SB Preview: Bucs travel west on their longest road trip of the season this weekend

SB Preview: Bucs travel west on their longest road trip of the season this weekend

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern begins their West Coast swing this weekend as the Buccaneers travel to UC Santa Barbara on Thursday afternoon for a 4 p.m. (EST) start time against the Gauchos in a doubleheader, while taking on Nebraska, DePaul, Boise State and Cal State Fullerton at the Easton Tournament on Friday and Saturday.

This is the fourth straight year the Bucs have made the trip out to the Golden State under head coach Shane Winkler, and with the Bucs featuring seven players from California on the 2015 roster.

Easton Tournament Schedule

Charleston Southern will enter their Thursday contest with the Gauchos having won seven of their last eight games including Tuesday afternoon's doubleheader sweep over Youngstown State and will look to several of the nation's leading power-hitters to help the Bucs against their competition.

Marci Christian continues to sit atop the nation leaderboard with 12 home runs on the season, while sophomore Cheyenne Gandara enters the weekend with 10 home runs. The Buccaneers' duo is the only pair of teammates who have reached the double-digits mark this season.

The road trip will end against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday night, before the Bucs return home to the CSU Softball Field to open Big South Conference play on March 21-22 against Gardner-Webb.

California Connection...
Charleston Southern's roster again boasts a number of players from the Golden State as CSU currently fields seven players on their roster that call the West Coast home. In addition, Georgi DeLio hails from Las Vegas, Nev. as nearly half of the Bucs roster comes from the Pacific Standard Time Zone.

• Susanville: Natalie Yonan • Riverside: Brooke Lein • Hesperia: Stephanie Bergmann • Hemet: Cheyenne Gandara • Norco: Brittany McPherson • La Mirada: Stephanie Baro • Visalia: Stevi Johnson

California Dreaming...
Charleston Southern heads west for the fourth straight season this weekend as the Bucs take on UC Santa Barbara in a doubleheader on Thursday, before traveling to the Easton Tournament hosted by Cal State Fullerton on March 13-14.

• The Bucs began their trips out west in the 2012 season at the Long Beach State Invitational where the Bucs went 1-4 with a 5-2 win over Notre Dame.
• Long Beach State was again the host of CSU's 2013 trip west with the Bucs topping Bethune-Cookman in the tournament finale, 9-6.
• 2014 saw the Bucs at the UCLA/CSUN Invitational with Cheyenne Gandara carrying a no-hitter into the 4th inning against No. 3 UCLA, while the Bucs topped Northridge 2-1 in the tournament finale.
• This season has CSU taking on Nebraska, DePaul, Boise State and Cal State Fullerton at the Easton Tournament.

Going, Going...Gone...
Seven different CSU players have connected on home runs this season led by Marci Christian's 12 blasts, while Cheyenne Gandara has gone deep 10 times this year. Three different players have also connected on their first collegiate home runs of their career this year.

• Stephanie Baro (2): First collegiate HR vs. Ohio State, Feb. 8
• Marci Christian (12): First HR of the season vs. S. Illinois, Feb. 7
• Georgi DeLio (2): First HR of the season vs. Ohio State, Feb. 8
• Cheyenne Gandara (10): First collegiate HR vs. Ohio State, Feb. 8
• Stevi Johnson (1): First HR of the season vs. Tennessee Tech, Feb. 22
• Brooke Lein (1): First collegiate HR vs. N.C. A&T, Feb. 20
• Brittany McPherson (1): First collegiate HR vs. Marshall, Feb. 28

Buccaneers against Ranked Opponents...
Charleston Southern is 0-1 this season against opponents ranked in the top 25 in the ESPN.com/ USA Softball Poll and USA Today/NFCA Coaches Poll, falling in their only matchup of the season against #24/24 South Alabama at the Carolina Classic.

• The Bucs fell to the Jaguars 3-2 as South Alabama took advantage of a walk-off single to defeat CSU in the first game of the tournament.
• CSU went 0-5 last season against the Top 25 in the polls, falling to #3 Florida State, #2 UCLA, #21/14 USC Upstate (twice) and #10 Tennessee.
• The last time the Bucs defeated a ranked team came back in the 2010 season when CSU defeated #15 Louisville, 9-4, at the Buccaneer Invitational on February 20.

Big South Preseason Poll...
One year after winning the Big South Conference Championships, Charleston Southern was selected fourth overall in the Big South Conference Coaches' Preseason Poll, as announced before the start of the 2015 season.

• The Bucs received one first place vote and 51 votes overall in the poll, finishing behind defending regular season champion Coastal Carolina, Longwood and Campbell.
• Coastal Carolina, the team the Bucs beat last season in the Big South Championship Game, received five first place votes and 77 points to be selected first overall.
• Coastal Carolina pitcher Kiana Quolas was selected the Preseason Pitcher of the Year, while Longwood slugger Megan Baltzell was selected Preseason Player of the Year.

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