Bergmann's clutch hitting leads Charleston Southern to pair of wins on first day of CSU Invitational

Bergmann's clutch hitting leads Charleston Southern to pair of wins on first day of CSU Invitational

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Stephanie Bergmann drove in the winning run with a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh against Western Carolina to cap a pair of Charleston Southern wins on the first day of the CSU Invitational as the Bucs topped the Catamounts on Friday afternoon, 5-4. The Bucs topped Boston University in their first game of the afternoon, 6-3.

Hayley Elkins (3-0) picked up wins in both games as the sophomore right-hander pitched 12.0 innings on the day, including a complete game win in the late game against the Catamounts to lead the Bucs in the circle.

"We told Hayley going into the day that we're going to see what she's got," said CSU head coach Shane Winkler. "We know we're dealing with some injuries on our staff and we're giving her the chance to be our number one in the circle. That's why she got two starts today. The key was jumping out in front like we did in game one, and let her do her thing and keep us in the ball game."

Bergmann continues her hot start at the plate for the Buccaneers as the junior shortstop connected on a three-run home run in the first inning against Boston, before connecting on the game-winning single driving in Stevi Johnson in the late game. For the day, Bergmann went 3-for-7 from the plate with four RBI and two runs scored. She has hit safely in all five of the Bucs' games in the 2016 season.

"Bergmann was big for us today," Winkler said. "We knew coming into the season with her being healthy, she was going to be a completely different player than last year. As a team, we talked about hitting in hitter's counts and being aggressive in hitters counts. Game one Bergmann and Jade Gandara both ran into one in a hitter's count and it paid off. In the seventh inning in game two,  that was just each of our hitter's battling."

Gandara connected on her team-leading second home run of the season with a two-run shot against Boston University in the first game. Stephanie Baro added three hits and three runs over the two games in the CSU wins.

The Bucs return to the field tomorrow afternoon as CSU takes on Western Carolina at 1 p.m. and North Carolina A&T at 3 p.m.

Game One: Charleston Southern 6, Boston 3
The Buccaneers utilized home runs from Bergmann and Gandara to power their way over Boston in CSU's first game of the CSU Invitational, 6-3.

Elkins scattered five hits and two runs over five innings' work against the Terriers, while Nicole Ayala pitched the final two innings inside the circle to close out the CSU win.

Boston struck first in the top of the first inning as Brittany Younan never stopped running on Alex Heinen's single to right center. Younan scored from first on the play to give the Terrier's the early 1-0 lead.

The Bucs responded in the bottom half of the inning as Bergmann turned on the offering from Boston's Melanie Russell (0-1), driving the ball over the right field fence to score Gandara and Baro to give CSU the 3-1 lead.

Cierra Robinson scored the Bucs' fourth run of the game as the sophomore scored on Natalie Yonan's fielder's choice in the bottom of the second inning. Robinson, pinch-running for Georgi DeLio, stole second base and was sacrificed to third before Yonan brought her in with a bunt.

The Terriers took one back in the top of the third as Emily Morrow connected on a one-out single scoring Moriah Connolly.

CSU added their final runs of the game in the bottom of the fifth on Gandara's two-run shot over the right field fence, scoring Amanda Matsumoto.

Boston added a late run in the top of the seventh as Gabi Martinez connected on a one-out solo home run off of Ayala, but the CSU sophomore kept the Terriers in check in closing out the game.

Game Two: Charleston Southern 5, Western Carolina 4
The Buccaneers took advantage of a Western Carolina error in the bottom of the seventh inning and Stephanie Bergmann drilled the walk-off single to centerfield to cap the CSU comeback in the Bucs' 5-4 win over the Catamounts.

Baro led off the CSU comeback attempt with a double down the left field line off of WCU reliever Taylor Sigmon (2-1). Stevi Johnson followed with a sharp single up the middle with the ball bouncing off the Catamounts centerfielder's glove and rolling to the wall, allowing Baro to score. Johnson ended at third base on the play bringing Bergmann to the plate.

Following a pitching change, Bergmann singled drilled a 1-2 pitch back up the middle for the walk-off single scoring Johnson to end the Bucs' win.

Elkins went the distance for CSU in the game, allowing nine hits and four runs while striking out five in the complete game victory.

The Bucs struck first on the scoreboard as CSU plated two runs in the bottom of the second inning as Lexie Vanada connected on an RBI double down the left field line scoring Bergmann. Georgi DeLio followed with an RBI single scoring Sydney Garling off of WCU starter Courtney Buchanan to give the Bucs the 2-0 lead.

Western Carolina tied the game up in the top of the fifth. Karley Harkey scored on a wild pitch to put the Catamounts on the board, and Anna Hughey scored on Crystal Cyr's infield single to tie the game up at 2-2.

Johnson put the Bucs back in the lead in the bottom half of the inning with an RBI single scoring Baro, but the CSU lead was short-lived as WCU's Hunter Gibbons connected on a two-run home run in the top of the sixth to give the Catamounts their first lead of the game.

The Bucs loaded the bases in the bottom of the sixth, but Sigmon shut the CSU offense down in the frame.

Elkins retired the side in the top of the seventh, paving way for the CSU comeback.

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