CHARLESTON, S.C. - Georgi DeLio connected on a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to cap off a Buccaneer rally as Charleston Southern topped North Carolina A&T on Sunday afternoon in the final game of the CSU Invitational, 10-2.
The Bucs (7-1) broke open a 1-1 ball game in the bottom of the third, scoring five runs in support of CSU starter Nicole Ayala (1-0) on their way run-ruling the Aggies on Sunday afternoon. Ayala went the first four innings in picking up her first win of the 2016 season, allowing four hits and striking out two in the victory.
CSU's win capped off a 4-1 weekend at the CSU Invitational as the Bucs topped Boston, Western Carolina and N.C. A&T (twice) in their second home tournament of the 2016 season.
"We knew coming into the season where we have 15 straight games at home that we have an opportunity to get off to a good start," said CSU head coach Shane Winkler. "Being 7-1, overall, we're very pleased about where we're at. Today's game in finishing off the weekend; we had nine different players get hits. Everyone got involved; all three of our pitchers saw time and it was nice to get a team win."
Several Buccaneers picked up their first hit of the season on the afternoon, including Hayley Elkins and freshman Lexi Thompson. Thompson connected on an RBI double in the bottom of the fifth to give the Bucs the 8-1 lead.
"It's nice getting everybody time," Winkler said. "We work extremely hard as a program. Those kids come to work every single day, so it's nice to get everybody involved and at-bats. It gives you opportunities to see moments like that (Thompson's double)."
DeLio's home run was one of four extra-base hits for the Bucs on the afternoon. The junior catcher is ended the weekend reaching base in each of her last seven at-bats covering the final four games of the weekend.
"Georgi's been seeing the ball really well," Winkler commented. "Her on-base percentage over the first eight games is out of this world. She's been getting on with walks and not chasing pitches. We knew, with her power, it was just a matter of time before she ran into one. She's been swinging it well, and we've been swinging it well up and down the lineup with our offense."
Similar to their contest on Saturday afternoon, North Carolina A&T jumped ahead in the top of the first inning with Zadaisha Young-Waddell connecting on an RBI single scoring Raven Gray on the play.
The Bucs responded in the bottom of the second inning with the tying run. Stevi Johnson led off the inning with a double down the left field line, advancing to third on Bergmann's bunt. She came around to score on a wild pitch by Aggies' starter Janika May to even the game at 1-1.
Amanda Matsumoto started the Bucs' bottom of the third inning with a double to centerfield. Jade Gandara followed with an RBI single to left. Two batters later, Johnson doubled in Gandara to give the Bucs the 3-1 lead. Bergmann followed with an RBI single chasing N.C. A&T starter May. DeLio greeted reliever Mohagany Headen on the first pitch, connecting on a two-run home run to straightaway centerfield to give the Bucs a commanding 6-1 lead.
CSU added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth with Thompson providing the big hit of the inning with a double off the fence in right centerfield scoring Cierra Robinson. Brooke Lein followed with an RBI single driving in Caitlyn Emberson to put the Bucs ahead 8-1 after five innings.
N.C. A&T tacked on a run in the top of the sixth on Lorrin Turner's RBI single scoring Shi-Anne Campbell, before the Bucs closed out the game in the bottom half of the inning.
Hayley Elkins drove in Gandara with a one-out RBI single, and she came around to score on Destini Ewing's single to center to end the game.
The Bucs remain at home this week as CSU hosts College of Charleston in a midweek contest at the CSU Softball Field on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.