Home runs push CSU past Campbell and seal Bucs’ spot in Big South Tournament

Home runs push CSU past Campbell and seal Bucs’ spot in Big South Tournament

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Lexie Vanada homered twice and a solo shot from Jade Gandara led Charleston Southern to a 6-4 win over Campbell on Friday night at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium.

The victory sealed the Buccaneers' (23-34, 8-11) spot in the Big South Tournament next week at Longwood.  Vanada and Gandara combined for three home runs to help the Bucs set a new program season record of 63 homers. The record was formerly set by CSU's 2015 team, with 62 home runs collectively.

Jade Gandara connected for a solo home run on two outs in the top of the first to give the Bucs an early 1-0 advantage.  The Fighting Camels (29-23, 13-6) answered back in the bottom of the inning with a three-run homer from Big South leader Amber Schisler to set the score at 3-1 after one complete frame.

Schisler helped Campbell get another run across in the bottom of the third with a leadoff double to right center.  Melissa Tullar followed with an RBI double to give the Fighting Camels the 4-1 lead. 

CSU's bats got hot in the fourth frame as the Bucs recorded three runs off of three hits.  Caitlyn Emberson led off with a double to right center and Mallory Kasinger put runners on the corners with a single to left center.  Vanada cleared the bases and tied up the game at 4-4 with a drive to deep left field for her first home run of the season.

Arizona Pilgrim (7-10) went to the circle for the Bucs in the bottom of the inning and retired Campbell's side in order.  Pilgrim split the effort with starter Holly Clark and recorded three strikeouts while allowing one hit over four frames.  Clark retired two of the Fighting Camels on strikes through the first three innings.

Emberson led CSU off with another base hit in the top of the sixth and a sacrifice bunt from Stephanie Bergmann moved pinch runner Taylor Powell to second.  With two outs, Vanada connected on her second home run of the game to give the Bucs a 6-4 lead they would not relinquish.

Pilgrim once again set the side down in order in the bottom of the frame and allowed just one hit in the final inning to seal the CSU victory and the Bucs' spot in the Big South Tournament.

CSU now turns its attention to tomorrow as it wrap up its last regular season series with a doubleheader at Campbell.  First pitch between the Bucs and the Fighting Camels is set for 2:00 p.m. on ESPN3 with the series finale set to follow.

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