CONWAY – The Coastal Carolina softball team (1-1) split a pair of games on Saturday afternoon versus the Buffalo Bulls and the Saint Francis Red Flash as the Chanticleers opened the season with the Battle at the Beach at St. John Stadium.
CCU 6, BUFFALO 0
The Chanticleers knocked off the University of Buffalo by the score of 6-0 in game one behind a complete game, two-hit, 13-strikeout performance by senior Kaitlin Beasley-Polko.
Beasley-Polko (1-0) picked up her first win of the season by retiring the first nine batters before allowing her first hit of the game. The Leonardtown, Md., native’s 13 strikeouts are the second most of her career, one shy of her career-high 14 K’s set back on Feb. 16, 2018, versus Kent State also at the Battle at the Beach tournament.
Coastal’s Makiya Thomas gave her team a 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first as she led off the game with her first career leadoff home run. CCU would send seven more batters to the plate in the home half of the first and tack on another run with an RBI bases-loaded walk by senior Ally Clegg.
The Chants scored a pair in the bottom of the second inning to make it a 4-0 lead highlighted by senior Courtney Dean’s single to right field, scoring Thomas for the second time in the two innings.
After a leadoff double by the senior Clegg in the third inning, Mary Sobataka looked to sacrifice her over to third base on a bunt only to see a throwing error by the Bull’s first baseman Alicia Peters allow Clegg to score on the play and add to CCU’s lead.The sophomore Sobataka would score two batters later on Thomas’ sacrifice fly, giving Coastal a 6-0 edge.
Preseason All-Sun Belt Team members Thomas and Dean led the Chants in game one with two hits apiece, while Thomas led the team with two RBI.
Graduate transfer Kayla Rosado picked up her first career Coastal hit in her first career at-bat with a single into right field.
Former Chanticleer Ally Marcano (0-1) took the loss for Buffalo as she lasted 2.0 innings and allowed six runs on six hits with five walks.
SAINT FRANCIS 9 (PA.), CCU 3
After Coastal jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, the Saint Francis Red Flash put together an eight-run sixth inning and knocked off the Chants by the score of 9-3.
Thomas led off the second game of the day with a single to start the Chanticleer rally. Three batters later and no outs, the Tacoma, Wash., native would come around to score on a throwing error by SFU third baseman Mackenzie Saban that would give CCU an early 1-0 edge. With one out in the first, CCU would add another run as sophomore Iyanla De Jesus lined out to center field, allowing senior Stavi Augur to score on the sacrifice fly.
In her second at-bat of the game, De Jesus gave Coastal a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth with her first home run of the season to straightaway center field.
Chanticleer starter Raelee Brabham cruised through the first five innings of work as she struck out seven SFU batters.
The Red Flash jumped out in front of the Chants by the tally of 8-3 in the sixth inning as they sent 14 batters to the plate on five hits. Brabham faced three batters in the inning before being pulled by head coach Kelley Green. The Chant head coach went to De Jesus and then game one starter in Beasley-Polko. De Jesus would allow three runs on two hits without getting an out. Beasley-Polko faced nine batters, allowed two hits, and surrendered two walks and hit a batter.
Saint Francis tacked on an insurance run in the top of the seventh as the Red Flashes went on to defeat Coastal Carolina by the score of 9-3.
De Jesus(0-1) took the loss for CCU in relief, giving up three runs on two hits, all in the top of the sixth inning.
Grace Vesco (1-0) earned her first win of the season for Saint Francis as she went the distance. The right-hander allowed three runs on four hits with six strikeouts.
The Chanticleers return to action on Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. ET and 5:30 p.m.ET with a pair of games versus the East Carolina Pirates.