Cougars and Bulldogs set for midweek doubleheader at Patriots Point
MT. PLEASANT, SC Feb. 18, 2013 – Fresh off a five-game weekend, the College of Charleston softball team is set to turn around for a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader against South Carolina State at Patriots Point. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Last these teams met, then-freshman pitcher Hope Klicker (Walla Walla, Wash.) threw her first career perfect game to extend an 11-game CofC winning streak.
GLANCING AT THE COUGARS
CofC comes into the game after going 2-3 in the CofC Classic which it hosted this past weekend. The Cougars skidded to three-straight losses to open the tournament, but bounced back with a pair of wins on Sunday to salvage the weekend.
In losses to James Madison, East Tennessee State and Syracuse, the Cougars were plagued by early-inning woes and allowed the teams to combine for nine first-inning runs between the three games.
Against JMU, the Cougars fell behind early and were plagued by five stranded runners in the first two frames. CofC dug itself into a hole against ETSU as well and allowed the Bucs to construct an 8-3 lead late in the game. The Cougars surged back with a six-run sixth inning to post a 9-8 lead, but an ETSU two-run homer in the seventh erased the comeback bid. Still stung from the loss, the Cougars had to turn around to face a hot-batted Syracuse team which sent five balls out of the park and scored all 11 of its runs with the top five hitters in the lineup.
Sunday was a new day for the Cougars, however, as pitchers Klicker and Stephanie Saylors (Easley, S.C.) were both phenomenal in the circle and dealt complete-game shutouts to get the Cougars in the win column.
Klicker held the Towson to four hits and struck out seven. She displayed impeccable control as she limited herself to a highly-efficient 87 pitches with an astonishing 72 (82.75 percent) finding the strike zone. Efficiency was required of her as the Cougars waited until the sixth inning to provide run support, and one run was all the left-handed sophomore needed to earn the win.
The Cougar bats were more effective against Akron in the tournament finale and the Cougars provided Saylors with a five-run cushion to work with, though she wouldn’t need it. Mackenzie Maples (Corona, Calif.), Kelsey Hodgson (Woodstock, Ga.) and Rebecca Mueller (Fair Oaks, Calif.) provided the RBIs for the CofC which sailed to a 5-0 victory.
On the young season, Hodgson leads the Cougar offense with a .308 batting average with three of her four hits going for extra bases. The power-hitting third baseman has four RBIs as well, second only to Maples with five.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
SC State comes into the game as winners of three straight and sports a 7-1 record. The Bulldogs opened with the Hampton Jordan Classic hosted by Claflin University where they went 4-1 with their only loss coming to Brewton Parker.
The Bulldogs are coming off a doubleheader sweep of Benedict College in which the aggregate score was 20-3.
These will be the first true road games for the Bulldogs who are 3-0 at home and 4-1 at neutral sites.
SC State has made a habit of beating their opponents by lopsided scores and now outscores the opposition 63-18.
The Bulldogs have two hitters hitting over .400 on the season, Mikala Johnson who hits a staggering .458 this season and Kourtney Paulo with an equally-impressive .429 mark. Five additional Bulldogs hit .300-plus and the squad hits .290 as a team.
In the pitching circle, reigning Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) Pitcher of the Week Vianney Gomez has been virtually unhittable this season and posts a 0.53 ERA and 5-0 record in the circle. She has surrendered just two earned runs in 26.1 innings of work. Last week, she picked up five wins in the circle with a 0.66 ERA to earn her MEAC honor.
The Cougars maintain a 35-2 advantage in this all-time series and haven’t dropped a contest since 2003.
In the teams’ last meeting, Klicker completely shut down the Bulldogs and picked up a perfect game. She struck out a career-high 16 batters in the contest, only requiring five outs of her defense.
The Cougars host another full-slated tournament next weekend with Wagner, Radford, South Carolina and Charleston Southern coming to Patriots Point.
The Cougars kick off the tournament against Wagner on Friday, Feb. 22 at 4 p.m.