CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern topped IPFW twice on the final day of the Willie Jewell's Invitational at CSU on their way to finishing with a 3-0 record overall on the opening weekend of the tournament.
The Bucs topped IPFW in the early game on the day, 9-4, as CSU and the Mastodons completed their suspended game from Friday night. CSU held off a late IPFW rally in their second matchup of the day in recording the 3-2 win behind freshman outfielder Jade Gandara's first collegiate home run.
CSU's final game of the tournament against Georgetown was called in the bottom of the first inning due to nightfall at the field. The game will not be rescheduled.
Charleston Southern continues their tournament slate next weekend with the CSU Invitational at the CSU Softball Field. The Bucs will host Boston, Western Carolina and North Carolina A&T from February 19-21.
Game One: Charleston Southern 9, IPFW 4
The Buccaneers held the 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning when the game was called on Friday night due to nightfall. When play resumed on Saturday morning, Stephanie Baro made the wait worthwhile as the sophomore first baseman connected on a three-run home run in her first at-bat of the day to spark CSU to the 9-4 win over the Mastodons.
Arizona Pilgrim recorded the win in the contest going the final four innings for her first collegiate victory in the circle. The freshman right-hander allowed three hits and three runs, striking out two in the win.
Baro and Stephanie Bergmann led the Bucs with two hits apiece in the game, while Brittany McPherson connected on her first double of the season to pace the CSU offense in the contest. Cierra Robinson added a late two-RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to provide insurance to the Bucs' lead.
IPFW scored first off of CSU starter Nicole Ayala as Sierra Miranda connected on a double to centerfield, advancing to third as Amber Davis was thrown out trying to score. Jessica Murray followed with a sacrifice fly, bringing Miranda home for the first run of the game.
The Bucs answered in the bottom half of the inning with McPherson connecting on a two-out double scoring Sydney Garling to tie the game up at 1-1. Back-to-back infield singles by Natalie Yonan and Amanda Matsumoto loaded the bases, before McPherson crossed the plate on a wild pitch from IPFW's Demitria Burns to put the Bucs ahead.
Another wild pitch in the bottom of the third inning scored Bergmann to give CSU the 3-1 lead for the final score before game was suspended.
The Bucs sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the fourth inning with Baro's three-run blast and Jade Gandara's RBI single highlighting the scoring as CSU built a six-run lead after four innings.
IPFW rallied back with three unearned runs in the top of the sixth, taking advantage of two CSU errors to narrow the Bucs' lead down to 7-4. Miranda, Caitlyn DeLong and Murray all scored in the inning with the latter two coming across on Lauren Watson's fielder's choice.
Robinson answered for the Bucs in the bottom half of the inning as the sophomore outfielder punched a 2-0 offering into left centerfield scoring Caitlyn Emberson and Bergmann for the final runs of the game.
Pilgrim retired the side in order in the top of the seventh to close out the Bucs' win.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 3, IPFW 2
Jade Gandara connected on a solo home run in the bottom of the third and the Buccaneers' pitching staff combined to shutdown the Mastodons' offense throughout the game as CSU recorded their second win of the day over IPFW.
Pilgrim recorded her second win of the day as the freshman right-hander went the first three innings, allowing four hits while striking out one in the win. Ayala followed with two no-hit innings, facing one batter over the minimum, before Hayley Elkins closed out the final two innings, striking out two for her first save of the game.
After Pilgrim set IPFW down in order in the top of the first, Stevi Johnson put CSU on the board with an RBI single scoring Amanda Matsumoto for the first run of the game. Bergmann followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Gandara to stake the Bucs to the early 2-0 lead.
Gandara added to the CSU lead in the bottom of the third, leading off the inning with a solo home run to left center to give the Bucs the 3-0 lead.
IPFW rallied back with two runs in the top of the sixth off Elkins with Emily Olszewski scoring on Kelly Pevely's single to right field. Pevely came around to score later in the inning on DeLong's fielder's choice to pull the Mastodons back within one with two outs. However, Elkins stopped the IPFW rally by retiring Miranda on strikes to end the inning and IPFW's final threat.