KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Charleston Southern fell twice to open the Tennessee Invitational on Friday as the Buccaneers fell to South Alabama and No. 5/5 Tennessee at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. The Bucs dropped the opener to the Jaguars, 4-3, and then fell in the afternoon contest to the Volunteers, 13-1.
South Alabama 4, Charleston Southern 3
South Alabama (9-8) halted Charleston Southern's eight-game winning streak on Friday morning as the Buccaneers' late-inning rallies were not enough to push CSU ahead of the Jaguars late in the opening game of the Tennessee Invitational.
Charleston Southern loaded the bases in the sixth inning and then had runners on the corners in the seventh, but the Bucs were unable to come up with the timely hit to keep the Winkler-era best winning streak alive as the Jaguars held off CSU.
Mallory Kasinger homered in the third straight game to give the Bucs the early lead off USA starter Devin Brown (7-4). Kasinger's two-run shot in the bottom of the first inning cleared the left field fence at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium and scored Kendall Anderson to stake the Bucs to the 2-0 advantage after the first.
USA battled back in the third frame as Haleigh Lowe connected on a bases-loaded two-run single to right field scoring MC Nichols and Taylor Stevens. Kristian Foster followed with a sacrifice fly scoring Kaleigh Todd to give the Jaguars the 3-2 lead.
Hannah Smith provided insurance for the Jaguars in the top of the sixth inning with a one-out double to left field scoring Amanda Flynn.
The Bucs battled back in the bottom of the sixth as Caitlyn Emberson drew a leadoff walk and then moved to third on Jade Gandara's double to right field. Kasinger brought home her third RBI of the game with an infield single scoring Emberson to cut the Jaguars' lead to one.
Meghan Gagliano came into run for Kasinger and promptly picked up her 12th stolen base of the season to put two in scoring position. Sarah Brown was hit by a pitch to load the bases with none out before Brown pitched the Jaguars out of the jam. The next three CSU hitters were unable to bring the tying run home to send the teams into the seventh inning.
CSU starter Arizona Pilgrim (4-2) pitched around a two-out single to give CSU a chance in the seventh inning. Annie Bakenhus drew a one-out walk and then stole second during Emberson's at-bat. Gandara struck out swinging for what looked to be the third out of the inning, but the ball squirted away from the USA catcher allowing Gandara to reach first and Bakenhus advance to third. Brown followed with her third strikeout of the inning and 11th of the game to close out the contest and secure the Jaguars' win.
Kasinger led CSU's efforts at the plate with two of the Bucs' four hits and all three RBI in the contest. Haleigh Lowe paced the Jaguars with a 2-for-4 performance and a pair of RBI.
Pilgrim went the distance for her second complete game of the season in taking the loss. The CSU junior right-hander allowed five hits and four runs (three earned) while striking out six in the game.
Brown matched the Buccaneers' starter in the circle for the Jaguars, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out 11 in the game.
No. 5/5 Tennessee 13, Charleston Southern 1 (5 inn.)
Tennessee took advantage of four Charleston Southern errors to take a commanding lead early as the Buccaneers fell for the second time on Friday to the Volunteers.
After a scoreless first inning, the Volunteers took advantage of four CSU errors in the frame to take the early 4-0 lead. Cailin Hannon brought home the first run of the game on an infield error. Aubrey Leach added to the lead with an RBI single, while Jenna Holcomb reached on a second error bringing home CJ McClain. Meghan Gregg closed out the scoring with an RBI single.
Tennessee added five more runs to their total with McClain, Leach, and Gregg all bringing in runs, while Chelsea Seggern's two-run double capped the frame giving the Volunteers the 9-0 lead.
Leach added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth with a single, while Gregg drew a bases-loaded walk and Amanda Ayala's fielder's choice brought home Leach to put the score at 13-0.
The Bucs cracked the scoreboard in the top of the fifth against reliever Gabby Sprang. Laina Holmgren started the two-out rally in the frame by getting hit by a pitch. Sydney Garling and Annie Bakenhus followed by drawing walks to load the bases. Caitlyn Emberson brought home the run after drawing a walk.
Caylan Arnold picked up the win allowing one hit over the first four innings while striking out seven.
News & Notes
- Kasinger homered for the third consecutive game with her two-run shot against South Alabama marking the second time in her career she has rattled off a stretch like this. The Riverside, Calif. native homered in the first three games of her collegiate career in 2017.
- Pilgrim matched her season-high with six strikeouts against the Jaguars. She matched her total from the 8-0 win over N.C. Central on February 18.
- Gagliano's speed has become a weapon in the CSU lineup as the freshman outfielder stretched her streak to four consecutive games with a stolen base against the Jaguars before the streak was snapped against the Volunteers. She has recorded at least one steal in eight of the last 10 games and nine of the last 12.
- The Bucs' loss to Tennessee was the first time CSU has been run-ruled in the 2018 season.
Charleston Southern continues the Tennessee Invitational on Saturday morning against Toledo at Sherri Parker Lee Stadium. First pitch against the Rockets is set for 10 a.m. The Bucs' afternoon game has not been set as the teams will begin seeded play.