CHARLESTON, S.C. - The Cleveland State Vikings softball team split a doubleheader against Charleston Southern on Saturday afternoon to kick off a 12-game road trip, winning 4-3 in extra innings before coming up just short in a 2-1 setback.
Game One Recap – Vikings 4, Buccaneers 3 (8 innings)
Junior Hanna Griffin spun a gem in the early game, holding Charleston Southern to a pair of earned runs on seven scattered hits as part of an eight-inning complete-game effort.
Griffin (1-1), who has gone the distance 15 times in her career, worked around four Vikings errors for her longest start since the 2019 campaign.
The Vikings fell into a 3-0 hole after the Buccaneers found some early offense in the second frame with a pair of RBI singles.
After Jenna Deang recorded Cleveland State's first hit of the contest and the first of her collegiate career in the third frame, the Vikings tied things up with a fourth-inning rally. Aly Packish logged a leadoff double before advancing to third on Sydney Bajusz's single to second base.
After Bajusz swiped her first stolen base of the year, Taylor Duncan doubled to left field to bring home both runners. Duncan went on to score on a fielder's choice RBI from Mackenzie Tucker to knot the score at 3-3.
From there, Griffin cruised through the final five innings, giving up only two hits while retiring 15 of the 17 batters she faced.
Extra-innings rules dictated that Duncan began the eighth on second base, and the Vikings wasted no time capitalizing on the free baserunner. Tucker advanced Duncan to third on a sacrifice bunt before Courtney Fernette doubled to right-center field for a 4-3 lead.
Griffin sat the Buccaneers down in order in the bottom of the eighth for the Vikings victory.
Seven of nine Cleveland State batters recorded at least one hit. Duncan went 1-2 with a pair of RBIs and two runs scored while drawing two walks. Bajusz notched a pair of hits and logged a run to go along with a walk.
Game Two Recap – Buccaneers 2, Vikings 1
A two-run shot over the left field wall in the second inning proved to be the only offense Charleston Southern needed to clinch a split on the day.
The Vikings held an 8-4 advantage in hits and threatened on multiple occasions, including a two-out bases loaded situation in the second frame that ended with a groundout, stranded nine runners.
With the Vikings in need of a spark with a runner on second in the sixth inning, Fernette delivered again with a clutch two-out RBI single to bring Cleveland State to within 2-1.
Taylor Betz pitched well in defeat, allowing a pair of runs on only four hits with four strikeouts over six innings.
Duncan and Frascone recorded two hits each while Fernette went 1-2 with an RBI and a walk.
The Vikings will remain in South Carolina for a Sunday afternoon doubleheader against College of Charleston.