BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb went up early in both halves of Saturday’s doubleheader with Canisius, beating the Griffins 5-2 and 6-3 to complete a three-game sweep.
The Diamond ‘Dogs (5-5) evened their 2007 record with their third and fourth wins in a row, and have now gone 25 consecutive innings without an error.
Gardner-Webb used a dominant pitching performance from sophomore righty Josh Drewery in the opener, with the Lawndale, N.C., native working 5.0 scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. Drewery also went 1-for-2 with an RBI triple at the plate.
The ‘Dogs got started early with a three-run second inning, as Matt Rizzuto doubled in Jay McConnell and later scored on a balk to give GWU a 2-0 lead. Tyler Johnson then delivered a two-out single up the gut for a 3-0 lead for the home team.
Drewery plated Justin Loyd with his triple in the third inning, and the Bulldogs put the game away with another run in the fourth for a 5-0 margin.
Canisius (0-6) would not score until the eighth and ninth, getting one run in each inning against the Bulldogs’ bullpen.
GWU, bats still cool early in the season, finished with six hits. McConnell, an East Gaston High product, led the way with a 2-for-3 effort and joined Drewery with an RBI triple.
Connor Burke had two of Canisius’ four hits in the nine-inning affair, going 2-for-2 at the plate. Dan Clifford allowed four earned runs in 3.0 innings of work to take his first pitching loss of the season for the visitors.
Gardner-Webb put up a five-spot in the bottom of the first in Game Two, getting a single and a steal from Jamaal Kinard – and an RBI single from Drewery to get things started early. McConnell belted a two-run home run to push the lead to 3-0 and Canisius starter Ryan McGorman unravled on the mound. The Griffins’ pitcher walked the bases loaded, and Shea Harris drew another free pass to drive in the Bulldogs’ fourth run of the inning.
Matt Weber came in to get the inning’s second out, but Kinard drew another RBI walk to make the count 5-0.
Canisius touched GWU starter Ben Campbell for a run in the top of the second, but would not score again until their final at bat in the top of the seventh off the Bulldogs’ bullpen.
Campbell (1-0) won his first game in his second strong start of the week. The sophomore lefty worked 5.0 innings and allowed just one run on three hits (two strikeouts). McGorman (0-2) took the loss for Canisius, lasting just one-third of an inning.
Kinard went 3-for-3 in the nightcap to pace an eight-hit effort by the Bulldogs. McConnell went 2-for-3 with his first home run as well for Gardner-Webb.
Four different Canisius players collected a hit for the visitors, who finished with just four safeties for the second game in a row.