CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern split a pair of contests on the second day of the Buccaneer Invitational as CSU topped North Carolina Central in the Bucs' opening game of the day, before falling in a night-shortened contest in the finale against Valparaiso.
Jade Gandara and Mallory Kasinger had two RBI apiece in the opener against the Eagles as the Bucs utilized a five-run fourth inning to break open a 3-3 tie. Alyssa Heinrich (3-1) picked up her third win of the season going the final 4.2 innings in relief.
Game two was called due to impending nightfall as the umpires ended play two batters into the top of the seventh inning with Valparaiso holding on to the 5-4 lead. Nina Del Rio brought the Bucs back into the contest with a two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth. However, CSU's rally stalled sending the game into the seventh. When the umpires determined it was too dark to continue play, the game reverted to the final completed inning.
The Bucs are back in action to complete the Buccaneer Invitational tomorrow afternoon as a part of a doubleheader featuring games between N.C. Central, Valparaiso, and Charleston Southern.
Charleston Southern 8, N.C. Central 4
Mallory Kasinger and Annie Bakenhus connected on RBI doubles in the deciding fourth inning as the Buccaneers topped N.C. Central in CSU's first game on day two of the Buccaneer Invitational. Charleston Southern pushed across five runs in the frame and Alyssa Heinrich took it the rest of the way in the circle as CSU topped the Eagles, 8-4.
Heinrich picked up her third win of the season behind a 4.2 inning relief effort in the circle. The freshman right-hander gave up a two-run home run in the top of the third and an RBI double in the seventh and pitched around runners in each frame, but the defense picked up in support of her team-leading third victory. Heinrich allowed five hits and two runs while striking out two. Emily Visnic recorded her first collegiate start in the circle as the freshman went the first 2.1 innings allowing three hits and two runs (one earned) in the no decision.
Ava Dolan provided the firepower for the N.C. Central lineup with a two-run home run, while Jacobia Johnson added a 2-for-2 performance at the plate. Claire Eosso (0-2) suffered the loss after going 3.1 innings while allowing five runs (four earned).
Johnson opened the scoring in the top of the second for the Eagles with a two-out single back up the middle. The ball was misplayed allowing Dolan to cross the plate for the first run of the game.
CSU rallied back in the bottom half of the frame as Koger and Gleason put the Bucs on top. Del Rio led off the inning with a base hit to right center. Meghan Gagliano entered as a pinch runner and promptly stole second base. Koger followed with an RBI single back up the middle to even the game. Two batters later, Gleason's fly ball to the warning track in centerfield scored Koger to give the Bucs the 2-1 lead.
Dolan swung the advantage back to the Eagles in the top of the third with a two-run home run over the centerfield fence. Her two-out shot brought home Courtney Mirabella to give N.C. Central the 3-2 lead.
Gandara's RBI single scored Kendall Anderson in the bottom of the frame to tie the game back up at 3-3.
CSU sent all nine batters to the plate in the fourth inning with Gleason sparking the offense with a one-out double to centerfield. Bakenhus brought her in with a double, chasing Eosso from the contest. After Emberson reached on a hard-hit single to the left side, Gandara dropped in an RBI base hit to give CSU the 5-3 lead. Kasinger followed with a double down the left field line to clear the bases. Two batters later, Del Rio pushed the final run across the plate with a sacrifice fly to provide the 8-3 margin.
N.C. Central added a late run on Lauren Sitterson's RBI double in the top of the seventh before shortstop Koger snagged a line drive to turn a double play, and then fielded a grounder in the hole for the final out of the game.
Valparaiso 5, Charleston Southern 4 (6 innings)
For the second consecutive day, a Charleston Southern comeback attempt fell short to Valparaiso as the Buccaneers closed out the evening against the Crusaders with a 5-4 darkness-shortened loss.
Trailing 5-1, the Bucs mounted their comeback attempt in the bottom of the fifth inning as Caitlyn Emberson connected on a one-out double to right center scoring Madison Koger. However, Kenzie Grossmann (3-1) was able to keep the ball in the infield over the final two batters in the frame to prevent any further damage.
Nina Del Rio provided the spark for the Bucs in the bottom of the sixth with her first home run of the season. Sarah Brown opened the frame with a leadoff single to straightaway centerfield. Del Rio battled Grossmann to a 2-2 count before driving the ball over the camera stand in centerfield to narrow the gap to 5-4. Grossman recovered to strikeout the next two CSU batters and recorded the third out on a grounder to the first baseman.
Two batters into the top of the seventh, the umpires made the decision to call the contest due to the impending darkness in the issue of player safety. The game reverted to the end of the sixth inning with the Crusaders holding onto the 5-4 win.
Emberson led the Bucs' bats at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance with a pair of doubles. Taylor Gleason added a triple in the game, while Del Rio's home run was the only ball to leave the ballpark in the contest.
Holly Clark (2-1) suffered her first loss of the season after going the first third of an inning and allowing two hits and three runs. Arizona Pilgrim went the final 5.2 innings in relief, allowing five hits and two runs while striking out one.
Grossman went the distance for the Crusaders with six innings pitched while allowing seven hits and four runs (three earned). She added six strikeouts and a walk.
It was all Valpo early in the contest as Jaymee Lawton connected on a two-run double in the top of the first inning. Jenna Stauffenberg added a bases-loaded walk to put the Crusaders ahead 3-0 early.
The lead reached 4-0 as Morgan Matalin scored on a wild pitch in the top of the second.
CSU put its first run on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second as Gleason uncorked a drive to right field. The speedy freshman reached third on the triple, and then came around to score as the relay into the infield was misplayed by the Valparaiso third baseman.
Valpo added a late run in the top of the fifth on Stauffenberg's squeeze bunt to put the Crusaders ahead 5-1 prior to the Bucs' late-game rally.
News & Notes
- Caitlyn Emberson recorded her second multi-hit contest of the season against Valpo and tied for the team lead with three doubles following the completion of the day.
- Taylor Gleason connected on CSU's first triple of the season in the evening contest against the Crusaders.
- Nina Del Rio became the fifth CSU player to connect on a home run and the third freshman to put one out of the park. She joins fellow first years Madison Koger (1) and Taylor Gleason (2) to touch all four bases this season.
- Emily Visnic became the second freshman pitcher to start a game this season after taking the circle to start the contest against N.C. Central.
- Mallory Kasinger and Jade Gandara lead the Bucs with nine RBI apiece early in the season.
- Gandara (12), Kasinger (10), and Koger (10) all have double-digit hits for CSU on the season.
- The Bucs will look to pick up their second consecutive winning weekend heading into Sunday's game against N.C. Central. CSU went 3-1 last weekend in the Wingate by Wyndham Invitational.
Charleston Southern closes out the weekend tomorrow afternoon with a 3 p.m. first pitch against N.C. Central at the CSU Softball Field.