Gardner-Webb (21-13-1) snapped a four-game losing streak in the process, and got a fine start on the mound from freshman southpaw Erik Heiligenstadt to spark the victory.
Heiligentstadt (3-3) pitched a career-high 8.0 innings, scattered six hits and retired 20 of the final 22 batters he faced to earn the win. The Forest, Va., native fanned a career-high seven batters and did not issue a free pass in the game.
Four of the six hits the freshman allowed came in the first inning for Furman (19-20), when the Paladins jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Dusty Quattlebaum cut that lead in half in the bottom of the first, hammering a double to right field to score Daniel Merck from first to make the score 2-1.
Neither team scratched again until the fourth, when Will Miller led off the inning with a solo home run over the left field fence to put the Paladins in front 3-1. Heiligenstadt recovered, sandwiching a pair of shallow pop flies around a groundout to first to end the half inning.
Scott Coleman led a Gardner-Webb rally in the bottom of the fourth, singling sharply up the middle, moving to third on a Jake Watts double and scoring two batters later on an Aaron Miller single. The Paladins' Nate Smith got out of the jam with a 3-2 lead intact, however, picking off Miller and striking out John Harris to end the threat.
Quattlebaum tied the score in the sixth, leading off the bottom half of that inning with a towering home run to deepest part of the park in center. Heiligentadt, meanwhile, continued to roll on the mound, retiring the next eight batters he faced until a Paul Nitto single with two outs in the seventh. A fly ball out ended the inning, however, and Heiligenstadt retired the Paladins in order in the eighth to finish his outing.
Furman went to reliever Kevin Gottlieb in the bottom of the sixth and, after a strikeout, Coleman laced a one-out single up the middle. Brad Collins grounded out to move Coleman up a base, and Watts followed with a two-out single to right to plate the go-ahead run. Brian Dudinski came on to end the threat for the Paladins.
Howell trotted in from the pen with a save opportunity at hand, and after a line drive was dropped to allow Taylor Johnson to reach base, Howell fanned Will Miller on four pitches and got a 3-6-3 double play off the bat of Alex Abrams to end the game.
Quattlebaum (2-for-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI), Coleman (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Watts (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) powered Gardner-Webb's eight-hit night at the plate, with Matt Sapp (1-for-4) and Miller (1-for-4, RBI) collecting the other hits for the 'Dogs.
Furman got a pair of hits from Miller (2-for-4, run, RBI). Gottlieb (0-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing two hits and one run in 0.2 innings of work. Starter Stephen Gary allowed just one run on three hits in 3.0 innings of work (three strikeouts, two walks).
Gardner-Webb will remain at home for an important Big South Conference series this weekend against Presbyterian, with the opener set for Friday at 6:00 pm at John Henry Moss Stadium / Bill Masters Field.