CHARLESTON, S.C. - Marci Christian, Cheyenne Gandara and Georgi DeLio all homered as Charleston Southern split with Winthrop on Friday afternoon at the CSU Softball Field with the Bucs taking the first game 6-1, while falling in the afternoon contest 7-5.
Christian connected on her 16th and 17th home runs of the season to take over the lead from teammate Gandara (16) as both players surpassed the previous CSU single season home run record this afternoon. Gandara connected on a solo shot in the bottom of the fifth inning in the first game, while Christian connected on a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth to secure the Bucs' victory. Christian added a solo shot in the bottom of the fourth to put her back atop the CSU and Big South rankings for the 2015 season.
Jennifer Giles (9-8) picked up the Bucs win in the first contest hurling two innings of shutout relief for CSU. She also picked up the loss in the second game of the doubleheader lasting 2.2 innings while allowing five runs in the second contest.
The series finale between the two teams is set at 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon at the CSU Softball Field. Follow CSUSports.com or the Buccaneers Twitter account: @CSUSports for weather updates about the games this weekend.
Game One: Charleston Southern 6, Winthrop 1
Cheyenne Gandara and Marci Christian both homered for the Buccaneers as CSU slugged their way past the Eagles in the series opener at the CSU Softball Field, 6-1.
Gandara broke the Bucs' single season home run record with her 16th shot of the season in the bottom of the fifth, but Christian kept pace with her teammate in the bottom of the sixth with a grand slam in the bottom of the sixth as the CSU duo continues to lead the Big South in the category. Christian's grand slam was the Bucs fourth of the season and third over the past six games in providing Jennifer Giles all the support she needed inside the circle in recording the victory.
Giles picked up the win after hurling two innings of hitless relief in support of Gandara who came out of the game after the fourth inning. Gandara struck out six over four innings, allowing two hits and one run in the no decision. Hayley Elkins struck out the side in the seventh in hurling a perfect inning to close out the contest.
The Buccaneers took the lead in the bottom of the third inning as Stephanie Baro connected on an RBI single to centerfield and scoring Christian to put CSU ahead 1-0.
The Eagles answered in the top of the fourth as Tara Loken pinch-hit for Winthrop with two outs. She lofted a single to centerfield allowing Maddie Antone to score from third to even the score.
Gandara swung the Bucs back in the lead with a solo shot to open the bottom of the fifth inning.
After Giles retired the side in the top of the sixth, CSU went to work in the bottom half of the inning sending all nine batters to the plate in the frame against WU reliever Sutton Watson (3-6). Taylor Powell led off the inning with a bunt single before the Bucs took advantage of back-to-back fielding miscues by the Eagles as Natalie Yonan and Amanda Matsumoto both reached on muffed throws on sacrifice bunt attempts to load the bases with none out. Christian made Winthrop pay with a grand slam to left field on the 3-2 pitch from Watson to give CSU the 6-1 lead. The Bucs continued to press their advantage as Stevi Johnson and Baro both drew walks before Eagles starter Sara Allen returned to the circle and retired the side.
Elkins struck out the side in the top of the seventh to close out the game.
Game Two: Winthrop 7, Charleston Southern 5
Home runs by Christian and Georgi DeLio were offset by Leah Young and Kelsey Ritter both going deep for the Eagles as Winthrop outlasted Charleston Southern in game two of the doubleheader, 7-5.
The Buccaneers rallied to put two across in the bottom of the seventh to halve the Eagles lead, but Sara Allen (8-6) was able to get Stephanie Bergmann swinging to end the contest and complete the WU victory.
Hayley Elkins kept the Bucs in contention throughout a majority of the contest going 4.1 innings in relief in allowing four hits, two runs (one earned), while striking out six. Giles (9-8) took the loss after allowing five runs in 2.2 innings.
Ritter homered to open the top of the second for the first run of the game and the Eagles pushed four runs across in the third to take a 5-0 lead early. In the top of the third, Haley Zuehlke connected on a two-run single, while Ritter drew an RBI walk. Young was also hit by a pitch with the bases loaded during the frame to spot the Eagles to the five-run lead.
DeLio took one back for the Bucs in the bottom of the third with a leadoff solo home run to left field off of Winthrop starter Dallas King. The blast was her fourth of the season to put the score 5-1.
The Eagles added another run in the top of the fourth on a RBI single from K.J. Uyeno to stretch the lead back to 6-1.
CSU halved the damage in the bottom of the fourth as Christian led off the frame with a solo shot to straightaway centerfield, her 17th of the season. Two batters later Baro connected on a double to right field, scoring on Bergmann's RBI single to put the score 6-3 after four innings of play.
Both teams threatened to score in the fifth, but Allen and Elkins pitched around trouble respectively.
Winthrop tallied their final run in the top of the seventh on Young's solo home run down the left field line to open the inning, putting the lead at 7-3.
The Bucs were able to narrow the margin down to 7-5 with two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Stevi Johnson doubled in Matsumoto and came around to score on Baro's single to right center before Allen closed out the contest.
Johnson's double was her team-leading eighth of the season, while Brooke Lein went 2-for-2 from the plate in the contest with a pair of singles after pinch-hitting in the fourth inning.