SAVANNAH, Ga. - Charleston Southern took both ends of the doubleheader at Savannah State on Thursday afternoon as the Buccaneers survived a late Tigers' rally to complete the season sweep over SSU. The Bucs took the opener, 5-1, and then recorded the final out at the plate in the 9-8 doubleheader finale.
Nina Del Rio and Caitlyn Emberson both homered to help pace the Bucs (24-17) to the win over the Tigers. Annie Bakenhus and Mallory Kasinger also added extra-base hits to help CSU's offense defeat Savannah State (8-17) for the third time in the month.
Holly Clark (7-5) and Emily Visnic (2-3) both recorded wins in the circle for CSU, while Alyssa Heinrich recorded her second save of the season after going the final 2.2 innings in relief in the second game of the doubleheader.
Game One: Charleston Southern 5, Savannah State 1
Charleston Southern plated two runs in the third and three more in the fifth as the Buccaneers topped Savannah State in the first game of the doubleheader at the Lady Tiger Softball Field.
CSU took advantage of six Savannah State errors in the contest and Nina Del Rio connected on the game-capping two-run home run in the top of the fifth to power the Bucs to the win. Taylor Gleason added a pair of singles to highlight CSU's offense in the game.
After a pair of scoreless frames to open the game, CSU struck for two in the top of the third. Destini Ewing drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on Madison Koger's error. Annie Bakenhus followed with a sacrifice fly to left field bringing home Ewing to put the Bucs ahead 1-0. Three batters later, Koger crossed the plate on a wild pitch to double the Bucs' lead.
Nina Del Rio's two-run shot in the fifth highlighted a trio of runs scored in the frame as CSU took the 5-0 lead. Mallory Kasinger scored the first run in the inning as the sophomore crossed the plate on the centerfielder's error on Sarah Brown's connection. Del Rio followed with a two-run shot down the left field line for her sixth home run of the season.
SSU plated its lone run in the bottom of the fifth as Shelby Eccles scored on an error by the CSU first baseman.
Alyssa Heinrich surrendered just a one-out single in the bottom of the seventh inning in retiring six of the last seven batters to close out the contest.
Holly Clark went the first five innings allowing three hits and a run while striking out three in her seventh win of the season. Faith Dickerson (0-7) suffered the loss after allowing six hits and five runs (one earned) over 5.0 innings.
Game Two: Charleston Southern 9, Savannah State 8
Sarah Brown relayed the throw home to nab Kameryn Baker at the plate to end the game and secure Charleston Southern's sweep over Savannah State.
CSU held the 9-7 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh when Savannah State started their comeback. Kelsey Cyrus led off the inning against Alyssa Heinrich (S, 2) with a double down the left field line. Baker added a single down the line one out later to put two runners on. Eccles' grounder put both runners in scoring position with two outs. Brianna Harris brought home Cyrus with an infield single, but Brown threw out Baker at the plate as she attempted to score the game-tying run.
Heinrich went the final 2.2 innings in relief allowing three hits and a run scored while striking out one in her second save of the season. Emily Visnic took her second collegiate win of the season after allowing seven hits and five runs (three earned) over the first four innings.
Tanisha Williams (2-2) suffered the loss after allowing seven runs while walking six over the first four innings. Hannah Deckle went the final three innings in the circle for the Tigers.
Savannah State put the first run across the plate in the bottom of the first inning as Eccles scored on Harris' groundout to third.
The Bucs responded with two runs in the top of the second to take the lead. Bakenhus provided the big hit in the frame as she followed up Destini Ewing and Meghan Gagliano's back-to-back two-out walks with a two-run double to centerfield putting CSU ahead 2-1.
Four more runs came across the plate in the top of the third inning with Holmgren's pinch-hit two-run single key to CSU's scoring in the frame. Ewing drew a leadoff walk to score Kasinger for the first run. Holmgren followed with a base hit to left field scoring Summer Moore and Sarah Brown to put CSU ahead 5-1. Ewing scored on a wild pitch for the final run in the inning.
Shayna Byers and Elizabeth Humes connected on a run-scoring single and an RBI double in the bottom of the inning to cut the CSU lead to 5-3.
Emberson's solo home run led off CSU's top of the fourth inning, while Madison Koger scored on an errant throw on her stolen base attempt in the fifth inning to add to CSU's lead.
The Tigers scored runs in the bottom half of the fourth and fifth frames with Baker, Harris, Cortni Jones, and Eccles all driving in runs.
CSU took the 9-7 lead in the top of the seventh to score the all-important insurance run. The Bucs pulled off the two-out double steal with Holmgren swiping second and Taylor Gleason scoring on the play to stake CSU to the two-run advantage.
Savannah State's rally fell short at the plate in the seventh as the Bucs closed out the win.
News & Notes
- Caitlyn Emberson ran her team-best on-base streak to 20 games following the sweep over the Tigers. Emberson was hit by a pair of pitches in the first game, while her fifth home run of the season extended the streak in the final game of the day.
- Emily Visnic recorded her second win of the season after making just the second start of her collegiate career in the final game of the doubleheader. Visnic's first start came on February 17 against N.C. Central, while her first win came in her last appearance against Presbyterian on March 31.
- Nina Del Rio homered for the first time since March 4 against Toledo with her two-run shot in the first game. It was her sixth home run of the season.
- CSU's four stolen bases over the course of the doubleheader give the Bucs 86 steals for the season. The Bucs are six stolen bases away from tying the single-season mark of 92 set in 1993 with 15 games still to play in the 2018 regular season.
- CSU has stolen at least one base in each of the last 10 games and has homered in eight of the last nine. The Bucs entered the week as the only team in the NCAA Division I to sit among the top 15 in both home runs and stolen bases per game.
Charleston Southern returns to Big South play this weekend with a three-game series at Gardner-Webb starting on Saturday afternoon. First pitch in the doubleheader is set for 2 p.m. at Brinkley Stadium with the contest to be streamed live via ESPN3.