CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern opens up Big South Conference play this weekend hosting Gardner-Webb in a three-game series at the CSU Softball Field on Friday and Saturday afternoon. First pitch in the Friday opener is set for 4 p.m., while the Bucs will host GWU on Saturday in a doubleheader at 1 p.m.
The original series was scheduled for Saturday-Sunday, but due to threat of rain in the Charleston area on Sunday afternoon, the contest was moved up to Friday afternoon. Saturday's doubleheader will be featured on the Big South Network with John Peters and Hayes Holdsworth calling the action on the field.
Charleston Southern took both contests on the road in Boiling Springs, N.C. last season against the Runnin' Bulldogs. The Buccaneers are one of the last two Big South teams who will open conference play this weekend in hosting GWU, while Winthrop hosts Longwood to open conference play.
The Bucs went 2-4 last weekend in their West Coast swing traveling to UC Santa Barbara and participating in the Easton Tournament with wins over DePaul and Boise State. CSU leads the Big South with 18 wins overall on the season.
Winkler Against Gardner-Webb...
Head Coach Shane Winkler is 10-12 all-time against Gardner-Webb entering this weekend's series against the Runnin' Bulldogs.
The Bucs took both games against the Runnin' Bulldogs last season in Boiling Springs, winning 5-0 and 2-1.
At home under Winkler, the Bucs are 4-5 at the CSU Softball Field with their only home series win coming in 2009 on April 17-18.
Cheyenne Gandara hurled a complete game shutout at Varsity Field last season with an eight-hitter while striking out nine in the win.
Winkler against the Big South...
The Buccaneers are 53-68 against the Big South Conference all-time under Winkler including winning the 2014 Big South Championships. The Bucs also advanced to the 2012 Big South Championship Game.
CSU leads the all-time series against Winthrop and Presbyterian, while sitting tied overall against Campbell.
The Buccaneers hold the all-time series lead over the Eagles, 12-9.
CSU leads the all-time series against Presbyterian dating back to the 2009 season, 17-6.
CSU is tied with Campbell overall, 8-8-1, with the lone tie against the Camels coming on February 16, 2010, 2-2.
CSU took series wins from Winthrop, Liberty and Gardner-Webb last season in Big South play with all three occuring on the road.
Scouting the Runnin' Bulldogs...
Gardner-Webb enters the weekend matchup with a 7-13 record overall and are coming off of their first two Big South Conference matchups having taken on both Liberty and Presbyterian.
Gardner-Webb dropped two of three contests at home against the Flames this past weekend, winning the series finale, 10-8, while falling in the Saturday doubleheader, 3-1 and 8-4.
The Runnin' Bulldogs were selected ninth overall in the Big South preseason poll after receiving 14 points.
Rachel Cumiskey leads the GWU offense on the season with a .424 batting average with 25 hits and 16 runs scored. She also has three doubles and a pair of triples, as well as sitting second the team with three home runs.
Summer Darnell has seen action in 16 games with 11 starts while posting a 5-4 overall record. She also has a 4.57 ERA with 25 strikeouts in her career.
Home Again, Home Again...
The Buccaneers have accumulated an impressive 15-5 record at home this season at the CSU Softball Field. The 15 wins have equaled their total from last season with the Bucs posting a 15-16-1 overall record in 2014. Among the home highlights so far this season:
Amanda Matsumoto is hitting a team-best .452 from the plate with 28 hits and 22 runs scored. She also is a perfect 9-9 in stolen base attempts.
Cheyenne Gandara is hitting .429 with 24 hits and 22 RBI from the plate. Inside the circle she has posted a 10-3 record with 91 strikeouts in 70.2 innings.
Marci Christian has connected on a team-high 11 home runs with a 1.059 slugging percentage ate CSU. She has a team-best 24 RBI at home.
Natalie Yonan (.389) is tied for the team lead with four doubles at home on the season including three against Youngstown State on March 10.
Jennifer Giles has posted a 4-2 record at home with four complete games and a shutout win over UMBC in her season debut on Feb. 7.
The Last Five Games...
A lot can be told about a player and a team's last five games. The Bucs lineup is no exception with several players starting to surge and bring their averages and ERAs back in line with their career norms over the past five games.
Amanda Matsumoto has led the Bucs offense over the past five games with a .429 batting average, six hits and two stolen bases.
Brooke Lein connected on a pair of RBI doubles against UC Santa Barbara to bring her season total to three on the year.
Cheyenne Gandara scored a team-high three runs over the past five games with five hits and a solo home run against Nebraska.
Stephanie Baro connected on the game-winning home run against Boise State, drilling a two-run shot in the bottom of the sixth against the Broncos.
The Bucs pitching staff has struggled over the past five games combining for 20 strikeouts and a 4.59 ERA with wins over DePaul and Boise State. Cheyenne Gandara and Jennifer Giles both have wins for CSU on the week.
Big South Choice Hotels Player of the Week (Twice)...
Marci Christian has earned Big South Player of the Week honors twice this season taking the accolades for the week of February 16-22 and March 2-8.
In February, Christian led the Bucs to a 4-1 record on the week with four home runs, six runs scored and eight RBI. She connected on a pair of home runs in CSU's 9-1 win over North Carolina A&T on February 21. She added a second multi-home run game that weekend with two shots in the Bucs' 8-5 win over Tennessee Tech on February 22.
In March, Christian again led the Bucs to a 4-1 record with four more home runs including the game-winners against Loyola Chicago and Jacksonville State. She added eight RBI and five runs scored in the games.
Big South The CRONS Brand Pitcher of the Week (3 Times)...
Sophomore right-hander Cheyenne Gandara has taken home Pitcher of the Week accolades from the Big South office for her performances during the February 16-22, March 2-8 and March 10-16 weeks.
In February, Gandara recorded her first two collegiate 10-strikeout performances on the weekend against North Carolina A&T and Tennessee Tech. She finished the week with a 2-1 record and a 1.94 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 18 innings. Gandara closed out the weekend with a save in CSU's 8-5 win over the TTU Golden Eagles.
March 2-8 saw Gandara go a perfect 3-0 on the week, striking out 23 batters in 19 innings. She finished the weekend with a 0.00 ERA, including a complete game shutout against Iowa.
March 10-16 saw her win for the third time as she went 3-2 on the week with wins over Youngstown State (2) and Boise State. She added 32 strikeouts and a 2.69 ERA on the week.