CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern finished its opening week of the 2017 season with the second-most home runs of any team in the country.
The Buccaneers combined for 12 home runs, just one homer behind NCAA-leader #6 UCLA. Half of CSU's home runs came from freshman Mallory Kasinger and sophomore Jade Gandara, with each player recording three home runs in the seven-game span.
Kasinger added a double to her three home runs to finish the week with seven hits for a .304 batting average and was named the Big South Come Ready Nutrition Freshman of the Week. The California-native leads the Big South with 10 RBIs and, at just 17-years-old, is the youngest player to line up for the Buccaneers this season.
Gandara came out swinging with a home run her first at bat in game one of the Buccaneers' doubleheader season-opener at Savannah State last Thursday. The California-native added a triple in the CSU win and finished the week with seven hits made up of three home runs, two doubles and a triple for a batting average of .292. Gandara shares the Big South lead for total bases (20) and leads the Bucs with a .833 slugging percentage.
Gandara's sister, Cheyenne, also contributed to CSU's long game, adding two home runs in the cumulative dozen. After redshirting all of last season, last Thursday's doubleheader marked Gandara's first plate appearance since 2015. In her third at bat of game one, Gandara connected on a pitch to homer over left field and knock her sister power-hitter in for the 6-2 CSU lead in the fourth inning.
Sophomore Caitlyn Emberson added a pair of homers during opening week, sending one out of the park in the Bucs' season opener and another for CSU's first run against #14 James Madison last Friday. Seniors Brittany McPherson and Georgi DeLio rounded out the dozen with a McPherson homer in the season-opener and a solo home run from DeLio in the final game of the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational against S.C. Upstate.
CSU is ranked 8th in the NCAA with 1.71 home runs per game and leads the Big South Conference. You can witness the big bats of the Bucs in action as CSU host East Tennessee State, Virginia and UNC Wilmington in this weekend's Buccaneer Invitational. CSU will play Virginia on Friday with first pitch set for noon.