WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – O.J. McFarland’s two-run double in the top of the ninth helped Gardner-Webb rally to tie against Wake Forest Wednesday night, and Ty Boyles scored on an 11th inning balk to lift the Diamond ‘Dogs to a 3-2 win.
Gardner-Webb (8-11) got singles from Aaron Miller and Kurt Fulginiti with one out in the top of the ninth, and McFarland delivered with a double to right that plated Miller and pinch runner Zeke Blanton. GWU had a chance to push in front, as Wake intentionally loaded the bases, but the Deacons worked out of the jam.
Gardner-Webb plated the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th with two outs, as Ty Boyles scored from third on a balk for a 3-2 edge. Josh Shabram led off that frame with a bunt single and moved to third after a sacrifice bunt and single by Boyles. Shabram was caught in a run-down between home and third base for the second out of the inning, but Boyles advanced all the way to third on the play – setting up the balk call one batter later.
Relief ace Adam Izokovic (2-1) was clutch out of the pen for Gardner-Webb once again, working the final 5.0 innings to pick up the win. His strikeout of leadoff man Pat Blair with two men on in the 11th inning ended the game. Izokovic has pitched at least 4.0 innings in three different extra inning games for GWU this season, and has tossed 16.2 consecutive scoreless innings.
Neither team produced much offense early, as Gardner-Webb starter Brett Stackhouse and Wake starter Justin Van Grouw kept zeros on the scoreboard through five innings.
Wake Forest struck for a run in the sixth to chase Stackhouse from the game, and added an unearned run for a 2-0 lead in the seventh when a sacrifice bunt attempt led to an errant throw that allowed a run to score from second.
Stackhouse was solid in a no decision, working 6.0 innings and allowing just one run on five hits (five strikeouts, one walk).
Brandon Johnson took the loss for Wake Forest (6-12), working 2.2 innings and allowing one run on two hits (two strikeouts).
Boyles led Gardner-Webb’s seven-hit effort on offense by going 2-for-4 at the plate. Matt Sapp’s single in the first inning was Gardner-Webb’s lone hit until the eighth inning.
Blair went 3-for-5 to pace Wake Forest’s offense, which managed eight hits.
Gardner-Webb will take a break until Wednesday, March 24, when it travels to face USC Upstate in Spartanburg, S.C.