundering Herd have faced off against one of CSU's rivals already this season, topping the College of Charleston in the season opening Charleston Challenge on February 6th
*Morgan Zerkle leads two Marshall players hitting over .400 on the season with a .569 batting average on the year. She is the team leader with 22 runs scored and 29 hits on the year while going 20-for-21 in stolen base attempts.
*Jordan Dixon remains the ace inside the circle for the Thundering Herd with 14 appearances and a 10-3 record overall on the season. She has posted a 2.97 ERA with 114 strikeouts in 78.2 innings pitched.
Scouting Tennessee State...
*Tennessee State enters the weekend as the only team that has posted a losing record on the season with a 3-4 overall record after the snowing out of last weekend's Tiger Classic in Nashville, Tenn.
*CSU has already taken on a member of the Ohio Valley Conference this season, splitting their series against Tennessee Tech at last weekend's Willie Jewell's Invitational at CSU
*Tayler Shimizu leads the hitting efforts for the Tigers on the season with a .368 batting average with seven hits and two doubles
*Taylor Green remains undefeated inside the circle for Tennessee State on the season with a 3-0 record with a 4.11 ERA
Winkler against the Sun Belt Conference...
The Buccaneers are 1-7 against the Sun Belt Conference over the past seven years under head coach Shane Winkler. Winkler has faced off against Appalachian State (0-4), Georgia Southern (1-2) and South Alabama (0-1). Last season the Bucs took on Appalachian State twice, falling to the Mountainer in both contests.
March 1, 2014 vs. Appalachian State L, 2-3
vs. Appalachian State L, 0-1
Winkler against the Conference USA...
The Buccaneers are 1-0 against the Conference USA under Winkler, facing only Marshall in Winkler's seven-year tenure at CSU. The Bucs won their only contest against the Thundering Herd back in 2012, 3-2.
Feb.17, 2012 vs. Marshall W, 3-2
Winkler against the Ohio Valley Conference...
The Buccaneers are 3-5 against the Ohio Valley Conference over the past seven years under head coach Shane Winkler. Winkler has faced off against Belmont (0-2), Eastern Illinois (1-0), Jacksonville State (1-2) and Tennessee Tech (1-1). The Bucs took on Tennessee Tech this past weekend at the Willie Jewell's Invitational at CSU, splitting a doubleheader against the Golden Eagles.
Feb. 22, 2015 vs. Tennessee Tech L, 4-6
vs. Tennessee Tech W, 8-5
Winkler against the Southeastern Conference...
The Buccaneers are 1-11 against the Southeastern Conference over the past seven years under head coach Shane Winkler. Over his seven years, Winkler has faced off against Florida (0-1), Georgia (0-1), Mississippi State (0-1), South Carolina (1-5) and Tennessee (0-3). Last season the Bucs fell to South Carolina in the regular season and Tennessee in the NCAA Regional tournament.
Apr. 1, 2014 at South Carolina L, 1-9
May 16, 2014 at #9 Tennessee L, 3-12
CSU Schedule in the Carolina Classic...
Charleston Southern open the weekend on Friday against South Alabama and South Carolina, while taking on Marshall and Tennessee State on Saturday afternoon. The Bucs torunament schedule at the Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field:
Feb. 27, 2015 vs. South Alabama 3 p.m.
at South Carolina 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 28, 2015 vs. Marshall 12:30 p.m.
vs. Tennessee State 5:30 p.m.