CHARLESTON, S.C. – The solid pitching of Cheyenne Gandara helped push the Buccaneers past Coastal Carolina on Wednesday afternoon at CSU Softball Field, as the Bucs topped the Chanticleers, 2-1.
Gandara (4-8) led the Buccaneers (14-21) in the circle with eight strikeouts, one walk and one earned run through six innings. Arizona Pilgrim closed out the game, allowing just one hit to earn her first save of the season.
Stevi Johnson paced the Bucs at the plate with her second home run in as many days. CSU scored its second run after Amanda Matsumoto scored on Stephanie Bergmann's squeeze bunt down the third base line.
The Chanticleers (21-8) threatened to score first in the third inning, but were shutdown by a resilient Buccaneer defense. Angela Buccilli and Payton Hanson led Coastal off in the top of the inning with hits and Taty Forbes moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Gandara forced a fly out on the next batter and struck out the next Chanticleer to hold Coastal scoreless through three innings.
In the bottom of the fourth frame, Johnson led the Bucs off with a solo home run to left center off the first pitch she saw. The homer was Johnson's third of the season.
CSU added another run in the bottom of the fifth as leadoff Amanda Matsumoto singled to left field. The fleet-footed senior stole second and advanced to third following a wide throwdown from the catcher. With a full count, Bergmann laid a bunt down the third base line for a squeeze play to score Matsumoto and give the Bucs the 2-0 lead.
Coastal recorded their lone run in the top of the sixth and almost added another after a double from Kassidy Smith bounced off of the top of the left field fence. Buccilli brought Smith across with a single to left field, but Gandara struck out the next batter to get the Bucs out of the top of the inning and hold Coastal to one run.
Pilgrim entered the game in the top of the seventh and allowed just one hit for her first save and the 2-1 Buccaneer victory.
The Buccaneers now turn their attention to this weekend as they host Gardner-Webb for a doubleheader on Saturday and wrap up the series on Sunday. First pitch between the Bucs and the Runnin' Bulldogs is set for 1:00 p.m. Saturday.