Runnin' Bulldogs Top Air Force, 4-3, For Fourth Win In A Row -—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Howell delivers a strike Sunday for his third save of the season.
Courtesy: Saxon Simpson
Runnin' Bulldogs Top Air Force, 4-3, For Fourth Win In A Row
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: March 10, 2013
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BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb rallied with a four-run burst in the fifth and Jeff Howell collected his third save of the week to lift the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 4-3 win over Air Force Sunday afternoon.

Gardner-Webb (11-3-1) swept the weekend series with the Falcons (5-10), winning all three games by one run.

"We have a great deal of respect for Air Force, both the institution and baseball team," said Gardner-Webb head coach Rusty Stroupe. "Both teams battled very hard all weekend. Air Force was first class all the way. We feel very fortunate to come away with these victories."

Air Force jumped out to a 3-0 lead with its own rally in the top of the fifth, getting a triple from Brian Sicher with one out. A fielding error allowed the first run to cross and, after a double by Mariano Long moved Tyler Salek to third, Gardner-Webb starter Erik Heiligenstadt coaxed a ground ball for the second out of the inning.

Garrett Custons stepped in the box and delivered a two-run triple of his own, however, plating Long and Salek for a 3-0 advantage for the visitors.

Brad Collins continued his hot weekend with a leadoff double to start things for Gardner-Webb in the bottom half of the inning. Benji Jackson drew a walk to follow that hit, and both moved into scoring position on a wild pitch. Henry Rundio worked a full count and was hit by a pitch to load the bases – and Sam Fulginiti drew an RBI walk to cut the Falcons' lead to 3-1.

Scott Johnson lined out hard to third base for the first out of the frame, and JJ Nazzaro came through with a looping, two-run single into left to tie the game. Ryan Hodge then plated the go-ahead run with a fielder's choice before reliever Bo Wilson could work out of the inning.

Gardner-Webb went to its bullpen to preserve the lead, and freshman righty Brad Haymes responded with 3.0 innings of shutout work and struck out four.

Howell came on to finish the game, getting a highlight-reel play from Hodge to get the first out in the ninth. Spencer Draws made things interesting with a pinch hit double, and moved within 90 feet of tying the game on a wild pitch.

Howell came through with a ground ball for the second out, and fanned Alex Bast to end the game.

Heiligenstadt (2-0) picked up the mound win for the 'Dogs, working 5.0 innings, scattering six hits and fanning three batters.

Steven Trojan (1-2) took the loss, allowing four runs on just two hits – with three walks and a hit batter in 4.0 innings. Wilson worked 4.0 scoreless innings in relief.

Gardner-Webb managed five hits in the game, with Benji Jackson (2-for-2, 2 2B, run), Nazzaro (1-for-4, 2 RBI), Scott Coleman (1-for-4) and Collins (1-for-3, 2B, run) accounting for Sunday's offensive production.

Air Force had nine hits, with Custons (2-for-3, 3B, 2 RBI), Seth Kline (2-for-4) and Sicher (2-for-4, 3B, run) pacing that effort.

Gardner-Webb will hit the road Tuesday, traveling to face the nation's top-ranked team in Chapel Hill, N.C. First pitch between the Runnin' Bulldogs and Tar Heels (14-0) is set for 6:00 pm in Boshamer Stadium.

The Runnin' Bulldogs will return to Cleveland County on Wednesday night, taking on Wake Forest at 6:00 pm in Shelby, N.C., at Keeter Stadium.



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