Lady Chants swept by pair of top-12 teams at USF tourney

The Coastal Carolina softball team dropped a pair of games to ranked teams Friday in the USF 4 Team Tournament in Tampa, Fla.

The Chanticleers fell to No. 4 Tennessee 8-0 in six innings, before suffering a tough 5-2 defeat to 12th-ranked South Florida in the nightcap.

The Chants are now 2-5 on the season, despite battling USF (5-1) in a back-and-forth contest.

The game was tied 2-2 when a controversial call helped the Bulls score three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. With runners on first and third and one out, USF’s Stephanie Medina sent a fly ball to left that was caught by a charging Kiana Quolas, who then delivered a perfect one-hop throw home to Morgan Noad. The freshman catcher was able to tag the runner for an apparent inning-ending double play. However, the home plate umpire ruled Noad for catcher interference with the swing of Medina and awarded her first base to load the bases. The next batter, Lee Ann Spivey singled to right to score two runs and the Bulls later added run on a wild pitch.

Coastal had a chance to answer in the top of the sixth as Beth Kassuhn reached on an error, Bri Chiusano had a bunt single and Brooke Donovan walked to load the bases. However, USF reliever Lindsey Richardson struck out Kory Hayden to end the inning. The Chanticleers finished the game with 10 runners left on base.

Already warmed-up following a 7-0 win over N.C. State to start the day, Tennessee kept its bats going against the Chants. The Vols totaled 11 hits – all singles – off of starter Quolas en route to earning their fourth eight-run rule victory of the season.

Tennessee (7-0) used two hits and an error to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second before plating three more runs on three hits and an error in the fourth.

Coastal, meanwhile, was unable to generate offense against Tennessee starter Erin Gabriel, a freshman righthander who was a two-time Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year and three-time ESPN high school All-American. The Vols’ No. 3 pitcher recorded eight strikeouts against the Chanticleers, walked one and allowed just one hit – a leadoff single by Pierre in the fifth inning. Four of the eight runs allowed by Quolas (1-2) were earned. She struck out two and walked two.

Coastal wraps up pool play in the tournament against N.C. State Saturday at 11 a.m., then will play a semifinal game later in the afternoon at a time to be determined.

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