CSU softball beats Winthrop, 3-2, in 12 innings

Natalie Yonan connected on the walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th inning to propel Charleston Southern to a 3-2 win over Winthrop in the rubber match Saturday at the CSU Softball Field.

With the international tiebreaker in effect, Georgi DeLio started off at second base to open the bottom of the 12th. Brook Richardson dropped down a bunt single, beating the throw to first, to put runners on the corners with none out. Yonan followed with a line-drive base hit up the middle on the first pitch she saw from Winthrop reliever Dallas King (3-9) in setting off the celebration on the field.

“Sometimes you just need to find a way to get the win,” said CSU head coach Shane Winkler. “It’s not the way we drew it up, but we found a way to go out there and win a one-run game. We didn’t do it the way we expected, but we did enough today to get the job done.”

The walk-off single was the Bucs’ sixth walk-off hit of the season and Yonan’s first in the 2015 campaign as CSU improves to 26-16 on the year, 8-4 in Big South Conference play with the win.

“From the fourth inning one we kept telling the team to keep fighting and competing and finding ways to get runners on,” said Winkler. “The wind was blowing in today and no one had the pop to get one out of here but Marci (Christian), so we needed to find a way to get the job done. Natalie (Yonan) is tailor-made for that situation. She’s a contact hitter that can put balls in play and with her coming up, I thought we were in a good position.”

Yonan’s late-game heroics at the plate would not have been possible without Christian’s game-tying solo home run into the wind in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game up at 2-2 off of Winthrop reliever Sara Allen. The blast, her league-leading 18th of the season, was also the 37th home run of her career as the redshirt senior surpassed former CSU great Jana Matthews’ (2010-13) career mark of 36 home runs, putting Christian atop the CSU record book.

“Marci, I can’t say enough about what she’s done here,” Winkler commented. “She’s been through every injury possible from head-to-toe and she’s come out swinging throughout it. It would be fun to see what a 100 percent healthy Marci Christian could do, because you wouldn’t be able to pitcher to her. She’s managed to keep it together and continues to swing it. Right now, she’s as hot at the plate as I’ve ever seen her.”

Jennifer Giles (10-8) was the difference in the game inside the circle for the Bucs after entering the game in the top of the third inning. The senior right-hander went the final 10 innings, allowing five hits and two unearned runs, while striking out nine in the contest. She retired 10 batters in a row at one point and only allowed one hit past the fifth inning, a single by Maddie Antone in the top of the eighth in picking up her 10th win of the season.

The College of Charleston completed a doubleheader sweep of Delaware in Colonial Athletic Association on Saturday at Patriots Point.

The Cougars claimed 2-1 and 5-3 victories over the Blue Hens behind senior Mackenzie Maples and sophomore Samantha Martin.

CofC (19-18, 4-4 CAA) broke a four-game losing streak and gave the Cougars possession of fourth place in the CAA.

The teams will complete the series with a single game Sunday afternoon with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. at Patriots Point.

Cougar pitchers Hope Klicker (9-11) and Samantha Martin (8-7) offered dominant outings and controlled the Blue Hens, combining for only two runs on five hits in 12 2/3 innings of work including seven strikeouts and one walk. Both Delaware runs surrendered by the pair were solo homer runs. Martin earned both victories against the Blue Hens after Klicker left game one with a no decision.

The Cougars outhit Delaware 17-9 with eight of them coming from Taylor DuPree and Mackenzie Maples. Maples paced the CofC at the plate going 4-7 on the day, including a home run, four RBIs, two runs scored and a walk. She was responsible for both runs in game one while contributing three RBIs in game two.

Tennis

College of Charleston men’s tennis extinguished James Madison’s attempts to push its win streak to five as the Cougars handed the Dukes a 6-1 loss Saturday at the Hillside Courts in Harrisonburg, Va.

JMU (8-9, 2-3 CAA) won the first doubles match on court two before CofC (13-8, 2-1 CAA) claimed the next wins at the first and third seeds to claim the doubles point. Charleston then reeled off four unanswered wins in singles before the Dukes could get on the board with a three-set victory on court two. Sophomore Vasily Kichigin ended the afternoon with a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 victory as CofC’s number four seed to finish the Cougars’ 6-1 triumph.

Following JMU’s 8-4 doubles win on court two, juniors Josh Record and Garrett Gordon, who paired up for the first time all year on court three, pulled out an 8-5 victory over Maxi Branth and Alex Berdnikoff. Senior duo Brice Allanic and Alon Faiman, who have paired up for the Cougars’ top doubles spot for the last five matches, clinched the doubles point with a 7-2 tiebreak over JMU’s Miljan Ruzic and Sebastian Salinas.

Charleston carried its momentum into singles with Allanic and Gordon earning straight-set victories at the top and the bottom of the lineup to push the Cougars to a 3-0 lead. Faiman’s 6-2, 6-3 win over Stephan Goldman at the No. 5 spot clinched the match for College of Charleston, giving the Cougars a 4-0 lead and ensuring the team’s second conference win of the year. The match is Faiman’s fourth straight win of the year, with three of them coming at the No. 5 spot.

Junior Zack Lewis, who lost his first set against fourth-seeded Branth, stormed back to win the next two 6-3, 6-1 and capture his 14th singles win of the season, tying him for the lead with senior Charlie Ghriskey. On court two, Ghriskey’s opponent needed three sets and two tiebreaks to defeat the Mount Kisco, N.Y., native, giving JMU its only point of the match.