Due to expected inclement weather, Charleston Southern will travel to Farmville, Virginia a day early for a Friday doubleheader and a Saturday series finale game at Longwood. The Buccaneers will take on the Lancers at 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Friday and then wrap up the series on Saturday at noon. Friday's doubleheader will air on the Big South Network and fans can follow all of the weekend action via live stats on csusports.com and in-game updates on Twitter: @CSUGameday.
Under the Shane Winkler era, Charleston Southern has gone 5-14 against Longwood in its 19 meetings with the Lancers since 2011. The Buccaneers enter Friday's matchup with a two-game winning streak, topping Longwood last year on March 26 in back-to-back wins to take the series.
Batten with the big bat
Kaylynn Batten leads Longwood at the plate with a team-high 34 hits in her 120 at bats for a .283 batting average on the season. The sophomore catcher has recorded a hit in six of the Lancers' last 10 games, including four multi-hit performances. Batten paces Longwood with a .407 on base percentage and has connected for three home runs, seven doubles and 18 RBI in the 2017 season.
Clark hitting the mark
Jordan Clark is hitting her marks with a team-high 19 RBI on the season. The sophomore first baseman/outfielder shares a team-best .283 batting average and has connected for three doubles, one triple and two home runs.
If a Lancer gets on base, they're likely to go for more. Twelve of Longwood's players have recorded a stolen base, with six of those players taking three or more bags this season. Freshman Destiny Martinez leads the Lancers with nine stolen bases out of 11 attempts and senior Justina Augustine follows with seven successful steals in her 10 attempts. In their seven efforts, Krista Kelly has recorded six stolen bases and Glenn Walters stands at four on the year. Haleigh Kilby and Kaylynn Batten have gone a perfect 3-for-3 while Jordan Clark, Karleigh Donovan, Kelsey Sweeney, Kasey Carr and Jessica Smith round out Longwood's 38 steals with one stolen base each.
Glenn Walters (#40) paces the Lancers with five home runs on the season. The junior outfielder recorded a home run in both of Longwoods' 8-0 shutout victories over Gardner-Webb at home on April 8. Walters also connected for a homer in the Lancers' narrow 3-2 game two loss at Winthrop on April 1.
Lancers answer in the circle
Longwood's greatest strength is found in the circle. The Lancers' pitchers lead the Big South with a combined 2.90 ERA with a league-best 154 runs and 113 earned runs allowed. Sydney Gay (10-12) leads the way with a 2.46 earned run average and three shutouts in her 27 appearances and 25 starts on the season. The sophomore pitcher is ranked third in the conference with 108 strikeouts and second with 35 batters struck out looking. Gay was named the 2016 Big South Tournament MVP and was also selected to the Big South All-Tournament Team, Second Team All-Big South and the Big South All-Freshman Team. She finished her rookie season with a 1.93 ERA, 20 wins, eight losses and 176 strikeouts. Elizabeth McCarthy (6-8) follows Gay with a 3.16 ERA on the year and has pitched for 77 strikeouts and two shutouts through her 21 appearances and 14 starts. The senior left-handed pitcher threw for 11 strikeouts against Virginia on March 28, nine K's on April 8 vs. Gardner-Webb and recorded seven strikeouts last weekend in Longwood's 2-0 shutout win over Presbyterian on Friday, and again in the Lancers' 4-0 series-finale loss to the Blue Hose on Saturday.
Common non-conference opponents
Both Longwood and Charleston Southern have competed against South Carolina and Virginia this season. The Lancers went to nine innings with the Gamecocks on February 11 at the South Carolina Classic, but fell to the SEC school, 1-0. Charleston Southern is coming off its doubleheader loss at Carolina Stadium at Beckham Field, where the Gamecocks swept the Buccaneers 12-0 and 7-1 on Tuesday night. Longwood also faced Virginia this year and topped the Cavaliers in a doubleheader at home on March 28, 1-0 and 2-1. Charleston Southern also recorded a win against the ACC school with a 4-3 victory on February 17 at the Buccaneer Invitational.
Last Time Against Longwood
Charleston Southern 9, Longwood 5 (March 26, 2016)
Caitlyn Emberson and Stevi Johnson connected on first inning home runs to rally the Buccaneers, while CSU took advantage of five Longwood errors and a strong performance in the circle by Hayley Elkins taking the series win.
Elkins (7-13) went the final six innings allowing an unearned run and one hit, while striking out six in the victory. Longwood's Elizabeth McCarthy (8-6) went 3.0 innings, allowing eight hits and six runs (two earned), in the loss.
Longwood scored four runs in the top of the first to take the early lead. Glenn Walters led off the inning with a solo home run down the right field line as the Lancers sent 10 batters to the plate in taking the early lead. Emily Murphy had an RBI double, Mariah Ellis added an RBI single, and Jelly Eaton was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in taking the 4-0 lead.
The Bucs responded in the bottom half of the inning with all three runs coming with two outs. Johnson connected on a solo home run to centerfield off Longwood starter Jenna Carnes. Following a walk issued to Lexie Vanada, Emberson drilled a two-run blast off the second fence in left center to narrow the margin to 4-3.
Murphy scored in the top of the second to give the Lancers the 5-3 lead, coming around on a CSU throwing error.
The Bucs tied the game up in the bottom of the inning as Natalie Yonan connected on an RBI single to centerfield scoring Cierra Robinson. Yonan came around to score on a Longwood throwing error to tie the game up, 5-5.
CSU broke the game open in the third after sending all nine batters to the plate. Vanada and Emberson both scored on Stephanie Baro's single to centerfield to give the Bucs the 7-5 lead. Yonan added an RBI double scoring Baro. The senior third baseman came around to score on a Longwood error to give the Bucs the 9-5 advantage after three innings.
Elkins dealt for the Buccaneers over the final four innings, allowing a Mariah Ellis single with two outs in the top of the fourth inning before retiring the final 10 batters in order in the win.
Charleston Southern leads the Big South with 59 home runs this season, 26 more than the next highest team in the league (Radford-33) and the third most home runs of any team in the country. The Bucs follow Louisiana's 64, while Arizona leads the NCAA with 79. CSU is also ranked 8th in the nation with 1.11 home runs per game.
The Buccaneers have six players that have landed on the Big South's home run leaderboard. Sophomore Jade Gandara paces the league with 15 on the year. Fellow sophomore, Caitlyn Emberson, is ranked third with 11, while freshman Mallory Kasinger and redshirt-junior Cheyenne Gandara share the number six spot with seven homers. Seniors Brittany McPherson and Stevi Johnson round out the six CSU sluggers, with five bombs to share the number 10 spot with five other players in the Big South.
Sophomore Jade Gandara leads the pack of home run hitters and the Big South with 15 blasts on the season, connecting for the 8th most homers of any softbal player in the country. Gandara leads the NCAA with 123 total bases and boasts a league best 16 doubles (4th in the NCAA), 52 RBI (7th in the NCAA), 60 hits (12th in the NCAA).