FARMVILLE, VA – No. 4 Charleston Southern was swept by No. 1 Liberty and No. 5 Winthrop on Thursday afternoon as the Buccaneers saw their season come to an end at the Big South Conference Championship.
CSU (26-36) was plagued by five errors on the day and were unable to spark a rally at the plate. The Bucs started the day strong, putting up three runs in the first inning in game one against Liberty. The Flames offense rallied back and scored 11 unanswered runs to take CSU in five frames.
After defeating Winthrop in game one of the Big South Championship, CSU was shutout by the Eagles, 8-0, in Thursday's elimination game. Kiley Majette led Winthrop with a dominant performance in the circle, pitching for eight strikeouts and holding the Bucs to two hits in the complete game effort.
Game One: Liberty 11, Charleston Southern 3
Errors in the field and cold bats consequently dealt Charleston Southern an 11-3 loss to No. 1 seed Liberty on Thursday afternoon in game four of the Big South Championship at Lancer Field.
After a hot offensive start, the Buccaneers' defense couldn't keep pace as four errors in the field allowed Liberty (36-20) to score three unearned runs.
Mallory Kasinger led the Buccaneers at the plate with a two-run home run for the freshman's eighth on the year. Jade Gandara also brought in a run for the Bucs with a hard hit double to center field in the first frame. Seniors Amanda Matsumoto, Stephanie Bergmann and Georgi DeLio rounded out the Bucs' five hits.
Holly Clark (8-11) paced CSU in the circle with four strikeouts through three innings and allowed seven earned runs in the loss. Reliever Arizona Pilgrim entered the game in the bottom of the third recording one strikeout while allowing one earned run.
CSU took the lead early scoring three runs off of three hits in the first inning. Stevi Johnson reached base on a walk and Gandara connected for an RBI double to left center. With two outs, Kasinger cleared the bases with a shot to deep left center for the 3-0 Buccaneer advantage after half an inning.
Liberty's offense answered back in the bottom of the frame with a two-out rally. Tori Zavodny connected for a single, and an RBI double from Alexia Taylor put the Flames on the board. A dropped fly ball allowed Taylor to score to pull Liberty within one.
Big South Pitcher of the Year Julia DiMartino struck out the Bucs' first batter to open the second inning. Georgi DeLio followed with a single hit up the middle, but DiMartino thwarted CSU's attempt at another rally by retiring the next two batters. The Flames' ace finished the day with five strikeouts and three earned runs in the complete game effort.
Liberty tied the game up in the bottom of the second. With two outs, Jasmeen Clark reached base on a walk and advanced to home on a Autumn Bishop single to center field, setting the score at 3-3 after two complete frames.
The Bucs went hitless in the third inning, but the Flames bats stayed hot. Liberty pulled ahead in the bottom of the frame with a three-run homer from Jaclyn Amader for the 6-3 Flames' advantage.
DiMartino set the Bucs' side down in order in the fourth frame, and the Flames scored four more runs off of two hits and two CSU errors for the 10-3 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Matsumoto led CSU off with a single down the left field line to open the fifth frame, but was left stranded as DiMartino retired the Bucs' next three batters.
Autumn Bishop opened the bottom of the fifth with a single up the middle. Sister, Amber Bishop, reached base on a fielder's choice and a CSU throwing error gave up the run for the 11-3 Liberty victory after five frames.
Game Two: Winthrop 8, Charleston Southern 0
Dominant pitching pushed Winthrop past Charleston Southern, 8-0, in Thursday's Big South Championship elimination game at Lancer Field.
Kiley Majette held the Bucs to just two hits and retired eight batters on strikes in the complete game effort. Arizona Pilgrim (9-11) opened the game in the circle for the Bucs with one strikeout and two earned runs through four innings. Reliever Holly Clark entered the game in the fifth and Nicole Ayala closed out contest with a scoreless pair of innings.
After three scoreless innings, Maddie Antone led Winthrop off with a double to left center in the top of the fourth. After loading the bases with one out, Ansley Gilreath connected for single through the left side to score two and give the Eagles the 2-0 advantage.
Winthrop added five more runs with four hits in the fifth frame for the 7-0 lead after four and a half innings. Majette set the Bucs down in order to close out the fifth frame and Ayala responded by holding the Eagles to just one hit in the top of the sixth.
A CSU fielding error allowed Winthrop to get its eighth run across in the top of the seventh for the 8-0 lead heading into the Bucs' last at-bat.
Taylor Powell led CSU off with a single to center field and Stephanie Bergmann followed with another base hit to center for the Bucs' second hit of the game. A wild pitch allowed both runners to move up, but Majette thwarted the comeback attempt by retiring CSU's next three batters to eliminate the Bucs in the 8-0 Big South Championship defeat.