Lady Gamecocks capture doubleheader sweep of CCU

The Coastal Carolina softball team fell in both ends of a non-conference doubleheader at South Carolina Wednesday evening as the Gamecocks held on for a 5-3 victory after pulling away for a 10-2 six-inning win in the opener.

The Chanticleers (23-17) battled their intrastate rival from the SEC in a seesaw nightcap, but a seventh-inning rally came up short. South Carolina improved to 21-17 with the two victories.

Coastal took the early lead in the second game on Cacia Pierre’s two-out single past the diving shortstop that scored Bri Chiusano. Chiusano had led off with a single to left and moved to second on a groundout.

The Gamecocks tied it in the bottom of the inning as Dana Hathorn singled with two outs and scored on a double to center by cleanup hitter Kristen Struett.

South Carolina then took a 2-1 edge in the second, capitalizing on a hit batter, stolen base and throwing error to score on an infield single.

Jessie Winans quickly tied it back up on the first pitch of the third on a line-drive home run to left, her fourth of the season. Chiusano and Pierre then teamed up again to put the Chants ahead 3-2. Chiusano singled to left again and advanced to second a sacrifice by Kiana Quolas before Pierre dropped a blooper into left field.

However, South Carolina came back to score two in the bottom of the inning. After another hit batter and a walk, Chelsea Hawkins hit a two-out triple to the gap in right-center to make it 4-3.

Alaynie Page’s fifth home run of the year upped the lead to 5-3 in the fourth.

The Gamecocks loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth, but Ashley Bagwell got an inning-ending lineout to center to keep it a two-run deficit. She then stranded two more runners in the sixth.

However, CCU was unable to generate any offense against freshman pitcher Katie Marks. After entering in relief in the third inning, Marks retired 10 batters in a row before Sara Rasley drew a leadoff walk in the seventh. Pinch-hitter Paige Goldsack was then hit by a pitch and a sacrifice bunt by Winans moved the runners into scoring position. However, an unorthodox double play thwarted the Chants’ last chance. Chiusano grounded out to the pitcher and pinchrunner Morgan Noad was caught going too far past second and could not get back ahead of the tag after the throw from the first baseman.

Pierre and Chiusano each finished with two of Coastal’s five hits. Bagwell (9-7) allowed four earned runs on eight hits, struck out three and walked four. She also hit four batters.

Marks (6-7) didn’t allow a hit while striking out three and walking one.

In the opener, South Carolina collected six hits in the first inning to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Samie Garcia led off by winning a nine-pitch battle against Quolas, hitting a 3-2 offering over the right-field fence. The Gamecocks followed that with three straight singles to load the bases and made it 2-0 on an RBI groundout. Designated player Ashlyn Masters then hit a two-run single to right.

The Chanticleers were able to quickly cut the deficit in half in the second on a two-run homer by Paige Goldsack over the fence in left-center. Brooke Donovan had singled with two outs ahead of Goldsack’s third home run of the season.

Photo courtesy of USC Athletics

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