Trailing 3-0 with two outs in the seventh, the Runnin' Bulldogs (8-3) got a big double from freshman Ryan Hodge to fuel its late rally. Ryan Allen singled up the middle to cut the lead to 3-1 and Albany starter Kasceim Graham walked Benji Jackson and Scott Johnson to load the bases.
A failed pickoff attempt at second allowed Allen to score from third and cut the lead to 3-2 - then Dusty Quattlebaum hammered a 2-2 pitch into a large gap in right center for a score-tying double. Albany made a solid defensive play to throw Johnson out at the plate, however, keeping the score tied 3-3.
Gardner-Webb relievers Mitch Warner and Jeff Howell retired the Great Danes (0-6) in the eighth, and Graham plunked Scott Coleman to lead off the bottom half of that inning. Zeke Blanton pinch ran at first and moved to second on a nicely placed sacrifice bunt from John Harris.
The speedy Blanton stole third three pitches later, and Adam McFarland roped a hot ground ball through the left side off of reliever Greg Lutton to drive home the go-ahead run.
An error and an infield single loaded the bases for Gardner-Webb, but Lutton was able to get out of the jam with his team behind 4-3.
Adam Izokovic came on the ninth and, after a leadoff single, got the Great Danes out quickly with two strikeouts and a ground ball.
The save was Izokovic's second in two days, and the 16th of his career - tying former Gardner-Webb closers Kevin Wellmon and Daniel Planck for the school's career saves mark.
Albany took control of the game in the middle innings, and Graham kept Gardner-Webb's hitters off balance until running into trouble in the seventh. The Great Danes got a lead off triple from Pete DiResta in the fourth and an RBI single from Mike Tirri to go up 1-0. A one-out double to left off the bat of Brian Bullard drove home Tirri for a 2-0 edge.
Albany added its third run in the seventh. A leadoff single Josh Nethaway got things started and a one-out error proved costly, moving Nethaway to third and putting runners on the corners. An infield single by Joey Tracy plated Nethaway for a 3-0 lead, before reliever Matt Fraudin got a double play to end the threat.
Gardner-Webb rapped out seven hits in the game, but stranded nine runners. Quattlebaum (3-for-4, 2B, RBI) led the way, and Allen (2-for-2, BB, HBP, RBI) had a solid afternoon as well. McFarland (1-for-4, RBI) and Hodge (1-for-4, 2B, run) had Gardner-Webb's other hits.
Howell (1-0) picked up the win, working two outs in the eighth to keep the score tied. Beau Hilton pitched four innings in a no decision, allowing just two runs on four hits.
Matt Fraudin did not allow an earned run in three innings of relief work and Mitch Warner recorded a strikeout in the eighth before giving way to Howell. Izokovic fanned two in a scoreless ninth for the save.
Graham (0-2) took the loss, scattering five hits, hitting three batters and walking three more in seven innings on the mound. Two of the four runs he allowed were earned.
The Great Danes collected nine hits Sunday, led by Joey Tracy (2-for-4, RBI), DiResta (2-for-4, 3B, run) and Nethaway (2-for-3, run).
Gardner-Webb will play its first road game of the season on Wednesday, traveling to Wofford for a 6:00 pm first pitch at Russell C. King Stadium in Spartanburg, S.C.