SB Preview: Buccaneers make the trip to Gardner-Webb for a Big South series this weekend

SB Preview: Buccaneers make the trip to Gardner-Webb for a Big South series this weekend

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern continues Big South Conference play this weekend as the Buccaneers make the trip to Boiling Springs, N.C. and Gardner-Webb for a three-game series against the Runnin' Bulldogs. First pitch at Brinkley Stadium between CSU and GWU in Saturday's doubleheader is set for 4 p.m., while Sunday's action is set for 2 p.m.

All three games between the Buccaneers and the Runnin' Bulldogs will be streamed live on the Big South Network. Last season, the Bucs took the first two games at the CSU Softball Field on their way to winning the season series against GWU for the second straight season against GWU.

Charleston Southern enters the weekend coming off of a Big South series victory over Longwood this past weekend at the CSU Softball Field. The Bucs took the doubleheader on the weekend to top the Lancers for the first time in program history. Gardner-Webb dropped two of three against Campbell last weekend, but the Runnin' Bulldogs bounced back with a pair of wins over North Carolina A&T on Wednesday.

CSU Softball Game Notes - at Gardner-Webb*

This Weekend's Quick Hits…
*Charleston Southern took the weekend series from Longwood this past weekend after topping the Lancers in Saturday's doubleheader at the CSU Softball Field. The Bucs fell in the opener, 4-2, before rallying back with a 5-4 and 9-5 win in the doubleheader.

*Lexie Vanada and Georgi DeLio became the first teammates during Coach Winkler's tenure with the Bucs to hit two home runs in their first two at-bats on back-to-back days. Vanada connected on a pair of home runs in CSU's opener against Longwood on Friday. DeLio followed with her pair of home runs in Saturday's first game against the Lancers.

*Caitlyn Emberson and Stevi Johnson both homered in CSU's series finale win over Longwood, giving the Bucs three straight games with multiple home runs to end the weekend.

*Amanda Matsumoto hit .500 from the plate and added to her Big South lead in the stolen base crown, going 3-for-4 in steal attempts on the week. The junior centerfielder also added her first triple of the season on Saturday against Longwood.

*Charleston Southern Head Coach Shane Winkler recorded his 200th career win with the Buccaneers on Monday afternoon as CSU topped Radford, 8-5. He finished the week with 202 career wins as CSU took the season series from Longwood for the first time in program history.

*Arizona Pilgrim turned in one of her top pitching performances of the season in Saturday's opener as the freshman right-hander went the final 6.0 innings in relief in CSU's 5-4 win over Longwood. Pilgrim struck out three in picking up her second Big South win.

*Hayley Elkins followed suit with a standout performance in relief in the second game of the doubleheader against the Lancers with the right-hander going the final 4.0 innings, allowing three hits while striking out six in recording the win in CSU's 9-5 victory over Longwood.

*Caitlyn Emberson hit .500 on the week for the Bucs, going 4-for-8 from the plate. The freshman catcher hit one of the longest home runs this season at the CSU Softball Field, connecting on a two-run shot in the bottom of the first against Longwood that connected off the second fence.

*Natalie Yonan continues to come up in a big way in the CSU lineup as the senior third baseman connected on a pair of doubles on Saturday in CSU's 9-5 win over Longwood. Yonan is second on the team with six doubles on the season, while leading the Big South in fielding assists on the year with 73.

*Charleston Southern has won the series against Gardner-Webb in each of the past two seasons, winning two of three at the CSU Softball Field in 2015, and both games in Boiling Springs in 2014.

*Last time in Boiling Springs, Ari Tedesco and Lizzy Olmstead had three hits apiece for the Buccaneers on the afternoon to pace the CSU offense, while Natalie Yonan and Amanda Matsumoto had two RBI apiece in CSU's 5-0 and 2-1 wins over the Runnin' Bulldogs.

*Last season at CSU, Another dominant performance on the field by Cheyenne Gandara paced Charleston Southern in the opener against the Runnin' Bulldogs, with the pitcher striking out nine and supported herself with a two-run single in the Bucs' 4-1 win.

*In CSU's second win, Marci Christian and Hayley Elkins both homered and Jennifer Giles struck out a season-high nine batters through four innings as the Buccaneers held off Gardner-Webb in the first game of the doubleheader, 9-6.

*Gardner-Webb enters the weekend with a 15-15 overall record on the season, 1-2 in Big South Conference play. The Runnin' Bulldogs have posted a 9-8 overall record at home on the season with wins over S.C. State, Hartford, Hampton, Austin Peay, Campbell and N.C. A&T.

*The Runnin' Bulldogs have won five of their past seven with a pair of doubleheader wins over N.C. Central and N.C. A&T.

*Gardner-Webb took the middle game of the series against Campbell this past weeknd in Boiling Springs with the top of the lineup taking over, combining to go 8-for-13 from the plate with six runs and eight RBI.

*Jill Blank leads the Runnin' Bulldogs with a .367 batting average from the plate with a team-high 33 hits and two triples. Amanda Gomes is also among the GWU leaders with a .364 batting average with a team-high six home runs and 25 RBI.

*Kaylee Wacaster leads the team with 28 runs scored and 12 doubles. She is also the team leader with nine stolen bases on the season.

*Mackenzie Thompson is Gardner-Webb's ace with a team-best 3.19 ERA and a 9-5 record in the circle. Thopmson has a team-high 10 complete games and two shutouts, while posting a 46:32 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

*CSU's Amanda Matsumoto continues to lead the Big South Conference in the stolen base category with the fleet-footed junior pacing the conference with 23 steals on the season.

*CSU's Hayley Elkins continues to pace the conference in strikeouts inside the circle. The sophomore power pitcher has a double-digit lead over Coastal Carolina's Kelsey Dominik (109-98) in strikeouts, while also leading the Big South with 31 strikeouts looking.

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