CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern split its contests on Friday afternoon on the first day of the Buccaneer Invitational as CSU fell in the opener to Valparaiso, before rallying back to top Eastern Kentucky in the final game of the day.
The Bucs' late comeback fell short in the early contest against the Crusaders, 6-4. Paced by Taylor Gleason's grand slam in the bottom of the first against EKU, CSU rallied past the Colonels in the day's finale, 8-0.
Gleason finished the day leading the Bucs with a pair of home runs and five RBI while starting in both corner outfield positions on the day. Mallory Kasinger and Madison Koger also homered to pace the Bucs' offensive efforts on the day.
Holly Clark recorded her second shutout of the season in the evening game as the sophomore right-hander allowed four hits and struck out four in the 8-0 victory.
Valparaiso 6, Charleston Southern 4
Jaymee Lawton's grand slam in the top of the fifth broke open a pitcher's duel in CSU's opening game of the day as the Buccaneers fell to Valparaiso in their opening game of the Buccaneer Invitational.
Madison Koger and Taylor Gleason connected on back-to-back two-out solo home runs to keep the game alive for CSU in the bottom of the seventh. Caitlyn Emberson reached on an error and Jade Gandara was hit by a pitch to put two on and brought Mallory Kasinger to the plate. However, Valpo reliever Emily Richardson was able to corral Kasinger's grounder back up the middle for the final out of the game.
Kaskinger (2-for-4) and Koger (2-for-3) led CSU's offensive efforts in the contest, while Sarah Brown added an RBI sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fourth.
Alyssa Heinrich (2-1) suffered the loss in the circle for CSU after allowing three runs in one inning of relief work. Arizona Pilgrim went the first four innings in her second start of the season, allowing three hits and an earned run. Nicole Ayala allowed a pair of unearned runs over the final two innings.
Ashlyn Montgomery recorded the win for the Crusaders after going the first 6.2 innings, allowing five hits and four runs (three earned). Richardson picked up the save after getting the final out of the game.
Brown put the Bucs on the board in the bottom of the fourth after CSU loaded the bases with one out. Her fly ball to straightaway centerfield brought home pinch-runner Kendall Anderson to stake the Bucs to the early 1-0 lead.
Lawton answered for Valpo in the top of the fifth with a two-out grand slam. Jenna Stauffenberg drew a lead-off walk before Brown made a spectacular diving play on the sacrifice bunt attempt for the first out. Morgan Matalin followed with a base hit and Taylor Lawson drew a walk two batters later to load the bases against reliever Heinrich. Lawton drilled the ball over the right centerfield fence to give Valpo the 4-1 lead.
Kasinger cut into the lead with one out in the bottom of the sixth. The sophomore catcher connected on the first pitch she saw for her second home run of the season to narrow the gap to 4-2.
Addi Burke and Gabby Magnifico both brought home runs in the top of the seventh to extend the Valpo lead.
CSU answered on Koger's and Gleason's solo shots before the comeback fell short.
Charleston Southern 8, Eastern Kentucky 0 (5 innings)
Taylor Gleason's grand slam in the bottom of the first inning sparked an eight-run outburst for the Buccaneers in their final game of the day as CSU topped the Colonels at the CSU Softball Field. Madison Koger added a pair of RBI in the contest to help guide the Bucs' offense.
Holly Clark (2-0) went the distance in her third start of the season to pace the Bucs in the game. The sophomore right-hander allowed four hits and a walk while striking out four in her second shutout of the season. Caitlyn Emberson (2-for-2) and Kasinger (2-for-3) added multi-hit efforts in the contest.
Tori Peterson (1-1) suffered the loss after allowing five hits and seven runs (one earned) over the first two innings. Peyton Hutchens allowed the final run over the last two innings in relief. Paige Murphy led the Colonels with a two of EKU's four hits in the game.
After Clark pitched around a single in the top of the first, the Bucs struck quickly in the bottom of the frame. Emberson led off the inning with a base hit. Two batters later, Kasinger reached on a fielder's choice and an errant throw put both runners in scoring position. Koger drew a two-out walk before Gleason connected on the go-ahead grand slam to put the Bucs ahead 4-0.
CSU added three more runs in the bottom of the second to stretch the advantage to 7-0. Gandara brought home Annie Bakenhus with a one-out fielder's choice. Sarah Brown's fielder's choice drove home Emberson two batters later. Koger followed with an RBI single to centerfield scoring Gandara to give the Bucs the seven-run advantage.
Koger added the game-clinching RBI in the bottom of the fourth, driving home Kendall Anderson with a sacrifice fly to left center.
Clark pitched around trouble in the fifth with Bakenhus and Destini Ewing both making plays in the field to close out the shutout win.
News & Notes
- Nicole Ayala and Kendall Anderson both made their season debuts with the Buccaneers this afternoon. Ayala pitched two innings in relief in game one, while Anderson scored runs in each game and added a stolen base in game two of the day.
- Mallory Kasinger has recorded four consecutive multi-hit contests and has scored runs in each of the last four CSU games.
- Jade Gandara stretched her double-digit on-base streak to 12 games following the completion of the two contests. Gandara reached on an error in game one and a fielder's choice in game two to continue the streak.
- Taylor Gleason tied Kasinger for the team home run lead with two on the season following her pair of home runs against Valparaiso and EKU.
- The Bucs have allowed three or fewer walks in all six contests in the 2017 season. The Bucs allowed two walks in the opening game against Valparaiso before Clark gave up just one free pass in the evening contest.
- CSU has recorded three shutouts over the first two weekends, marking the second time in the last four seasons the Bucs have held three opponents scoreless during the span. Last time it happened was in the 2015 season.
- Gleason's grand slam was CSU's first since Caitlyn Emberson cleared the bases with one swing against Marist last season on March 11, 2017.
Charleston Southern continues the Buccaneer Invitational tomorrow afternoon as CSU hosts N.C. Central and Valparaiso on the second day of the tournament. The Bucs take on the Eagles at 1 p.m. while hosting the Crusaders in the evening game at 3 p.m.