MT. PLEASANT, S.C. - The College of Charleston softball team took two games from South Carolina State in a Tuesday evening doubleheader at Patriots Point. CofC downed SC State by 5-3 and 6-1 counts with a combined 25 hits between the two games.
Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) picked up the game one win with five innings of shutout softball. The freshman struck out four batters and allowed just three hits.
Stephanie Saylors (Easley, S.C.) snagged the win in the late game with an impressive 4.2 inning appearance in which she struck out 10 hitters and gave up just one hit. The Bulldogs' first hit in the fifth inning broke Saylors' streak of 11.1 consecutive scoreless innings.
Amanda Lonergan (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) went 3-for-3 in the first game with an RBI and a double. Kristy Giragosian (Charlotte, N.C.) had a pair of RBIs in the second game by way of her first career home run and an executed squeeze bunt.
GAME ONE: CofC: 5, South Carolina State: 3
The Cougars moved out to a 5-0 lead over the first four innings to provide Klicker the run support she needed to claim the win. The Bulldogs chipped away at the lead over the late innings but CofC limited their comeback effort to three runs.
The Cougars started early with a leadoff single by Lizzy Vaughn (Placerville, Calif.) after which she made an alert play on the base paths to steal second base. Lonergan later doubled to the fence to plate Vaughn.
CofC added to the lead in the third when Carly Corthell (Reno, Nev.) legged out a bunt single, stole second and then took third on an infield single by Lonergan. Corthell took the plate on a double steal maneuver and Lonergan scored on a single up the middle by Klicker.
The Cougars insured their lead further in the fourth with a two-out rally sparked by an infield single by Ashton Jarrett (Hanahan, S.C.). Vaughn then tripled to the opposite field to score Jarrett and Corthell singled to bring Vaughn to the plate and put the Cougars up 5-0.
The Bulldogs went to work in the sixth and came away with a run after a walk, fielder's choice and RBI double from Mikala Johnson. They tried to cross two runs on Johnson's double but the relay throw from Katie O'Brien (Middletown, N.J.) in left to Vaughn at shortstop to Courtney Clark (Tampa, Fla.) at the plate was in time to get the out.
The Bulldogs plated two more in the seventh by way of a hit, walk and fielding error but could get no closer in the comeback effort.
GAME TWO: CofC: 6, South Carolina State: 1
Saylors started the second game and pitched 4.1 innings perfectly to earn her fourth win of the season as the Cougars outhit the Bulldogs by a 12-2 count. Clark belted two triples and picked up a run and RBI in the game as well.
The Cougars took the early lead in the second inning when Lauren Pasquale (Zephyrhills, Fla.) led off with a single and scored on Clark's first triple of the game.
Vaughn led off the third with a triple of her own which she sent deep into the corner in right field. The next batter, Corthell, then sent a fly ball to center which was deep enough to score Vaughn and grant Corthell the RBI and sacrifice fly.
The Cougars blew the game open with a rally in the third initiated by Giragosian's line-drive home run to left field. Then, Jarrett and Vaughn both boarded the bases before Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) and Pasquale singled to drive the score to 5-0.
In the fifth, the Cougars scored for the fourth consecutive inning when Clark tripled once again and Giragosian brought her to the plate with a perfectly-executed squeeze bunt.
The Cougars fly out west for a three-game set against No. 15 Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. The first game is set for 8 p.m. on Friday, March 2. The teams will play single games on both Saturday and Sunday as well before the Cougars return home to host NC State.