CHARLESTON, S.C. - Arizona Pilgrim pitched Charleston Southern to its fourth shutout of the season and Summer Moore connected on the walk-off RBI single as the Buccaneers topped North Carolina Central on the final day of the Buccaneer Invitational, 8-0.
Pilgrim (1-1) recorded her first shutout win of the season as the junior hurler faced two batters over the minimum in the five-inning contest. Pilgrim allowed singles in the first and fifth innings, retiring 14 batters in-between in the process of closing out the complete game bid.
Jade Gandara homered in both the first and third innings to spark the CSU (6-3) offense on the afternoon. Sarah Brown added a solo shot, and Nina Del Rio added a pair of RBI doubles as the Bucs picked up their third shortened victory of the season.
Gandara (2-for-3) and Del Rio (2-for-2) both recorded multi-hit games on the afternoon as the CSU bats connected against N.C. Central starter Lauren Sitterson (0-1). Sitterson went the first 2.2 innings allowing four hits and four runs while walking three. Courtney Mirabella pitched 1.1 innings of hitless relief before Claire Eosso allowed four runs (two earned) in the final inning.
After Pilgrim pitched around a leadoff single in the top of the first, Gandara put the Bucs on the board with her first home run of the weekend. The junior right fielder drilled Sitterson's first offering over the left field fence to stake the Bucs to the 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, after a leadoff walk to Caitlyn Emberson, Gandara worked a 1-1 count before driving a high changeup over the right centerfield fence to put CSU ahead 3-0. Mallory Kasinger and Del Rio both connected on doubles in the frame with Del Rio's bringing home Christi Takac to stretch the advantage to 4-0.
Brown sparked the four-run inning in the bottom of the fifth to close out the contest. The freshman third baseman drove a one-out, 1-2 pitch high over the left field fence to put CSU ahead 5-0. Kendall Anderson followed with a chopping infield single and advanced to second when the first baseman misplayed the throw. Del Rio followed with a line drive off the left field fence for her second RBI double of the contest.
Three batters later, Summer Moore connected on a bloop single to shallow right field scoring Del Rio. The right fielder's relay to third sailed over the fielders and bounced away from the defense allowing Madison Koger to score on the play and ending the contest.
News & Notes
- CSU's four shutouts over the opening two weekends are the most by a Buccaneer team in the Shane Winkler coaching era.
- Pilgrim becomes the second pitcher on the staff to record a complete game shutout in the season, joining Holly Clark (2) with the distinction. Alyssa Heinrich and Emily Visnic combined for the shutout victory over North Carolina A&T.
- The Bucs posted winning records in each of the first two tournaments of the season for the first time since the 2016 season.
- Jade Gandara's pair of home runs were the first time a CSU player connected on two four-baggers in a contest since Lexie Vanada achieved the distinction on May 5, 2017, against Campbell.
- Kendall Anderson recorded the first collegiate hit of her CSU career with her single in the bottom of the fifth inning.
- CSU recorded a season-high four stolen bases in the contest with Meghan Gagliano (2), Annie Bakenhus, and Mallory Kasinger all picking up steals on Sunday afternoon.
- Through the first two weeks of the season, Gandara leads the Bucs in hits (14), home runs (3), RBI (12), and batting average (.500).
- Sarah Brown became the fourth freshman in the CSU lineup to homer in the 2018 season, joining Taylor Gleason (2), Nina Del Rio, and Madison Koger who all connected on home runs over the weekend.
- Sunday's effort was the third time this season the Bucs' pitching staff did not issue a free pass in the game. The Bucs have allowed 11 walks as a team in 2018 and boast a 2.13 ERA over the first nine games.
Charleston Southern remains at home next weekend as the Bucs welcome St. Bonaventure, Hartford, and George Mason to the CSU Softball Field for the Willie Jewell's Invitational. The Bucs will play all three opponents twice over the three-day tournament starting on Friday afternoon with St. Bonaventure at 1 p.m.