BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Charleston Southern split with Gardner-Webb on the final day of the Big South softball weekend series as the Buccaneers took the first game, 9-1, while falling in the series finale, 18-9.
CSU (25-19, 6-6) took the opening game of the day as the two teams concluded the contest that was halted due to rain on Saturday afternoon. Gardner-Webb (22-18, 6-6) scored at least four runs in four of the five innings in final game of the day to take the series from the Bucs.
Both games were run-rule affairs as the Big South's top two offenses in 2018 took the field together. Altogether, the sides combined for five home runs and 16 extra base hits over the two games.
Game One: Charleston Southern 9, Gardner-Webb 1 (5 inn.)
Charleston Southern sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the first inning highlighted by Jade Gandara and Mallory Kasinger back-to-back home runs as the Buccaneers jumped out to the early lead over the Runnin' Bulldogs. Play was suspended in the top of the third inning following rainfall at Brinkley Stadium, but CSU responded with runs in both the third and fifth innings to secure the conference win.
The Bucs scored seven runs in the top of the first inning to secure the early lead over the Runnin' Bulldogs. Jade Gandara and Mallory Kasinger connected on back-to-back one-out solo home runs to put the first two runs on the board. Nina Del Rio doubled in Annie Bakenhus for the third CSU run, while Sarah Brown scored on an error by the GWU catcher. Holly Clark, Madison Koger, and Meghan Gagliano added runs in the inning as the Bucs took the early 7-0 lead against the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Play was suspended in the top of the third inning following Gagliano's one-out walk as rainfall descended on Brinkley Stadium. When play resumed, Gagliano stole second base to advance into scoring position. Following Emberson's groundout, Gandara connected on the RBI single to centerfield to take the 8-0 lead.
Bakenhus drove in the final CSU run of the contest in the top of the fifth. Gandara drew a one-out walk and Taylor Gleason entered to run. She advanced to second on a walk and took third on a wild pitch before Bakenhus connected on the sacrifice fly scoring Gleason to take the 9-0 lead.
Maddi Johnson brought home Kaylee Wacaster in the bottom of the fifth for GWU's lone run in the contest before Nicole Ayala closed out the contest in the circle.
Laken Myers (4-5) suffered the loss in the circle after allowing all nine runs (four earned) and nine hits while walking five.
Del Rio led CSU's efforts at the plate with a 3-for-3 performance including a pair of doubles, while Gagliano scored two runs.
Game Two: Gardner-Webb 18, Charleston Southern 9
Gardner-Webb's top of the lineup went a combined 14-for-15 from the plate with 16 runs scored and 11 RBI as the Runnin' Bulldogs jumped ahead early and never slowed down in taking the series finale from the Bucs.
GWU scored four runs in the first, five in the second, four in the third, and five in the fourth to secure their second win of the series over the Bucs. The five-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth held off a late CSU rally as the Bucs scored nine runs over their final three at-bats in attempt to get back into the game.
Katie Prebble, Kaylee Wacaster, and Maddi Johnson all connected on RBI doubles in the bottom of the first to help GWU to the early lead.
Prebble's two-run shot in the bottom of the second highlighted the five-run inning by the Runnin' Bulldogs as GWU took the 9-0 lead after two innings.
Caitlyn Emberson took one back for CSU in the top of the third as the junior catcher connected on the one-out solo shot over the left field fence.
Katie Stettler's RBI double sparked a four-run GWU inning in the bottom of the frame to propel the Runnin' Bulldogs to the 13-1 lead.
CSU fought their way back into the game with a six-run inning in the top of the fourth. Emberson connected on a pair of RBI singles in the inning, while Sarah Brown cleared the bases with a three-run double to centerfield to highlight the Bucs' offensive efforts in the inning.
Andria Booth connected on an RBI double in the GWU bottom half of the frame before Wacaster's walk-off grand slam sealed the Gardner-Webb win.
Alyssa Heinrich (7-2) suffered the loss after going the first inning and allowing seven hits and nine runs. Ashley Wark (14-10) recorded the win for GWU after going 4.1 innings and allowing 11 hits and nine runs (five earned).
News & Notes
- Caitlyn Emberson ran her on-base streak to 23 consecutive games following her 4-for-4 performance in the series finale against Gardner-Webb. She had a trio of singles to go with her solo home run to extend the third-longest on-base streak in CSU history.
- Emberson's solo shot, her sixth of the season, made her the fourth Buccaneer to reach at least six home runs in 2018.
- Meghan Gagliano connected on her first collegiate extra base hit with her double in the final game of the series against Gardner-Webb.
- CSU's stolen base streak ended at 12 consecutive games as the Bucs failed to record a steal in the series finale against the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Charleston Southern returns home for a midweek doubleheader against Furman on Wednesday afternoon at the CSU Softball Field. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. on the Big South Network.