CHARLESTON, S.C. – Charleston Southern topped East Tennessee State University, 4-3, but fell to UNC Wilmington, 11-5, after a strong Seahawks' comeback effort in the final innings of the game on Saturday.
Caitlyn Emberson and Stephanie Bergmann led the Buccaneers (5-6) with home runs in against ETSU (4-5), while Stevi Johnson added a triple in game one and a grand slam for her first home run of the season in the day two closer against UNC Wilmington (2-0).
Charleston Southern continues the Buccaneer Invitational tomorrow afternoon as the Bucs faceoff with the Seahawks again to close out the tournament. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m.
Game One: Charleston Southern 4, ETSU 3
Arizona Pilgrim (2-2) led CSU in the circle with seven strikeouts over six innings and Holly Clark thwarted ETSU's seventh inning comeback attempt to earn her second save of the season. Pilgrim retired two batters in the first inning and allowed just two hits through six innings.
Emberson got the Bucs on the board early with a two-run home run to right center with two outs in the bottom of the first. CSU added two more runs in the fifth as Bergmann led the Bucs off with a solo home run that once again sailed over right center. Johnson came around to score later in the frame after with the senior crossing the plate on a wild pitch following her first triple of the season.
ETSU got the bats going in a last inning comeback effort. A hit from Taylor Wright and a walk put runners on first and second with one out in the top of the seventh. Taylor Carter cleared the bases with a home run to opposite field to put the score at 4-3. Pinch hitter Danielle Knoetze set up the tying run with a double to right center.
Clark came to the rubber for CSU and held ETSU's next three batters hitless for her second save of the season to secure the 4-3 win.
Game Two: UNC Wilmington 11, Charleston Southern 5
Johnson went 2-3 at the plate and connected for a grand slam for her first home run of the season as CSU fell to UNC Wilmington in the final innings, 11-5.
UNC Wilmington got on the board first with a two-run homer from Kelli Freeman in the third inning. The Bucs responded in the bottom of the frame with big bats as hits from Georgi DeLio, Amanda Matsumoto and Jade Gandara loaded the bases and pinch runner Rebekah Lenos scored off a walk. With the bases still stacked, Johnson came to the plate and connected on a 2-2 count for a grand slam just inside the left field foul pole to put the Bucs up 5-2 heading into the fourth.
Several UNCW hits coupled with two CSU errors in the field allowed the Seahawks to score three runs and tie up the game at 5-5 in the fifth inning. The Buccaneers struggled to regain momentum and a single up the middle from Cheyenne Gandara in the bottom of the sixth marked CSU's last hit of the game.
The Seahawks kept their bats going, adding six runs in the last two innings highlighted by home runs form Merritt Wilkinson and Lauren Moore to come back from behind and take the 11-5 win over the Buccaneers.