SB Preview: Bucs take on CofC and Savannah State in midweek action

SB Preview: Bucs take on CofC and Savannah State in midweek action

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern takes on two non-conference foes in midweek action this week as the Buccaneers welcome College of Charleston to the CSU Softball Field on Tuesday while traveling down to Savannah State on Wednesday afternoon.

The Bucs game against the Cougars on Tuesday afternoon will be streamed live via the Big South Network with first pitch set for 4 p.m. Wednesday's contest will be CSU's return trip down to Savannah State with the first pitch slated for a 3 p.m. start time.

It will be exactly one week since the Bucs last faced off against the Cougars. CSU made the trip down to Patriots Point on Tuesday night this past week and surrendered a late rally to CofC to fall, 7-4.

College of Charleston took advantage of three CSU errors to rally for five late runs to complete the comeback despite the power bats of Sarah Brown and Caitlyn Emberson pacing the offense.

Brown connected on her sixth home run of the season early in the contest and Emberson added a pair of doubles to highlight a CSU offensive effort that produced three runs in the top of the first inning as the Bucs jumped ahead early. However, CofC rallied back behind the complete-game effort from Summer Jenkins to take the win between the crosstown rivals.

It marked CofC's 13th consecutive win over the Buccaneers dating back to the 2013 season. However, the Bucs rebounded over the weekend and snapped a skid with a Big South Conference sweep over Presbyterian on Friday and Saturday.

Annie Bakenhus paced the Bucs' efforts over the three-game series against the Blue Hose with the junior centerfielder connecting on her second home run of the season to spark the Bucs on Saturday afternoon. She added a pair of singles in the series finale to jumpstart the offense in CSU's 7-0 victory.

Alyssa Heinrich was equally as impressive this weekend with the freshman pitcher going 10.0 innings in the circle on the week and surrendering just one hit while striking out three. Included in her body of work was her first collegiate save following a pair of shutout innings against PC on Saturday afternoon, as well as a complete game one-hitter in the series finale.

Charleston Southern closed out the weekend with 13 stolen bases on the weekend with seven different players recording a stolen base as the Bucs continued to showcase its speed in 2018. CSU closed out the weekend with 79 team stolen bases on the year and sits second all-time in the Bucs' record books. The single-season team record of 92 steals was set in the 1993 season.

Among the base-stealing leaders include a pair of freshmen that are running away with the Big South individual championship race right now. Meghan Gagliano paces the lead with 21 steals on the year, while Kendall Anderson is close behind with 19 stolen bases. Gagliano's mark is tied for ninth all-time in the single-season record books, while Anderson is tied for 11th.

Heinrich's complete game shutout snapped a span of 16 games since the Bucs held their last opponent scoreless. The CSU pitching staff has combined for seven shutouts in 2018 with the last coming on March 7 against Savannah State. Five pitchers combined to allow just two hits against the Tigers in the 8-0 win.

The Bucs' sweep over the Blue Hose improved CSU's Big South record to 5-4 on the season following the three wins over Presbyterian. It was CSU's first conference sweep since the Bucs took all three games on the road last season at Campbell on May 5-6. It was also the Bucs' first home conference sweep since CSU took a trio of games against Presbyterian in the 2009 season from March 27-28.

The Bucs also hit 20 wins for the ninth time in head coach Shane Winkler's 10-year tenure at CSU. He previously hit 250 career wins earlier this season and has a chance to reach 100 career Big South wins in 2018 as well.

Jade Gandara continues to sit among the Big South leaders in multiple categories this season after returning to the lineup this past weekend. Gandara is third in the conference in batting average (.406) and slugging percentage (.792), RBI (38), home runs (11), and total bases (84).

Caitlyn Emberson continues to reprise her role atop the CSU lineup with the junior catcher sitting among the conference's best in on-base percentage. Emberson carries a 17-game on-base streak heading into the week and leads the conference in hit by pitches (16) and walks (24).

Scouting College of Charleston
College of Charleston enters the Tuesday matchup coming off a series win over Drexel this past weekend at Patriots Point. The Cougars swept the Friday doubleheader against the Dragons, but Drexel rallied back with a 6-4 win on Saturday to salvage the final game of the weekend.

The Cougars took the first matchup against the Buccaneers on March 27 to improve to 4-0 against Big South opponents on the season. CofC previously topped Longwood, Gardner-Webb, Winthrop, and CSU this season.

Taylor DuPree leads the Cougars and the Colonial Athletic Association with a .452 batting average on the season. She boasts a team-high 52 hits and 33 runs scored to go with 12 stolen bases. Kelly Sinclair is also among the team leader with a .371 batting average and nine doubles, while Jordin Jones paces CofC with four home runs.

Izzy Berouty and Summer Jenkins have been the Cougars' leaders in the circle in 2018. Berouty has a team-high 26 appearances and 20 starts to go with a 12-6 record. She boasts a 3.30 ERA in 131.2 innings. Jenkins, who earned the win against CSU in the first game, is 8-7 on the year with a 3.97 ERA.

Scouting Savannah State
Savannah State enters the Wednesday afternoon contest coming off a series win over North Carolina Central. The Tigers took the first and third games over the weekend against the Eagles to improve to 8-15 on the season.

SSU fell in the first matchup against the Buccaneers but rebounded to top Radford two days later to move to 1-1 against the Big South on the season. In the win over the Highlanders, Brianna Harris paced the offense going 3-for-4 from the plate with a run scored, while Amanda Hallman recorded a pair of RBI.

CSU dominated the Tigers in the first matchup. Eight different players recorded hits and five different pitchers made appearances in the circle for CSU as the Bucs snapped a five-game losing streak with the run-rule victory over SSU.

Harris leads the Tigers' offensive efforts with a .417 batting average and a team-high 30 hits and 19 runs scored. Cortni Jones paces the power efforts with five home runs and a team-high 16 RBI.

Hallman is the pitching leader in the circle for the Tigers this season with a team-high 12 appearances and 11 starts this season. She boasts six complete games and two shutouts to go with a 4.43 ERA and 42 strikeouts. Hannah Deckle has also seen action in the field with 12 appearances in the circle.

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