CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern was unable to hold off a late Winthrop rally in the Big South Softball Championships First Round as the No. 5 Buccaneers fell to the No. 4 Eagles, 6-3.
The Buccaneers (18-36) await to see who they will face in tonight's elimination game as CSU will take on the loser of the game between No. 3 Campbell and No. 6 Radford. The Camels and Highlanders are next on the field at Amanda Littlejohn Field with first pitch set for 2:30 p.m.
CSU utilized the long ball in their first postseason appearance under head coach Venus Taylor as Jade Gandara and Madison Koger both connected on home runs to stake the Bucs to the early lead. Brooklynn Brewington added another multi-hit performance to spark the CSU offense.
Winthrop (27-23) rallied back in the bottom of the sixth inning with Morgan Lowers' bases-loaded double scoring three runs to put the Eagles ahead late in the contest. Kiley Majette also added an RBI double in the sixth to help spark the comeback.
Arizona Pilgrim (10-20) suffered the loss in relief for the Bucs after going 3.1 innings. The senior right-hander allowed four hits and five runs while striking out two. Holly Clark went the first 2.1 innings in the start, while Emily Visnic closed out the sixth by retiring the lone batter she faced.
Majette (9-13) picked up the win in the circle after throwing three innings of one-hit relief. Madyson Watson earned the no-decision after allowing four hits and three runs over the first four innings.
How They Scored/Key Situations
- Charleston Southern's defense was on point early as the Buccaneers converted inning-ending double plays in each of the first two innings.
- Brooklynn Brewington was involved in both plays as the freshman shortstop caught the line drive and relayed the throw to Summer Moore to double the runner off first in the opening inning. She was the recipient of the throw in the second inning as Koger caught the line drive and threw out the runner at second base.
- The Bucs struck in the scoring column in the third inning as Gandara connected on her fourth home run of the season. Brewington reached on a one-out bunt single before Gandara connected on the two-run shot to left field putting the Bucs ahead early.
- Winthrop took one back in the bottom of the inning as Ashley Westbrooks' sacrifice fly was deep enough for Taylor Charlton to score to narrow CSU's lead down to 2-1.
- Koger added to the Bucs lead in the fifth as the sophomore second baseman drilled her third home run of the season just to the side of the camera stand in center field to put the Bucs ahead 3-1.
- Winthrop took advantage of four hits, including Lowers' key three-run double to put across five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Walker, Kamryn Culp, Reema Patel, Logan Well, and Blake Wallert all scored in the inning to put Winthrop ahead 6-3.
- CSU was unable to rally back in the seventh as Majette retired the side in the inning.
News & Notes
- Charleston Southern's postseason appearance was the first time since the 2017 season – the Bucs streak of 19 consecutive postseason appearances ended last season when CSU finished outside the top six.
- Jade Gandara's two-run home run was the 41st homer of her career, moving her within two of CSU's all-time career record held by Marci Christian (43, 2013-16).
- It was CSU's third multi-home run game of the season – the Bucs hit two against Radford back on March 16, and three on April 3 at Presbyterian.
Charleston Southern will face off against the loser of No. 3 Campbell/No. 6 Radford tonight in an elimination game in the 2019 Big South Softball Championships. First pitch on ESPN3 is set for 5 p.m.