BUIES CREEK, N.C. - Brooke Lein connected on the go-ahead two-run shot with two outs in the top of the seventh and Charleston Southern survived a bases-loaded jam in the bottom half of the frame in completing the Big South series sweep against Campbell with the 8-7 victory on Wednesday afternoon.
With the Bucs down to their final out in the game, Lein came through on the 1-0 pitch from Campbell reliever Julie Callicutt (8-6), driving the ball over the fence in left centerfield scoring Stephanie Bergmann to give CSU the one run advantage. The Bucs were in position to go ahead in the contest when Stevi Johnson scored on a wild pitch earlier in the seventh to pull CSU back within one.
Campbell rallied in the bottom of the inning against CSU reliever Jennifer Giles (8-7) as the Camels loaded the bases on three walks before Stephanie Jones' grounder was fielded by Stephanie Baro at third with the CSU freshman tagging the base for the force to end the game and seal the CSU win.
Charleston Southern jumped out to the early lead in the game scoring four runs over the first two innings, but it was nearly all undone by a six-run rally by the Camels in the bottom of the fifth. Campbell sent 11 batters to the plate with Jones and Camise Patterson both connecting on home runs to give the Camels their first lead of the weekend, but CSU kept their composure in rallying back and completing their first Big South sweep of the season.
CSU improved to 24-15, 6-3 in Big South play on the year with the victory, while Campbell falls to 19-18, 2-9 in conference action.
Johnson connected on her third home run of the season for the Bucs as CSU wrapped up the series with six home runs over the three game stretch. Johnson's and Lein's homers gave the Bucs 14 home runs over their past six road games as the CSU closes out the trip with a 4-2 record.
Johnson went a team-best 3-for-3 from the plate and scored three runs in the contest, while Lein's two RBI gave her the team-high in the category on the day.
Giles celebrated her 22nd birthday with the victory inside the circle as the senior right-hander went the final three innings of the contest in allowing five hits and three runs while striking out two. Gandara went the first four innings before getting pulled, allowing four runs (three earned), while striking out two.
CSU jumped ahead early over the Camels with three runs in the top of the first as Gandara drove in Matsumoto with an RBI single. The first eight Bucs in the lineup reached base in the inning against Campbell starter Katie Baker with Baro drawing a bases-loaded walk scoring Marci Christian, while Georgi DeLio brought in Johnson on a fielder's choice to give CSU the 3-0 lead.
Gandara came around to score in the top of the second as the Camels' attempt to turn the double play saw the catcher's throw sail into left field, allowing her to score and give the Bucs the 4-0 advantage.
Campbell took one back in the bottom of the fourth as Chandler Patterson drove in Kerstine Womack with an RBI single.
Johnson led off the top of the fifth for the Bucs with a solo home run, but the fireworks were on in the bottom half of the frame as Campbell sent 11 batters to the plate in taking the 7-5 lead. Six runs came across the plate in the inning with Ericka Nesbitt driving in a pair with a double, while Johnson and Camise Patterson both homered for the home team.
In their final at-bats, Johnson coaxed a full-count walk to open the frame. Baro singled to right advancing her to second before a Bergmann fielder's choice put runners at the corners with one out. Johnson scored on a wild pitch during McPherson's at-bat, but Callicutt recovered to get the CSU batter on a grounder back up the middle for the second out.
After taking the first pitch, Lein drilled the pitch from Callicutt over the left centerfield fence to put CSU ahead 8-7 and giving the Bucs the momentum heading into the bottom of the frame.
Chandler Patterson, Karsen Leonhardt and Nesbitt all drew walks in the inning to load the bases, but Giles pitched her way out of trouble with the game-ending grounder to third to close out the contest.
CSU returns home to the Buccaneer Softball Field this weekend as the Bucs host Winthrop in Big South Conference action with a three-game series on Friday and Saturday. First pitch of the series opener on Friday is set for 3 p.m., while Saturday's doubleheader is slated to begin at 1 p.m.