CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern softball continues its season-opening 16-game homestand 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.
It is a familiar opponent for the Bucs as CSU hosted St. Bonaventure this past weekend at the Willie Jewell's Invitational. The Bucs posted a 6-0 record over the weekend including a pair of wins in the opener and finale against the Bonnies.
In the first contest against St. Bonaventure, CSU's pitching made its' mark on the Bonnies as Holly Clark recorded her third shutout of the season. Clark faced three batters over the minimum and allowed singles in the second and fifth innings with the final coming on the game's last play on her way to picking up her third win of the year. The Siler City, N.C. native allowed one walk and struck out four in the complete-game effort.
The power bats arrived in the second game against St. Bonaventure as CSU tagged the Bonnies' pitching staff for a pair of home runs in the bottom of the first inning on their way to the 8-1 win. Mallory Kasinger and Nina Del Rio both left the ballpark in the first inning to help supplement Arizona Pilgrim's standout starting performance in the circle. Pilgrim carried a perfect game through the first four innings before Del Rio closed out the contest in the win.
Gandara paced CSU's offense with a team-high eight hits, seven runs scored, and six extra base hits, including a trio of home runs to lead CSU to a perfect 6-0 record on the weekend. Gandara added 10 RBI to her totals and a stolen base to lead the Bucs to a season-best seven game winning streak.
Clark recorded her team-leading third shutout of the season in the opener, and then added a win in the Bucs' final day against Hartford to record a 2-0 weekend at the Willie Jewell's Invitational. Clark made four appearances and three starts and included a shutout for her efforts.
The Bucs posted a 12-3 record at home over the first three weekends with losses to North Dakota and Valparaiso (twice). CSU's seven-game winning streak is the longest in Shane Winkler's tenure as the Buccaneers' head coach.
Gandara (.478) leads a potent CSU lineup that leads the Big South and is 17th in the NCAA in batting average. The Bucs as a team are hitting at a .337 clip from the plate with eight different players posting a .300 batting average or higher through the first 15 games.
Eight different Bucs have homered in the 2018 season paced by Gandara's six on the season. Mallory Kasinger and Nina Del Rio have four apiece on the year, while Sarah Brown (3) and Taylor Gleason (2) also have multiple home runs this year. The Bucs are tied for fifth in the NCAA with 22 home runs on the season.
St. Bonaventure enters the Wednesday contest after struggling this past weekend. The Bonnies fell in all five contests, including an extra-inning 9-8 affair to Hartford on Saturday morning.
Brooke Kane-Walker leads the Bonnies' offensive efforts with a team-high .364 batting average on the year, while Hailey Blencowe is hitting .313 over her first five games of the season.
Sydney Burk (0.00) boasts the best ERA out of the Bonnies' pitching staff, while Josie Borysevicz and Rylee Hehir both combined for 21.2 innings' pitched over the opening weekend.