SB Preview: Bucs continue conference play with weekend matchup against Presbyterian

SB Preview: Bucs continue conference play with weekend matchup against Presbyterian

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Big South Conference play is back in Charleston this weekend as the Buccaneers host Presbyterian College for a three-game series heading into the Easter Weekend. First pitch in the opening game on Friday afternoon is set for 4 p.m. at the CSU Softball Field. Saturday's doubleheader is slated to begin at 1 p.m.

The Buccaneers have continued their March struggles this month after falling in a midweek matchup at College of Charleston on Tuesday evening. The Bucs have fallen in nine of their last 11 games dating back to the final day of the Holy City Showdown hosted by CofC at the Patriots Point Athletic Complex.

CSU Softball Game Notes vs. Presbyterian

CSU's Tuesday evening defeat to College of Charleston was particularly tough for the Bucs as CSU sprinted ahead with a three-run lead early and held the 4-2 lead over the Cougars late. However, a trio of errors in the bottom of the fifth helped CofC overcome the early deficit in taking the non-conference win between the local rivals.

The Buccaneers two wins during the stretch have both come in Big South Conference play over the last two weekends with CSU taking the series finales at Winthrop and at home against Longwood. CSU utilized the long ball in the 5-2 win over the Eagles with Caitlyn Emberson and Jade Gandara both homering at Winthrop. Arizona Pilgrim's dominant performance in the circle against the Lancers this past weekend guided the Bucs to the 4-2 win in the series finale.

CSU's schedule continues to remain Big South heavy the rest of the way as the Bucs feature only midweek contests against College of Charleston, Savannah State, Furman, and South Carolina left in 2018.

Live Stats for all games this weekend can be accessed on the CSU Softball schedule page with in-game updates provided on the CSU Twitter accounts, @CSUSports and @CSUGameDay

Facing Presbyterian
Presbyterian has struggled throughout the 2018 season as the Blue Hose enter the weekend having been swept in conference play by both Gardner-Webb and Liberty. The Blue Hose surrendered eight runs in each of the three games against the Flames this past weekend in Clinton, S.C. and will be looking to end a six-game losing streak when they take the field on Friday afternoon.

PC's season has been difficult for the Blue Hose this year as Presbyterian struggled early in the year falling in its first six games. Presbyterian picked up its first win of the season at the Cougar Classic with a 10-5 extra-inning victory over Iona. PC embarked on a 14-game losing streak over the next three weekends prior to picking up a midweek victory over East Tennessee State on March 14.

The Blue Hose enter the weekend with a 2-25 overall record and a 0-6 record in Big South play on the season. Presbyterian was selected seventh overall in the conference preseason poll after receiving 16 votes by the head coaches. The Blue Hose went 18-32 overall in 2017 with a 7-14 record in conference play.

Macy Hyatt has been the Blue Hose leader at the plate this season with a team-best .310 batting average in 71 at-bats. Megan Anderson is the power leader at the plate with a team-high seven doubles and 16 RBI, while four different PC players have connected on home runs in 2018.

Kaylee Allen boasts the most starts (13) and appearances (21) by a Blue Hose pitcher in the 2018 season as well as the most innings (70.0) and strikeouts (40). Alex Cook has also been among the team leaders with 18 appearances and three complete games to her credit in 2018.

The Bucs and Blue Hose have faced each other on the field since the 2007 season when the Bucs swept a doubleheader against the Blue Hose at the CSU Softball Field. CSU also swept the inaugural Big South matchup between the two teams in the 2009 season with a trio of wins at home against the Blue Hose. The Bucs hold the 23-16 all-time advantage against the Blue Hose, but PC has held the upper hand recently with wins in eight of the last 10 games between the two teams.

 

Last Season Against Presbyterian
Presbyterian took two of the three games last season in Clinton, S.C. with the Blue Hose falling in the opener before taking the final two contests.

Game One: CSU 6, Presbyterian 5
After six scoreless innings, Charleston Southern rallied during their final at-bat and top Presbyterian at PC Softball Field, 6-5.

Game Two: Presbyterian 4, CSU 1
Charleston Southern was unable to thwart an early lead put up by Presbyterian and fell to the Blue Hose, 4-1, at PC Softball Complex.

Game Three: Presbyterian 7, CSU 6
Untimely Charleston Southern errors matched with the consistent bats of Presbyterian as the Blue Hose pushed past the Buccaneers, 7-6, in Sunday's series finale at PC Softball Complex.

Quick Hits
>Jade Gandara continues to be a force at the plate for the CSU lineup in the 2018 season. The junior outfielder leads the Bucs in runs scored (25), hits (40), home runs (11), RBI (36), batting average (.417), and slugging percentage (.833).
>Mallory Kasinger has also proven to be adept at the plate this season with the sophomore utility player hitting .327 from the plate to go with a team-high eight doubles. She is also second on the team with eight home runs and 29 RBI.
>Caitlyn Emberson has continued to be effective for CSU this season. The junior utility player leads the team with 23 walks on the season to go with 12 hit by pitches on her way to leading the team with a .496 on-base percentage. She added a pair of doubles on Tuesday night to sit tied with Kasinger with eight doubles.
>Five newcomers and eight players overall have hit home runs in 2018. Freshmen Nina Del Rio (5) and Sarah Brown (6) have provided pop in the middle of the lineup for the Bucs.
>Freshmen Meghan Gagliano (17) and Kendall Anderson (17) have helped a speedy CSU lineup on the season with the duo combining for 34 of the Bucs' 66 stolen bases on the season.
>Junior Arizona Pilgrim and sophomore Holly Clark have combined for 38 appearances and 28 starts over CSU's 35 games played this season. Pilgrim leads the Bucs with seven wins and 60 strikeouts. Clark is among the team leaders with six wins and four complete games to go with a team-high 15 starts.
>Freshman third baseman Sarah Brown has been one of the top infielders in the Big South this season with the athlete sitting among the conference leaders with a team-high 80 assists on the year.

NCAA Top 50 Categories
The Bucs sit in the top 30 in two different offensive team categories and have players ranked in the top 50 in nine different individual categories following the conclusion of the second weekend of Big South conference action.
 
CSU's early season power surge continues to pace the Buccaneers' offense this season. The Big South leader with 40 home runs, CSU is 13th in the nation in home runs per game at 1.14. The power bats' effectiveness has also led to CSU ranking 31st in slugging percentage (0.472).
 
Speed has also been a major factor for the Bucs in 2018 with two players ranked among the top three in the Big South in stolen bases on the year. As a team, CSU is 24th in the NCAA with 1.89 stolen bases per game.
 
Junior slugger Jade Gandara has been a force at the plate for the Bucs and her contributions have her dotted in multiple NCAA individual categories on the year. Gandara is 18th in the NCAA in RBI (40) and 15th in the country in total bases (80). She is 13th overall in home runs (11), 21st in home runs per game (0.35), 29th in RBI per game (1.20), and 30th in slugging percentage (0.833).
 
Fellow junior utility player Caitlyn Emberson has been effective in the leadoff spot at the top of head coach Shane Winkler's lineup. Emberson is 18th in the NCAA in hit by pitches per game at 0.37.
 
Sophomore utility player Mallory Kasinger is also among the NCAA's leading sluggers sitting 47th in the nation in total home runs with eight. 
 
Freshman speedster Meghan Gagliano is 40th in the NCAA in stolen bases per game with 0.59.

 

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