CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern rallied back from early deficits in both games on Saturday as the Buccaneers swept the Big South doubleheader against visiting Longwood at the CSU Softball Field, 5-4 and 9-5.
After dropping the series opener on Friday afternoon, the Buccaneers (15-18, 3-3) bats came to life as CSU connected on four home runs and 20 hits over the two games. The pair of Buccaneer wins also gave CSU their first series win over Longwood (14-11, 4-2) in program history.
"Today was a complete day of bouncing back," said CSU head coach Shane Winkler. "Each game today we were down in the first inning, and it took a lot of toughness on our players' part to not only bounce back to tie the game up and jump ahead. We also got great relief appearances in both games today."
Highlighting CSU's offensive efforts today was the power by both of the Buccaneer catchers on the day. Georgi DeLio went 2-for-2 with a pair of home runs and four RBI in the opener on Saturday. Caitlyn Emberson went 2-for-2 in the afternoon game with a two-run home run in the bottom of the first in CSU's second win of the day.
"We know both catchers have the ability to swing it well," Winkler said. "Georgi's been struggling a little bit at the plate, but she does a great job defensively, so that's when she's been seeing her time. Caitlyn's been coming in and spelling offensively and we've been using them both. They were both key reasons we got two wins today."
The Buccaneers trailed 2-0 in the first game and 4-0 in game two on the day, but found ways to rally back both times against the Big South's leading pitching staff in Longwood. CSU also rallied behind strong relief appearance by both Arizona Pilgrim and Hayley Elkins in taking the win.
"We went down early and a lot of teams would fold in that situation, especially against a team as good as Longwood," Winkler commented. "It was great to see the pitchers come in the spots they did and performed well. They did a great job and shut Longwood down and kept the game close enough for our offense to jump ahead and get the wins."
Charleston Southern remains at home on Tuesday afternoon as the Buccaneers host local rival College of Charleston. First pitch at the CSU Softball Field is set for 4 p.m.
Game One: Charleston Southern 5, Longwood 4
Georgi DeLio connected on a pair of home runs, including the go-ahead three-run shot in the bottom of the fourth, while Arizona Pilgrim (6-3) pitched six innings in relief in picking up her sixth win of the season.
Pilgrim went the final six innings in relief, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out three in the win. Sydney Gay (5-4) suffered the loss for the Lancers, going the first five innings while striking out three.
Longwood scored two runs in the top of the first on a pair of CSU errors as Glenn Walters scored on a CSU throwing error on Carly Adams' bunt single. Three batters later, Adams scored on a fielding error on Kaylynn Batten's grounder giving the Lancers the 2-0 lead.
Amanda Matsumoto put the Bucs on the board in the bottom half of the inning with a leadoff triple down the left field line. Stephanie Bergmann followed two batters later with an RBI groundout scoring Matsumoto for the first run.
The Bucs tied the game on DeLio's two-out solo home run to right centerfield in the bottom of the second.
Longwood retook the lead in the top of the fourth inning on Walters' RBI single down the left field line. Walters connected on the one-out base hit driving in Jessica Smith to give the Lancers the 3-2 lead.
DeLio erased the Bucs' deficit in the bottom half of the inning with one swing as the junior catcher connected on a three-run home run off the top of the left field fence. DeLio's blast scored Ashtin Kullnat and Stevi Johnson on the play to give CSU the 5-3 lead.
Longwood rallied back in the top of the fifth as Justine Augustine drove in a run on a sacrifice fly down the left field line scoring Batten to narrow the margin to 5-4.
Pilgrim retired the final three batters in the seventh to close out the contest and record the win.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 9, Longwood 5
Caitlyn Emberson and Stevi Johnson connected on first inning home runs to rally the Buccaneers, while CSU took advantage of five Longwood errors and a strong performance in the circle by Hayley Elkins taking the series win.
Elkins (7-13) went the final six innings allowing an unearned run and one hit, while striking out six in the victory. Longwood's Elizabeth McCarthy (8-6) went 3.0 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (two earned), in the loss.
Longwood scored four runs in the top of the first to take the early lead. Glenn Walters led off the inning with a solo home run down the right field line as the Lancers sent 10 batters to the plate in taking the early lead. Emily Murphy had an RBI double, Mariah Ellis added an RBI single, and Jelly Eaton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in taking the 4-0 lead.
The Bucs responded in the bottom half of the inning with all three runs coming with two outs. Johnson connected on a solo home run to centerfield off Longwood starter Jenna Carnes. Following a walk issued to Lexie Vanada, Emberson drilled a two-run blast off the second fence in left center to narrow the margin to 4-3.
Murphy scored in the top of the second to give the Lancers the 5-3 lead, coming around on a CSU throwing error.
The Bucs tied the game up in the bottom of the inning as Natalie Yonan connected on an RBI single to centerfield scoring Cierra Robinson. Yonan came around to score on a Longwood throwing error to tie the game up, 5-5.
CSU broke the game open in the third after sending all nine batters to the plate. Vanada and Emberson both scored on Stephanie Baro's single to centerfield to give the Bucs the 7-5 lead. Yonan added an RBI double scoring Baro. The senior third baseman came around to score on a Longwood error to give the Bucs the 9-5 advantage after three innings.
Elkins dealt for the Buccaneers over the final four innings, allowing a Mariah Ellis single with two outs in the top of the fourth inning before retiring the final 10 batters in order in the win.