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Courtesy: CofCSports.com

Softball Returns to SoCon Action

Courtesy: CofCSports.com
          Release: 03/16/2012
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MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - The College of Charleston softball team returns to Southern Conference competition this weekend as CofC plays host to Samford in a three-game set at Patriots Point. Both teams will be seeking their first conference win of the season.

Samford (5-17, 0-3 SoCon) @ College of Charleston (12-11, 0-3 SoCon)
Saturday, March 17 - 1 p.m. (doubleheader)
Sunday, March 18 - 1 p.m.
Patriots Point (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
Webstream - Live Stats - Twitter

GLANCING AT THE COUGARS
The Cougars returned to their winning ways and got back above .500 with a doubleheader sweep of UNC Wilmington at Patriots Point on Wednesday afternoon.

Stephanie Saylors (Easley, S.C.) and Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) both pitched complete games and only allowed one run between them. Saylors struck out nine batters and allowed just two hits in her shutout effort before Klicker pitched the second game with six strikeouts and just one base on balls.

Amanda Lonergan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) had three hits against UNCW in going 2-for-3 in the opener and 1-for-3 in game two. She stroked a triple in game two and scored on the play when the relay throw from left field scooted into the third-base dugout.

Lonergan has seen her batting average increase steadily now that she has base hits in four straight as well as five of six games. Lonergan's performance in the Wednesday doubleheader helped her eclipse the .300 mark and she now hits .304 on the year.

Junior second baseman Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.) continues to see her batting average rise as well and leads the Cougars with a .382 mark. Jarrett has been swinging a hot bat and has seven hits in the Cougars' last seven games against NC State, Chattanooga and UNCW. Jarrett leads the team in runs scored (12) and stolen bases (5) as well.

Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) is CofC's big-hit threat as the sophomore has five home runs and 10 extra-base hits, both of which are team highs for the Cougars. Hodgson also leads the team in RBIs with 12 and is batting .356 on the season.

Kristy Giragosian (Charlotte, N.C.) continues to find ways to get on base and now has an eight-game reaching base streak.

Saylors was named the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Month for February after going 5-1 in the pitching circle and posting a 0.86 ERA in 40.2 innings of work. Over the course of the month, she threw a perfect game, struck out 53 hitters and allowed just 21 hits, four walks and five earned runs.

The magic number for CofC this season has been three. The Cougars are 1-10 when scoring less than three runs and 11-1 when scoring three runs or more. On the other side, CofC is 11-2 when holding opponents under three runs and 1-9 when surrendering three or more.

CofC's record this season would be no different if a regulation softball game was only four innings. In every CofC game this season, the team leading after the fourth inning has gone on to win. The Cougars are 9-0 when leading after the fourth and 0-10 when trailing after four. The Cougars are 3-1 in games which were tied at the end of four innings.

SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Samford is off to a 5-17 start to the season after Thursday's win over South Alabama put the brakes on an eight-game losing streak for the Bulldogs. Samford benefitted from homeruns by Misha Aldridge and Madison Dickey to come away with the 5-3 victory.

Prior to Thursday night, Samford's last win was on March 3 against Columbia which stopped a five-game skid at the time. The win was their only one in 14 attempts leading up to the South Alabama showdown.

The losses have seemed to come in streaks for the Bulldogs as they've had to suffer through four, five and eight-game losing skids this year.

Samford ranks seventh in the SoCon in both team batting average (.253) and team ERA (5.34).

Julianne Surane has the highest batting average of the team with a .389 mark but she only has 18 at-bats on the year. Of the regular starters, Shelby Scott leads the club with a .340 batting average.

The Thursday homeruns for Aldridge and Dickey were the third of the season for both players. Dickey leads the team in RBIs with twelve.

Samford has been susceptible to surrendering early leads as the Bulldogs have been outscored 31-9 in the first inning this season.

THE SERIES
Samford holds an 8-5 edge in the relatively young all-time series as the Bulldogs were the last softball program to join the SoCon in 2009.

Samford has claimed two of three regular-season series from the Cougars.

The Bulldogs claimed last season's series after sweeping the atypical Thursday doubleheader in Birmingham, Ala. The Cougars bounced back to claim the Friday finale behind a complete-game two hitter dealt by Saylors.

CofC evened the 2011 series when the Cougars had the last laugh and eliminated Samford on day three of the Southern Conference Softball Championship in Statesboro, Ga. Samford took an early lead but Hodgson reached base four times and hit a three-run homerun to give the Cougars a lead they would never relinquish. Saylors earned the win in that contest as well.

In the only series played at Patriots Point, the Cougars took two of three and outscored the Bulldogs, 14-4, in the 2010 campaign.  

TICKET INFORMATION
Since CofC baseball is also in action this weekend, admission will be charged at the gate and fans will be able to move back and forth between the sports at their leisure. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for youths.

CofC will be celebrating Military and First Responder Appreciation all weekend and grant two free tickets to anyone in uniform or with valid ID.

The marketing department will also be distributing special green CofC shirts in honor of St. Patrick's Day.

On Sunday, fans can take advantage of the Family Four Pack which is good for four tickets, four hot dogs and four drinks, two popcorns and one candy for the low price of $25.

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE FOR THE SERIES
Fans unable to make it to Patriots Point for live and in-person softball action will be able keep up with the plays on their computers and mobile devices. CofCSports.com will provide both a live webstream and live stats with animated play-by-play.

The webstream requires a subscription but offers a multiple-camera broadcast with play-by-play commentary and analysis. The live stats are available at no charge.

Webstream

Live Stats

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. 

ON DECK:
The Cougars will stay at home for a midweek doubleheader against Coastal Carolina on Wednesday, March 21 at 4 p.m. Last season, the Cougars went to Conway, S.C., and swept the Chanticleers by a 10-1 aggregate score.

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