CHARLESTON, S.C. - Lexi Thompson connected on her first collegiate home run to close out the final day of the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational as Charleston Southern fell to Savannah State on Sunday afternoon at the CSU Softball Field, 8-5.
Thompson drilled a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the fourth inning, sparking a three-run rally that pulled the Bucs back within 6-5 against the Tigers, but Savannah State scored runs in both the top of the fifth and sixth innings to close out the victory.
Arizona Pilgrim (3-1) suffered her first loss in the circle for the Bucs on the season, allowing three runs and three hits over the first 2.0 innings of the game. SSU's Amanda Hallman went the distance for the Tigers, striking out four while allowing five runs (two earned) in the win.
Jade Gandara continued to have the hot bat at the plate for the Bucs with the freshman outfielder going 3-for-4 from the plate with an RBI double off the left field fence. Amanda Matsumoto added a pair of singles and two runs scored to lead the CSU offense on the day.
The Tigers struck in the top of the first inning with Alexis Singleton singling home Chasney Jenkins with one out. Singleton scored on a passed ball later in the inning to stake SSU to the early 2-0 lead.
Savannah State made it 3-0 in the top of the second on Brianna Harris' sacrifice fly to centerfield with Molly Lillis beating out the play at the plate to score.
The Bucs rallied back in the bottom of the second due to miscommunication in the outfield on Caitlyn Emberson's fly ball in the right centerfield gap. The SSU centerfielder and right fielder collided trying to make the catch with the ball bouncing away, allowing Lexie Vanada to score and narrow the Tigers lead down to 3-1.
Stephanie Baro drove in the second CSU run of the game in the bottom of the third as the Bucs narrowed the lead down to 3-2. Matsumoto and Gandara led off the inning with back-to-back singles before Baro's base hit to centerfield allowed Matsumoto to score. CSU loaded the bases in the inning as Stephanie Bergmann reached on a one- out catcher's interference, but Hallman snagged a sharp line drive up the middle and doubled off Gandara at third to end the Bucs threat.
SSU plated three in the top of the fourth with Singleton singling home Jenkins, and Cortni Jones singling in Singleton and Harris to extend the Tigers' lead to 6-2.
Thompson's home run sparked the Bucs in the bottom half of the inning. Gandara drove in Matsumoto with a two-out double off the left field wall. Baro followed, reaching on a throwing error allowing Gandara to score as the Bucs cut the lead to 6-5.
Hallman supported her own cause in the top of the fifth with a solo home run, while Harris scored on a CSU throwing error in the sixth to extend the SSU lead. The Bucs were unable to complete the comeback in falling to the Tigers.
The Bucs return to the field next weekend at the Stacy Winseberg Memorial Tournament hosted by UCLA on March 4-6. CSU will take on UC Santa Barbara, UC Davis, UCLA, UC Santa Barbara and Cal State Northridge at Easton Stadium.