CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern completed the weekend sweep at the Willie Jewell's Invitational as the Buccaneers defeated Hartford and St. Bonaventure on Sunday afternoon at the CSU Softball Field. The Bucs topped the Hawks in the first game of the day, 6-2, and then followed up with an 8-1 win over the Bonnies in the weekend finale.
CSU (12-3) ran its winning streak to seven games following the pair of victories on Sunday afternoon as the Bucs' bats connected seven extra base hits. Holly Clark (4-1) and Arizona Pilgrim (4-1) both provided strong starts in the circle as the duo both picked up their fourth wins of the season, while Nicole Ayala and Nina Del Rio provided shutout relief.
Del Rio provided plenty of fireworks at the plate with a home run in each game, while Annie Bakenhus had a pair of hits in both contests to lead CSU's offensive efforts.
Charleston Southern 6, Hartford 2
Charleston Southern broke open a scoreless game on Annie Bakenhus' two-run home run in the bottom of the third as the Buccaneers topped the Hawks for the second time this weekend.
After Clark and Hartford starter Bianca Ross (1-2) held the teams scoreless over the first two innings, CSU's bats broke through in the third. Meghan Gagliano sparked the rally with a leadoff bunt single. The fleet-footed freshman followed with a stolen base and advanced to third on a throwing error.
Bakenhus followed with her first home run of the season with the ball clearing the right field fence to give CSU the 2-0 lead. The Bucs continued the scoring in the frame with a two-out rally as Mallory Kasinger was hit by a pitch and Sarah Brown singled through the left side to set the table for Del Rio. The freshman drilled a three-run shot over the right field fence to put the Bucs ahead 5-0 after three innings.
The Bucs pushed across another run in the bottom of the fourth as Bakenhus again provided key offense in the frame. The junior centerfielder doubled down the third base line and then stole third to put herself in scoring position. Caitlyn Emberson followed with a sacrifice fly to right field bringing her home and giving CSU the 6-0 advantage.
The Hawks rallied back with a pair of unearned runs in the top of the fifth to cut into the CSU lead. Jillian Fenton scored on a throwing error for the first run of the inning. Nicolette Barranger followed with an RBI single to centerfield scoring Amber Mianti to cut the gap to 6-2.
Hartford attempted to rally over the final two innings, but Nicole Ayala proved to be the Hawks' match in pitching around a trio of singles to close out the victory.
Bakenhus led the Bucs' offensive efforts with a 2-for-3 performance at the plate, including a pair of RBI and two runs scored.
Clark picked up the win after going the first five innings. The sophomore ace allowed five hits and two runs while striking out one.
Charleston Southern 8, St. Bonaventure 1
Mallory Kasinger and Nina Del Rio homered in the bottom of the first inning and Arizona Pilgrim carried a perfect game through four innings as the Buccaneers closed out the weekend with an 8-1 win over the Bonnies.
Kasinger opened the scoring with a one-out two-run shot off starter Josie Borysevicz (0-2) to put the Bucs on the board early. Del Rio followed two batters later with a solo home run to right center giving the Bucs the 3-0 lead after the first inning.
Bakenhus continued her hot streak at the plate for the day with an RBI single to stretch the lead to 4-0. Gagliano led off the frame with a bunt single. She followed up with a pair of stolen bases to move to third, before Bakenhus' single up the middle brought her across the plate.
CSU brought four more runs home in the bottom of the fourth as the Bucs sent 10 batters to the plate in the frame. Del Rio, Destini Ewing, and Summer Moore all drew bases-loaded walks in the inning, while Emberson connected on an RBI single to stretch the lead to 8-0.
Hailey Blencowe broke up Pilgrim's no-hit attempt with a leadoff double down the left field line in the top of the fifth. She came around to score on Mikayla Short's two-out RBI single off Del Rio to keep the game alive.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the way as Del Rio and St. Bonaventure reliever Sydney Burk combined to allow three hits over the final innings of the game.
Pilgrim picked up the win going the first 4.1 innings and allowing one hit while striking out one.
Bakenhus again led CSU's efforts with a 2-for-2 performance from the plate, while Kasinger scored a pair of runs and drove in two RBI.
News & Notes
- Annie Bakenhus became the eighth CSU player to connect on a home run over the first three weeks of the season with her two-run shot against Hartford.
- Arizona Pilgrim, Holly Clark, and Alyssa Heinrich all have four wins in the circle in 2018 following the conclusion of the Willie Jewell's Invitational.
- Nina Del Rio became the second freshman to homer in back-to-back games this season for the Bucs, joining Taylor Gleason who accomplished the feat on February 16 against Valparaiso and Eastern Kentucky.
- The Bucs boast the longest winning streak in the Shane Winkler era as they stretched the streak to seven victories. The streak eclipses the six-game winning streak CSU sported from March 19-25 in the 2012 season.
- CSU connected on 12 home runs as a team this past weekend, improving their team total to 22 on the year.
- The Bucs' game against Hartford featured the fourth time this season CSU's pitching staff did not surrender a walk over the duration of the game.
Charleston Southern closes out its 16-game homestand to open the 2018 season on Wednesday afternoon as the Buccaneers host St. Bonaventure at the CSU Softball Field. First pitch between the Bucs and the Bonnies is set for 2 p.m.