CCU sweeps top-seeded Radford to reach title game

The No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina Chanticleers upset No. 1 seed Radford 3-2 in the 2012 Big South Softball Championship on Saturday afternoon at the Radford Softball Field in Radford, Va.

Coastal improves to 41-18 on the season, while Radford moves to 34-20.

The Chants came out strong, scoring first before holding the Highlanders to a three and out. Sarah Maples hit a triple down the left field line after taking the first pitch for a strike. Brooke Donovan then hit a single up the middle to advance Maples home to put Coastal ahead 1-0.

Both teams were held scoreless in the second and third. During the bottom of the fourth inning with runners on second and third and two outs Morgan Eye hit a single up the middle that scored Michelle Beall and Micalah Sacre to give Radford the 2-1 advantage. Jessie Winans then had a strong catch to end the inning, as she caught a line drive ball from Nichole Beall.

Coastal responded in the top of the fifth when Sarah Maples recorded her third hit in three at bats, hitting a home run to left field that tied the score at two apiece. The Chanticleers then posted their second three and out against the Highlanders in the bottom of the inning.

In the top of the fifth Coastal threatened to regain the lead when Stacy Snellings hit a single up the right field line that advanced Chelsea Pineda to third, but during the next at bat the Highlanders closed out the half inning by successfully collecting the pop up.

The score remained tied 2-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning. Winans reached base on a single to left field in the Chanticleers first at bat and she advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Maples. Donovan then hit a single to center field during the Chants next at bat that moved Winans to third base. Winans advanced home when Kiana Quolas hit a hard ball to the third baseman who could not cleanly collect the ball. The shortstop ended up picking the ball up and getting Quolas out at first. Radford picked up the third out before any more runs were scored by Coastal.

Nichole Beall got Radford into scoring position as she reached base after being hit by a pitch. She advanced to third when Vicki Madden hit a single to right field and Coastal recorded an error with one out. The Chants picked up the final two outs of the inning on a strike out looking and a ground out to the shortstop before Beall could tie the game up.

Maples recorded three hits, two runs and an RBI in three at bats during the win. Pineda and Snellings each had two hits in three at bats. Donovan posted two hits and one RBI in four at bats. Winans recorded one hit and one run in three at bats, along with a team high six assists. Rasley finished the game with a team high 10 putouts.

Quolas earned the win from the circle after pitching a complete game, striking out two, walking two and allowing six hits in 32 batters faced. She has a 24-9 record for Coastal.

M. Beall had two hits and one run in four at bats for the Highlanders. Eye tallied one hit and two RBI in three at bats. Sacre posted one hit and one run in three at bats. Jessie Hutchens led the team in putouts with five and N. Beall recorded three assists.

Jackie Jenkins pitched a complete game, striking out two, walking two and giving up 10 hits in 32 batters faced.

The two teams will meet on Saturday at 5 p.m. with the winner advancing to the championship game of the Big South Tournament on Sunday, May 13 at noon . The game will be broadcast on ESPNU.

Photo by Joel Beachum

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