BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Home runs carried the Charleston Southern offense past Campbell on Tuesday afternoon in both ends of the doubleheader, while strong pitching performances from Cheyenne Gandara and Jennifer Giles helped the Bucs sweep the Camels on the first day of the series winning 4-2 and 4-2.
The pair of wins gave the series victory to CSU at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium. The Bucs and Camels return for the series finale tomorrow afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m.
Marci Christian and Cheyenne Gandara each tied the CSU single season home run record on Tuesday afternoon, while Natalie Yonan connected on the go-ahead two-run home run in game two to propel the Bucs past the Camels as CSU improves to 23-15, 5-3 in Big South play on the year.
Game One: Charleston Southern 4, Campbell 2
Marci Christian and Cheyenne Gandara connected on back-to-bac k solo home runs and Stephanie Baro had a two-run single as CSU topped Campbell in the series opener on Tuesday afternoon, 4-2.
Gandara tied the CSU single season home run record in the game and it was the third time this season the sophomore pitcher had been involved in back-to-back home runs on the season as she connected on her 15th blast of the season. The home run tied the record set by Christian in the 2013 season.
Gandara (14-8) hurled a complete game inside the circle for the Bucs in scattering seven hits and two runs while striking out six in the victory.
Charleston Southern placed the leadoff batter on base in all seven innings, but was only able to take advantage of the fact in the first and third innings in taking the opening conference win at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium.
Amanda Matsumoto led off the game reaching on an error and advanced to third on Christian's double to the wall in left field to put runners in scoring position with none out. Two batters later, Baro connected on the shallow single to left field with both runners scoring as Christian knocked the ball out of the catcher's mitt on the play at the plate to put the Bucs ahead 2-0.
Chandler Patterson took one back for the Camels in the bottom of the second as she scored on Kerstine Womack's two-out single to left center.
The Bucs wasted little time in adding to their lead in the top of the third off of Campbell starter Katie Baker (10-10) as Christian led off the frame with her 14th home run of the season with a shot over the left field fence. Gandara followed with a blast in almost the exact same place to put the Bucs ahead 4-1.
Campbell battled back in the fourth as Baker singled in Brittany Bruce with two outs in the frame, but Gandara pitched out of trouble in the frame to keep the Bucs ahead.
CSU put runners on base in every frame the rest of the way, but the Bucs were unable to add to their lead in closing out the first game of the series.
Christian went 2-for-4 in the game with the double and home run, while Stephanie Baro went 2-for-4 with a pair of singles to lead the Bucs bats in the contest.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 4, Campbell 2
Natalie Yonan connected on the go-ahead two-run home run in the top of the fifth inning in support of a complete game effort inside the circle by Jennifer Giles as the Bucs completed the Tuesday sweep over the Camels with the 4-2 victory.
Marci Christian tied Cheyenne Gandara with a two-run home run in the top of the fourth for her 15th homer of the season. Christian's blast tied the CSU single season home run record set by herself back in the 2013 season and equals Gandara's season total to date as the Bucs duo sits atop the Big South leaderboard on the year.
Yonan's two-run shot was her second collegiate home run and first of the season and came with two outs in the top of the fifth scoring Brook Richardson for the go-ahead blast against Campbell starter Julia Callicutt (8-5). The homer, her first since her freshman year on May 4, 2013 against Presbyterian, was all the support Giles needed in closing out her eighth complete game of the season.
Giles (7-7) went the distance against the Camels scattering four hits while striking out six in the victory. She retired six of the last seven batters in clinching the Big South series victory.
Brittany Bruce put the first runs across the plate in the bottom of the third inning with a two-run shot to straightaway centerfield scoring Stephanie Jones to put the Camels up 2-0.
Christian answered for the Bucs in the top of the fourth inning with her second home run of the day, driving the ball over the left field fence to tie the game up. Amanda Matsumoto scored on the drive after reaching on a bunt single.
The Bucs went ahead for good in the top of the fifth as Yonan crushed the first pitch from Callicutt over the left field fence for her first home run of the season, scoring Richardson to put CSU ahead 4-2. Yonan's blast made her the 10th CSU player to go deep in the 2015 season.
Giles allowed only one runner past second base the rest of the way as Bruce reached on a single and stole second in the bottom of the sixth on her way to closing the CSU victory.