DELAND, Fla. – Gardner-Webb bounced back with opportunistic offense Saturday afternoon, knocking out #3 seed Belmont, 6-3, to advance to the 2008 A-Sun Baseball Championship Game.
GWU (29-29) will battle top seed Lipscomb (31-28) on Sunday at 1 pm ET for the league’s automatic bid to the 2008 NCAA Baseball Tournament.
Gardner-Webb scored one run in six different innings in Saturday’s elimination game, taking a 1-0 lead in the first, rallying to tie the game, 2-2, in the third, going in front 3-2 in the fourth and building some cushion with runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth.
Ty Boyles went 2-for-4 with a pair of steals and two RBI to pace Gardner-Webb’s offense, which was held to just seven hits. GWU scored its first three runs on plays without hits, using three sacrifice flies and an RBI groundout to do the damage.
Justin Loyd went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI for Gardner-Webb, which swiped six more bases in the game – setting a new tournament record with 18 steals for the event. GWU now has a school-record 120 stolen bases on the season, and Brock Miller (1-for-3, run) became the single-season record holder individually with a pair of steals, giving him 32 on the year.
Jonathon Ban (4-3) got the win, bouncing back on short rest after starting against the Bruins in a no decision Wednesday. The Marietta, Ga., junior went 6.0 complete, scattering six hits and allowing three earned runs (two strikeouts). Freshman Kyle Paeplow (Asheville, N.C.) came on to work the final three innings, scattering three hits in a scoreless effort for the save.
Belmont had nine hits, with slugger Derek Wiley going 3-for-4 with a double and a long solo home run in the sixth inning. No other Bruin had more than one hit on the day. Eric Diaz (1-3) took the loss in relief, negating 5.0 solid innings of work by starter Brian Kelley.