The win clinches a spot in the eight-team Big South Conference Tournament at High Point next week, with first round games set to begin on Tuesday.
Gardner-Webb (29-25, 11-11 Big South) moved into a tie for sixth with UNC Asheville (24-27, 11-11 Big South), and entered Thursday just two games out of third place.
The 'Dogs jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the third, starting a rally with two outs. John Harris walked, moved up a station on Scott Coleman's single to left and scored on Dusty Quattlebaum's RBI knock up the middle.
Asheville countered with a run in the bottom of the third, but Gardner-Webb put up the first of its pair of three-run bursts in the fifth to take control.
In that frame, Ryan Hodge drew a one-out walk, moved to third on a Harris single and gave GWU a 2-1 lead when he dashed home on a wild pitch. Coleman put runners at the corners with a single through the left side and Quattlebaum came through with another RBI hit to plate Harris for a 3-1 edge. Adam McFarland delivered a clutch, two-out single to drive in Coleman for a 4-1 lead before the host Bulldogs could work out of the jam.
Asheville had its chance to catch up in the bottom of the sixth, leading off the inning by sandwiching a pair of singles around a hit batter to load the bases. Relief ace Mitch Warner entered the game in a tight spot, but struck out the next two batters - and ended the inning with the 4-1 lead intact by coaxing a fly ball to left.
Gardner-Webb put the game away in the eighth, getting a leadoff single from Brad Collins to start the rally. Collins came around to score on a throwing error that followed a bunt single by Henry Rundio, and Rundio moved to third after stealing second and moving over another base on a throwing error. Zeke Blanton then pushed the score to 6-1 with an RBI double and stole home two batters later to give GWU a comfortable 7-1 lead. Asheville had three errors in the frame.
Warner and Jimmy Moore closed out the game without incident.
Barnett (4-3) got the win, allowing just one run on seven hits in five innings. The High Point, N.C., sophomore fanned four, and has allowed just three runs in his last 12.0 innings of work. Warner hurled 3.0 scoreless innings, none more important than his performance in the sixth, and Moore tossed a scoreless ninth to finish the game.
Coleman (3-for-5, run), Quattlebaum (2-for-5, 2 RBI) and Harris (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Collins (2-for-5, run) led Gardner-Webb's 13-hit effort offensively. Rundio (1-for-3, SB) and Blanton (1-for-5, 2B, SB, RBI) also had hits, with Rundio extending his hit streak to 10 games and Blanton moving his streak to 11 games.
Coleman has now reached base safely in 27 consecutive games for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Dean Roland (5-5) was tagged with the loss, allowing four earned runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings pitched. Billy Creighton went 2-for-5 with an RBI to pace Asheville's seven-hit offense.
The two teams will play again at Greenwood Field on Friday at 3:00 pm.