ROCK HILL, S.C. - Jesse Burleson's two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth inning helped offset a Charleston Southern rally on Friday night at Terry Field as the Buccaneers fell in the Big South opener at Winthrop, 6-3.
Mallory Kasinger tied the game up for CSU (16-12, 0-1) in the top of the fifth with a two-run home run off of WU starter Kiley Majette (6-4) to even the game at 3-3. The Eagles (10-9, 1-0) responded with a trio of runs in the bottom of the frame highlighted by Burleson's home run to retake control of the contest on their way to taking the conference-opening win.
Arizona Pilgrim (6-5) went the distance in the circle for the Bucs with the junior right-hander pitching around 11 hits and six runs while striking out six in the loss. Majette gave up eight CSU hits and walked four while striking out two in the complete game win.
The Eagles wasted little time jumping ahead in the contest as the first four batters in the bottom of the first inning connected on singles with Ansley Gilreath's base hit plating the first two runs of the game. Tori Walker added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to stake the Eagles to the 3-0 lead.
Sarah Brown put the Bucs on the scoreboard in the top of the third inning for their first run against Majette. Taylor Gleason led off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on Caitlyn Emberson's single. Jade Gandara followed with a walk to load the bases. Two batters later, Brown cashed in with a single to left field scoring Gleason for CSU's first run of the game.
Emberson sparked the Bucs' rally in the fifth inning with a leadoff single to left center. Meghan Gagliano entered to run and took second on Gandara's foul out down the left field line. Kasinger followed with a first pitch home run to right center tying up the contest at 3-3.
The Eagles responded in the bottom of the inning with Majette connecting on the go-ahead RBI single scoring Blake Wallert. Burleson followed two batters later with the two-run home run to left field staking Winthrop to the 6-3 lead.
The Bucs put runners on base in both the sixth and seventh innings as cSU attempted to fight their way back into the game. Gleason and Madison Koger pulled off a one-out double steal in the sixth to put runners in scoring position, and Destini Ewing and Nina Del Rio drew a two-out walk and a single to put two runners on in the seventh, but Majette pitched the Eagles out of the situation in both frames to secure the win.
Emberson and Brown led the Bucs' offense on the day with the duo both posting 2-for-4 performances from the plate.
News & Notes
- Mallory Kasinger's home run was her seventh of the season and her first in 11 games since last homering on March 2 against South Alabama at the Tennessee Invitational.
- Three different Buccaneers recorded stolen bases in the contest with Sarah Brown (6), Madison Koger (2), and Taylor Gleason (2) running CSU's season total to 49 steals on the year.
- Burleson's home run was only the 10th home run given up by the CSU pitching staff in 2018. Conversely, Kasinger's two-run shot was the Bucs' 33rd team home run this season.
Charleston Southern and Winthrop conclude the weekend series tomorrow afternoon at Terry Field with a doubleheader slated to start at 1 p.m.