CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern is teaming up with the College of Charleston to host the Holy City Showdown this weekend. The two teams will host at their respective venues over the four-day event starting on Thursday night at Patriots Point as CofC hosts Radford.
Saturday, February 23
UNC Wilmington vs. UMass Lowell - 10 a.m. (Live Stats)
Marshall vs. UNC Wilmington - 12:15 p.m. (Live Stats)
UMass Lowell vs. Charleston Southern - 2:30 p.m. (Live Stats)
Marshall vs. Charleston Southern - 4:45 p.m. (Live Stats)
Sunday, February 24
UNC Wilmington vs. Charleston Southern - 1 p.m. (Live Stats)
The Buccaneers (4-9) enter the contest after falling in a midweek contest on Thursday against South Carolina. CSU is looking to bounce back from its five-game skid as they wrap up the home tournament schedule at the Holy City Showdown.
Coming into the week, CSU's bright spots continue to abound this season as multiple athletes have stepped up to the plate and in the circle this season. Jade Gandara paces the Bucs with a team-best .367 batting average on the year, while Annie Bakenhus (.344), Caitlyn Emberson (.323) and Meghan Gagliano (.313) are also hitting above .300 this season.
Gandara, Emberson, and Madison Koger have all connected on home runs this year as a part of a CSU offense that has recorded 18 extra-base hits this year. Gandara and Bakenhus lead the team with a pair of doubles apiece.
Arizona Pilgrim (1-5) has been the ace in the circle early in the season for the Buccaneers. The senior right-hander has made seven starts and hurled four complete games on the year. She's thrown a team-high 41 innings' pitched to go with a 3.76 ERA. Junior Holly Clark has also seen time in the circle with seven appearances and two starts.
Dartmouth is the lone team in the field this weekend that has yet to start the 2019 season as the Big Green play their first two games of the year at the CSU Softball Field. Dartmouth will close out the weekend down at Patriots Point as a part of the jointly-held Holy City Showdown hosted between CSU and CofC.
First-year head coach Jennifer Williams leads the Big Green. The new skipper took over the reins of the program back in October coming from MIT where she was the winningest coach in program history. She posted a 168-122-1 record and took the Engineers to the Division III College World Series twice in the last three seasons.
She leads a talented group that competed for the Ivy League Championship last season and was selected second in the preseason poll with five first-place votes. The Big Green returns five all-conference selections from the 2018 season, including senior captains Morgan Martinelli and Taylor Ward, as well as 2018 Rookie of the Year Schae Nelson.
Heather Turner (2018 Second Team All-Conference selection) is the ace returning in the circle after posting a 10-7 record and 3.94 ERA in 74.2 innings' work. Micah Schroder paced the team with a .367 batting average with 13 doubles, six home runs, and 27 RBI at the plate.
Scouting UMass Lowell
UMass Lowell starts the weekend at the Patriots Point Athletic Complex before coming to Charleston Southern on day two of the Holy City Showdown. The River Hawks enter the weekend with a 2-3 overall record after posting both of their wins on opening day against Providence and Jacksonville on February 8. Since then, the team has dropped contests to Georgia Tech, JU, and Providence before making the trek down to Charleston.
Head Coach Danielle Henderson looks to build off the team's success this past season as UMass Lowell advanced to the America East Championship title game for the first time in program history. The fifth-year head coach returns a group that posted a 12-5 mark in conference play and was recognized as the No. 2 team in the preseason poll.
UMass Lowell returns 14 players from the 2018 squad with two already garnering recognition this season. Following the opening weekend's action, senior Sydney Barker was named the America East Player of the Week, while sophomore Lovina Capria received conference Pitcher of the Week recognition.
Barker leads the team at the plate early in the year with a .667 batting average and a team-leading two home runs on the year. Capria is the team leader in the circle with a 2.33 ERA with two starts and a complete game.
Marshall boasts a competitive resume as they take on the field at the Holy City Showdown. The Thundering Herd went 4-1 over their opening weekend at the USD Tournament with wins over California Riverside, San Diego, Cal Poly, and Portland State. They followed up with wins over Eastern Kentucky (twice) and Presbyterian last week at the Battle at the Beach.
Marshall makes its CSU debut on Saturday as the Thundering Herd will take on UNC Wilmington early, before playing the Bucs in the final game of the day. Marshall opens the weekend with UMass Lowell and Iowa State on Friday at Patriots Point.
Mya Stevenson paces Marshall at the plate with a team-leading .450 batting average and a pair of home runs. Aly Harrell (.400) is also among the team batting leaders with three home runs and nine RBI. Overall, six different players have combined to hit 10 home runs for the Thundering Herd over the first two weekends of the season.
Pitching has been the strong point on the season for Marshall with the staff compiling a 1.72 ERA over the first 10 games. Kailee Williamson (2-0) and Abigail Tolbert (4-2) have been the aces in the circle with the duo combining for 14 appearances and nine starts, as well as 66 of the 69 innings' pitched.
Scouting UNC Wilmington
The Seahawks face off against the Buccaneers in the final game at the CSU Softball Field this weekend. The Bucs-UNCW will play the Sunday afternoon game with first pitch set for 1 p.m.
UNC Wilmington enters the weekend with a 5-5 overall record after facing tough competition over the first two weekends. The Seahawks topped UNC Greensboro and Iowa State at the opening Joanne Graf Classic hosted by Florida State, before topping Howard and Rhode Island (twice) last weekend at their home Seahawk softball bash.
UNCW junior Rylee Pate headlines the team's efforts on the season after receiving week one CAA Pitcher of the Week honors. The right-hander went 2-0 with a 0.81 ERA over the opening weekend at Florida State and boasts a 2.29 ERA overall on the year. She and teammate Janel Gamache pace Wilmington with 12 combined appearances and eight starts, while seven different players have lined up in the circle this season.
Gabriella Hessenthaler boasts a team-best .412 batting average on the season with a pair of triples, while Jada Santiago is the team leader with two home runs. Gamache also doubles up at the plate with a team-best six doubles and 10 RBI on the year.
Charleston Southern is back in action again next weekend as the Bucs continue the tournament slate at the Duke Invitational on March 1-3.