Buccaneers split series opening doubleheader with Gardner-Webb

Buccaneers split series opening doubleheader with Gardner-Webb

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Charleston Southern's offense pounded out 18 hits, six for extra bases as the Buccaneers split against Gardner-Webb on Saturday afternoon at the Brinkley Softball Field, winning the first game 6-0, while falling in the nightcap, 4-2.

Stevi Johnson connected on two of CSU's five doubles in the first game of the day, while Brittany McPherson drilled a solo home run in the second inning of the nightcap to spark the Bucs offense on the day.

Hayley Elkins (8-15) received the decision in both games, going four shutout innings in the first game while striking out four. She went the first five innings, allowing four earned runs in the nightcap.

The Buccaneers move to 16-20, 4-4 in Big South play on the season, while Gardner-Webb moves to 16-16, 2-3 in conference play.

Game One: Charleston Southern 6, Gardner-Webb 0
Caitlyn Emberson connected on a bases-clearing double in the top of the third, while Stephanie Bergmann and Stevi Johnson had back-to-back doubles in the fourth to pace the Bucs to the 6-0 win over the Runnin' Bulldogs in the opening game.

Hayley Elkins went the first four innings, striking out four in earning the win. Arizona Pilgrim went two innings in relief, while Nicole Ayala went the final inning, pitching out of a bases-loaded jam in closing out the shutout.

Bergmann, Johnson and Cierra Robinson all had two hits apiece for the Bucs in the game with Bergmann and Robinson both scoring twice. Johnson went 2-for-2 from the plate with a pair of RBI, while drawing two walks in reaching base all four times against GWU starter Mackenzie Thompson.

Thompson went the distance for the Runnin' Bulldogs, allowing 10 hits and six runs. She added six walks while striking out three in the loss.

The Bucs broke open a scoreless tie in the top of the third with Emberson's double providing the big knock in the inning. Robinson and Bergmann singles sandwiched an Amanda Matsumoto walk to load the bases with none out. Johnson drew a walk bringing in Robinson for the first run of the game. Two batters later, Emberson connected on a line drive that one-hopped the fence in right centerfield clearing the bases to give CSU the 4-0 lead.

A trio of doubles brought two more runs across for the Bucs in the fourth. Robinson connected on a one-out double to right center, coming around to score on Bergmann's double to left center two batters later. Johnson followed with a double in nearly the same spot scoring Bergmann to give CSU the 6-0 lead.

Elkins retired the final six batters she faced before turning the ball over to Pilgrim in the fifth. The freshman reliever allowed singles in both innings, but the CSU defense held the Runnin' Bulldogs scoreless heading into the seventh.

GWU loaded the bases against Ayala in the seventh, but a great defensive play by Natalie Yonan ended the game. The senior third baseman fielded the grounder, stepping on the bag and throwing across the field for the final out to end the contest and close out the shutout.

Game Two: Gardner-Webb 4, Charleston Southern 2
Charleston Southern scored in each of the first two innings, but a late GWU rally led the Runnin' Bulldogs past the Bucs in the nightcap, 4-2.

The Bucs loaded the bases three times in the contest including both the top of the sixth and seventh innings, but CSU was unable to push across the tying runs in the contest.

Brittany McPherson connected on her fourth home run of the season in the contest, while Stephanie Bergmann added an RBI single in the loss.

Amanda Matsumoto and Bergmann had two hits apiece in the loss with Bergmann connecting on CSU's sixth double of the day.

The Bucs offense clicked in the first inning against GWU starter Summer Darnell (5-3) with Matsumoto leading off the game with an infield single. After Matsumoto stole second, Bergmann followed with an RBI single to centerfield giving CSU the 1-0 lead.

McPherson doubled the lead in the top of the second with a leadoff solo home run. The blast cleared the right field fence, giving the Bucs the 2-0 advantage.

GWU cut into the Bucs' lead in the bottom of the third as Rachel Cumisky drove in Kaylee Wacaster with an RBI grounder.

The Runnin' Bulldogs took the lead in the bottom of the fourth on Wacaster's triple down the right field line. The drive brought in Megan Champion and Megan Gibbons to give GWU the 3-2 lead.

After Darnell pitched GWU out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, the Runnin' Bulldogs scored a late insurance run on Jill Blank's RBI single bringing in Champion.

The Bucs loaded the bases in the seventh with Johnson drawing a walk, Vanada singling and McPherson getting hit by a pitch, but CSU was unable to keep the game alive in falling in the nightcap.

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