Lady Chants win series on Winans’ walk-off home run

Jessie Winans hit a game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to give the Coastal Carolina softball team a dramatic 6-4 victory over Campbell Saturday night in the finale of the teams’ Big South Conference series at Carolina Forest High School.

The Chanticleers took two of three in the series and improved to 18-12 overall and 5-1 in Big South play. Campbell dropped to 18-11 and 4-2 in the conference.

After the Camels evened the score at 4-4 with a run in the top of the seventh, the game appeared headed for extra innings, but Coastal made sure it didn’t get to that point. With one out, Desiree Zaragoza lined a pinch-hit single to right in just her third at-bat of the season and advanced to second right away on a wild pitch. Winans then hammered the next pitch from Campbell reliever Brittany Arnn over the centerfield fence for the first walk-off homer of her career.

It was one of three home runs for Coastal in the game as Kory Hayden hit her 10th of the season in the first inning and Paige Goldsack hit a two-run shot in the fourth. Seven different Chants each contributed one hit in the game.

Kiana Quolas went the distance in the circle for her third win this week and improved to 10-5 on the season. She allowed two earned runs on seven hits, struck out six and walked one.

Winans’ homer capped a seesaw battle between two of the conference’s top teams in a key early conference series.

Quolas pitched out of early trouble in the first as Campbell put its first two batters on with a walk and single. However, the sophomore got a groundball back to her and teamed with third baseman Kory Hayden in turning a double play, then struck out cleanup hitter Stephanie Jones.

Hayden then homered to center off of Campbell starter Julia Callicutt with one out in the bottom of the inning for a 1-0 Chants’ lead.

Campbell came back to score two runs in the top of the second on a hit batter and three straight hits. However, Beth Kassuhn threw out limited the damage by throwing out the Camels’ runner trying to score from third on a flyout, for an inning-ending double play. Kassuhn also made two other catches just in front of the fence in the game.

Coastal tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the second. Jazmin Daigle hit a leadoff single, stole second and hustled home when Campbell third baseman Brittany Bruce dropped a high pop-up off the bat of Winans with two outs.

Goldsack’s two-run homer in the fourth then gave Coastal a 4-2 lead. Brooke Donovan hit a one-out single to center before Goldsack crushed an 0-2 pitch well over the fence in left for her second homer of the season.

The Camels cut their deficit to one with a run in the top of the fifth on a single, one of the team’s six stolen bases, a passed ball on a third strike and a CCU error.

Quolas retired the Camels in order in the sixth, but they were able to push across the tying run in the seventh. Shaela Womack led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error. Campbell’s pinch-runner then went to third on a sacrifice and scored on a groundout to Goldsack at first.

Coastal returns to action Friday, March 29 when it travels to Gardner-Webb for a doubleheader to begin a three-game series.

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