The win marked Gardner-Webb’s first over Coastal Carolina on the road since joining the Big South in 2009.
Scott Coleman had a two-run triple in the eighth to erase a 2-1 deficit, and Gardner-Webb (13-8-1, 2-2 Big South) added another run on an RBI single to third base by Benji Jackson to lead 4-2 before the Chanticleers (11-11, 0-1 Big South) could get to the bottom half.
Coastal Carolina got a run back in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly from Jake Kane to trim the lead to one, but Gardner-Webb got a pair of unearned runs across in the top of the ninth after an error and a single by Henry Rundio for a 6-3 advantage.
Closer Jeff Howell came on to get the first two outs in the bottom of the ninth and, after a Coastal Carolina single, got a pop fly to shortstop to end the game.
Gardner-Webb broke a scoreless tie in the fifth on a bases loaded walk by JJ Nazzaro, but Coastal Carolina put across a pair in the bottom of the sixth to go in front. The Chants loaded the bases on a walk and two singles. Coastal then got a two-RBI hit from Ted Blackman to go on top. GWU starter Matt Fraudin worked out of the jam without further damage, and Gardner-Webb would mount its rally in the eighth.
Reliever Brad Haymes (2-0) picked up the win in relief, working 1.1 innings with one run allowed and one strikeout (one hit). Howell earned his fourth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Fraudin was solid in a no decision, hurling 6.2 innings and allowing just two runs on seven hits – all singles. The Upper St. Clair, Pa., sophomore fanned five and overcame four walks.
Gardner-Webb managed five hits, with Nazzaro (1-for-3, RBI, 2 runs), Rundio (1-for-5, run), Coleman (1-for-4, 3B, 2 RBI), Jackson (1-for-4, RBI) and Sam Fulginiti (1-for-4, run) accounting for one each.
Coastal Carolina starter Ben Smith was the hard luck loser on the mound, striking out 12 and allowing just one hit on 7.0 strong innings. Aaron Burke allowed three runs (one earned) on 0.1 innings out of the pen and Seth Lamando allowed a pair of unearned runs on one hit in the ninth. Mike Morrison and Austin Kerr each hurled 0.1 innings of relief without any runs allowed.
The Chants had nine hits, with Blackman (2-for-4, 2 RBI) pacing that effort.
The two teams will play the second game of the series on Saturday night at 6:00 at TicketReturn.com Field in Myrtle Beach.