SB Preview: CSU travels to Patriots Point for Wednesday doubleheader with CofC

SB Preview: CSU travels to Patriots Point for Wednesday doubleheader with CofC

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern will travel to Patriots Point this week as the Buccaneers take on local rival College of Charleston in a Wednesday night doubleheader at College of Charleston Softball Stadium.  First pitch between CSU and CofC is set for 5:00 p.m. and fans can follow the action via live stats on and in-game updates on Twitter: @CSUGameday.

CSU Game Notes - Charleston Southern at College of Charleston

Scouting College of Charleston
College of Charleston enters Wednesday's doubleheader with a 17-12 record on the season and a 2-1 mark in conference play.  The Cougars are coming off of their weekend series with Elon, going 2-1 against the Phoenix in three close contests.  

CofC was topped by Elon in game one, falling to the Phoenix 3-1 after 11 innings of play.  The Cougars came back in game two after Jordin Jones connected for a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth to give CofC the 5-3 victory.  The Cougars closed out the series with a 2-1 win paced by Sydney Shipley's five-hitter pitching performance and CofC's three straight doubles in the second frame.

Reviewing the Rivalry
Under the Shane Winkler era, the Buccaneers have a 12-19 record against the Cougars.  CSU is looking to put an end to its cold streak with CofC, as the Bucs have been topped in the last nine meetings between the schools.

Can't Ignore Belfiore
Freshman Taylor Belfiore has proven she's one to watch in her rookie year.  The Summerville native leads the team with a .600 slugging percentage and shares a team-high four home runs with Jordin Jones.  Belfiore has recorded at least one hit in 20 of her 26 starts, with eight multi-hit games on the season.  She has the second-highest batting average on the team (.375) and is right behind Taylor Dupree's .379.

No Shrinking Violette
Sophomore Brittany Violette (4-3) leads the Cougars in the circle with a 1.40 earned run average and a .166 opposing batting average in her 16 appearances.  Violette has allowed just 10 hits in her last seven appearances and pitched for a career-high eight strikeouts on March 10 in CofC's 8-0 win over Northern Kentucky.

Sister Act
Big South Player of the Week - Jade Gandara (March 27, 2017)...

Big South Pitcher of the Week - Cheyenne Gandara (March 27, 2017)...
For the first time in their collegiate careers, sisters Jade and Cheyenne Gandara were honored by the Big South Conference office in the same week. 

Jade led the Buccaneers at the plate with 12 hits, 10 RBI, six runs scored, and three doubles while also pacing CSU with three home runs in Saturday's doubleheader with Gardner-Webb.  The sophomore slugger batted .600 (12-20) and recorded 24 total bases for a 1.200 slugging percentage to help CSU go 5-1 on the week.

Cheyenne went 2-0 on the week with a 0.58 ERA in her two starts. She pitched a total of 12.0 innings against Coastal Carolina and Gardner-Webb finishing the week with 18 strikeouts while allowing just one earned run.  Gandara shutout the Runnin' Bulldogs with a one-hitter during CSU's first game against Gardner-Webb on Saturday, tying a program best 12 strikeouts in the 5-0 Buccaneer victory.

Homerun Hitters
Charleston Southern leads the Big South with 45 home runs this season, with 22 more homers than the next highest team in the league (Radford-23).  The Buccaneers have the third most home runs of any team in the country, right behind Louisiana's 47 and Arizona's 48.  CSU is also ranked 10th in the nation with 1.18 home runs per game.

Jade Gandara leads the pack of home run hitters and the Big South with 13 on the season and is tied for the fourth most homers of any softball player in the country.  Gandara also leads the conference with 84 total bases and is ranked fourth in the NCAA.

Last Time Against College of Charleston
College of Charleston 6, Charleston Southern 0 (April 20, 2016)
Jordin Jones connected on her third home run of the day to put the Cougars ahead early as the Buccaneers fell in the nightcap against College of Charleston, 6-0 

Caitlyn Emberson broke up the CofC no-hit bid in the top of the fifth inning with a single to left field and Destini Ewing (sixth) and Stevi Johnson (seventh) also singled for the Bucs in the loss.

Arizona Pilgrim (8-6) suffered the loss in the first for the Bucs, while Nicole Ayala, Hayley Elkins and Brittany McPherson all saw time in the circle. McPherson made her collegiate debut in the circle pitching the sixth inning in allowing two hits and one unearned run.

Samantha Martin picked up the win for the Cougars allowing one hit through five innings in the victory. Valerie Cassell went the final two innings in closing out the win.

Jones put the Cougars on the board with a leadoff solo home run in the bottom of the second against CSU starter Pilgrim. CofC added two more runs in the frame as Kashmir Huckaby and Dana Horgan both connected on sacrifice flies to take the early 3-0 lead.

Caitlyn Emberson broke up Martin's perfect hit bid with a single to left field for the Bucs' first runner of the game.

The Cougars added two more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning as CofC took the 5-0 lead. McCluskey scored on Carly Hansis' sacrifice bunt, while Frisbie singled in Jones in the frame.

Canyon Crosby added an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth to cap the Cougars' scoring.

Recapping CSU's Last Game
Gardner-Webb 10, Charleston Southern 1 (March 26, 2017)
Charleston Southern was unable to overcome the hot bats of Gardner-Webb and fell to the Runnin' Bulldogs 10-1 in Sunday's series finale at CSU Softball Field. 

Amanda Matsumoto led the Buccaneer (16-22, 2-4) offense with a trio of hits, going a perfect 3-for-3 at the plate.  Caitlyn Emberson and Cheyenne Gandara combined for two hits while Jade Gandara recorded a pair of doubles to left center.

Arizona Pilgrim (4-8) started for the Bucs in the circle and relief pitcher Nicole Ayala closed out the contest with three strikeouts and two earned runs over the final two innings.

Gardner-Webb (10-20, 3-2) was a force to be reckoned with at the plate, with each batter recording at least one hit in the conference victory.  Freshman Alia Booth sparked the Runnin' Bulldogs offense with a three-run home run in the first frame.  Kaylee Wacaster added another three-run homer in the third inning after a double from Annamarie Warley scored two, giving Gardner-Webb the 8-0 advantage after two and a half innings.

The Runnin' Bulldogs added two more runs in the top of the fifth with singles from Megan Champion, Warley and Megan Gibbons to lead 10-0. 

The Buccaneers recorded their lone run in the bottom of the inning after Jade Gandara connected for her second double to left center and advanced to third on a passed ball.  Emberson got the run across with a sacrifice fly to deep center field, but a groundout ended the inning to give Gardner-Webb the 10-1 weekend series-finale win.