Softball Crosses Town to Face Charleston Southern
GLANCING AT THE COUGARS
CofC had put together an 11-game winning streak which they saw snapped when they were dealt three tough losses against Southern Conference-leading Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Ga., this past weekend.
The margin between victory and defeat was narrow in all three contests and a matter of inches on several plays made the difference. CofC equaled the Eagles with 18 hits on the weekend but were doomed by Georgia Southern's eight extra-base hits compared to CofC's three.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) overcame a game-two loss and was named the SoCon Pitcher of the Week with the help of the 16-strikeout perfect game she threw on Tuesday, April 10. On the week, Klicker maintained a 1.05 ERA and 1-1 record in the circle in 13.1 innings pitched. She had 25 total strikeouts on the week against just five hits and one walk.
The Cougars, now batting .279 as a squad, are led offensively by lefty Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.) batting .330 on the season. Jarrett has started every game at second base and her ability to get on base from the nine-spot in the lineup has provided the Cougars with an extra leadoff hitter when they turn the lineup over.
Jarrett is one of four hitters batting over .300 and is joined by Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) at .311, Corthell at .307 and Maples at .301.
CofC and Georgia Southern now both have 1.85 team ERAs to sit in a tie atop the SoCon. The Cougars rank second in the league in team fielding and third in team batting.
Stephanie Saylors (Easley, S.C.) still remains atop the league in individual ERA with her 1.39 mark through 146.0 innings pitched this season while Klicker is in fourth with a 1.76 ERA after 103.1 innings in the circle.
Perhaps more impressively, Saylors' ERA sits at 24th in the nation and anchors the Cougar pitching staff which ranks 18th nationally despite having weathered nine games against top-50 hitting teams.
The Cougars have been successful in getting their leadoff hitters aboard this season. The Cougars have a team batting average of .296 and on-base percentage of .334 to leadoff all innings this season.
The Cougars also have strong numbers with runners in scoring position with a .283 (106-for-375) batting average. In bases-loaded situations, the Cougars have delivered to the tune of a .378 average with 35 RBIs in 37 at bats.
SCOUTING THE BUCCANEERS
CSU is coming into the game as the second-best team in the Big South Conference after picking up a series victory over Campbell this past weekend. CSU dropped game one of the series but regrouped to take the remaining two.
The Bucs put together one of their more complete pitching performances of the season in Saturday's second game, as Jen Giles and Morgan Dowdy continued to shine in the circle by teaming to strike out 10 in a complete game shutout after falling in game one.
The Bucs, like the Cougars, have been able to depend on strong pitching this season. Dowdy's 2.08 ERA ranks 92nd in the nation and the Bucs' team average of 2.40 is good enough for 58th nationwide.
Offensively, it's crowded at the top of the Buccaneer lineup as Jasmine Conley, Sheila Tomlinson and Kristen Kelleher are all with .003 of each other in batting average. Conley and Tomlinson are both hitting .333 this season with Kelleher just behind with a .330 average.
Megan Lombard is one of two Bucs with a team-high five home runs this season. Lombard owns the CSU record for career long balls with 25. Stephanie Sbardella also has five this season.
Ten of CSU's last 13 games have been decided by one run. The Bucs are 5-5 in those contests during that span, and 9-9 in such contests for the season.
This will be the 64th meeting between these two Holy City opponents. The Cougars control a 38-25 advantage in the series and have now claimed three straight victories over CSU which is the longest streak for either team since the Cougars won 13 straight from 2001-07.
Earlier this season, the Cougars swept a doubleheader with 3-0 and 3-1 victories at Patriots Point on Feb. 22.
Saylors recorded her career-high strikeout total with 12 as she limited the Bucs to three hits and four total base runners in game one. Klicker pitched the first five innings of the second game and earned the win behind five strikeouts and no earned runs.
Hodgson hit a two-run home run in both games and had five RBIs on the day.
MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE FOR THE DOUBLEHEADER
CSUSports.com will provide live stats and play-by-play for the doubleheader.
FOLLOW THE COUGARS
Another great way of keeping up with the CofC softball team is through the team's own Twitter account (@CofCSoftball). The account provides pictures, team activities, statuses when the team is on the road and in-game thoughts and updates.
The Cougars will stay in the area to host UNC Greensboro in another pivotal SoCon series at Patriots Point over the weekend. The teams will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday, April 21 at 1 p.m. and the finale on Sunday, April 22 at 1 p.m.
Saturday will be Senior Day when the Cougars will honor the career of their lone senior, Amanda Lonergan.