ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Gardner-Webb scored three times in the top of the ninth inning as the Runnin’ Bulldogs rallied for a 7-6 Big South Conference win over UNC Asheville in the first game of a double-header Saturday afternoon.
Saturday's second game started at 4:45 p.m.
The Bulldogs of Asheville (6-15, 1-4 BSC) had just rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to take a 6-4 lead. Asheville used three two-out hits and a wild pitch to take the lead for the first time on the day going into the ninth inning.
Robert McIntosh and Eli Miller led the Bulldogs with three hits each. Tyler Best had three hits for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
But Gardner-Webb would rally in the top of the ninth. Best led the inning off with an infield single off reliever Scott Robinson. Ryan Hodge was hit by a pitch on a 1-2 count to put runners on first and second. Pinch-hitter Sam Fulginiti singled to right to load the bases with nobody out.
Robinson (0-1) was able to get J.J. Nazzaro to fly out to left, scoring one run and moving Hodge to third with one out. Bulldog second baseman Kyle Towles was ejected on the play.
With runners on first and third, pinch-runner Alex Newman put the winning run in scoring position as he stole second base.
Robinson was able to get Scott Johnson to pop out for the second out of the inning. Scott Coleman sent a ground ball to second base that was thrown away for an error. Both runners scored on the play to give GWU a 7-6 lead.
The Bulldogs could not rally in the bottom of the ninth as Hunter Smith (3-1) earned the victory for the visitors.
GWU (9-14, 2-3 BSC) scored three runs in the first inning as its first three batters scored. Nazzaro led the game with a single to left. He stole second and then scored on Johnson’s RBI-single to put the Runnin’ Bulldogs in front, 1-0.
Coleman followed with a two-run homer to put GWU in front, 3-0 with his first homer of the season.
But after the first inning, Bulldog starter Ethan Steible settled down and allowed no runs and two hits the rest of the game. He went seven innings.
Asheville got on the board in the fourth. McIntosh singled and came home on Hunter Bryant’s two-run homer over the left-field wall to narrow the lead to 3-2.
GWU tallied one run in the eighth as Nick Triplett’s sacrifice fly scored Johnson to pad the margin to 4-2.
Asheville came back in the bottom of the frame. With two outs and one on, Bryant walked to put runners on first and second. Pinch-hitter Joe Tietjen singled to third base to load the bases.
Miller’s two-run single to center knotted the game at 4-4. Sam Turner singled to right-center to plate Bryant for a 5-4 Asheville advantage. A wild pitch scored Tietjen and suddenly Asheville led 6-4.