The Winthrop softball team took a six-game win streak into Wednesday afternoon as the team opened up Big South Conference play with a doubleheader against Charleston Southern at Terry Field.
The first game saw very little action for the first few innings, as both teams struggled to get anything going in a defensive contest.
The first real scoring chance for Charleston Southern came in the top of the fifth inning as the Lady Bucs advanced a runner to third after a missed catch at first base that gave the visitors another runner.
Senior pitcher Sara Allen walked the next batter to load the bases with no outs, but a strong defensive stand and a strikeout from Allen would get the team out of the jam unscathed.
Winthrop responded in the bottom of the inning with a hit by freshman catcher Paige Haley that rocketed across the first base line. The Lady Eagle bats continued to warm up as a well-placed bunt by sophomore infielder Kim Ryder not only advanced Haley, but also put Ryder on base.
With two on and 1 out, sophomore leadoff hitter, outfielder Zharne Glover got a hit into deep left field that scored Hayley and gave the Lady Eagles a 1-0 lead. Charleston Southern managed to end the inning on a double play after Ryder was tagged out at home and Glover was tagged out attempting to take third base.
The Lady Bucs tied things up in the top of the sixth, as they had two on and one out when a hit into center field forced Winthrop to make a play for home.
Glover made the throw towards home, but it went over the head of Haley, scoring the tying run.
Charleston Southern struck again a few batters later, after an error by Winthrop third basemen Kelsey Ritter scored another run for the visitors, making it a 2-1 game.
The Lady Eagles had a chance to respond in the bottom of the inning, as senior outfielder McKenzi Corn got to second off an fielding error. Corn eventually made her way to third, but was unable to score as the Winthrop offense failed to convert on the scoring opportunity.
The Lady Bucs nearly put the game away in the top of the seventh inning, as they extended their lead to 3-1 thanks to a big hit into center field that scored a run from first.
The Winthrop deficit extended even more after a wild pitch from Allen saw the Charleston Southern lead extend to 4-1 after six and a half innings.
The Lady Eagles’ last chance came in the bottom of the seventh, as Ritter reached first on an error to start the things off for the home team.
The next batter up was Haley, who hit a strong grounder that not only put her on first, but also scored Ritter in order to cut the lead to 2 runs.
Ryder was up next, and she advanced Haley along on a groundout towards third.
With two outs, Glover struck out as the tying run with Haley at second, and the Lady Bucs defense would stand tall as the visitors got the 4-2 victory in game one.
The second game started out much quicker than the first, as Charleston Southern got out to an early 1-0 lead after a triple to right field brought home a runner that was already on first.
The Lady Eagles responded in the bottom half on the inning, as freshman Megan Winningham hit a solo home run deep into center field to tie up the game.
Charleston Southern quickly rebounded with a solo homer of their own, giving them a 2-1 advantage in the top of the fourth.
The Lady Bucs continued to score in the top of the sixth, as a double brought home yet another runner, making it a 3-1 game.
Charleston Southern’s offense continued to roll in the top of the seventh, as a two run shot into left-center field made it a 5-1 game, and a deficit that the Lady Eagles could not overcome in the final half-inning.
Allen took the loss in the first game while junior Sutton Watson also took a loss despite throwing eight strikeouts in the full seven innings she pitched in the second game.
Winthrop (11-12, 0-2 Big South) will finish out the series with Charleston Southern tomorrow afternoon at 5 p.m. at Terry Field.