The outfield assist was the sixth of the season for Nazzaro, who has manned centerfield at a high level for the Runnin’ Bulldogs (25-23-1, 9-10 Big South).
Gardner-Webb broke free with three runs in the second inning, getting a leadoff double from Brad Collins – his league-leading 23rd of the season – to get things started. Collins scored on a wild pitch to put the ‘Dogs up 1-0, and Jacob Walker drove home John Harris with an RBI groundout for a 2-0 lead. Hodge put Gardner-Webb up 3-0 with a two-out single that drove home Henry Rundio.
The Panthers (25-26, 11-9 Big South) got a run back in the fourth, when Manzella drove in Spano with a two-out single. Adam Barry tied the game with two outs in the sixth, rapping a two-run double to right – plating Manzella and Ryan Retz.
High Point, N.C., native Andrew Barnett picked up his fourth win of the season (4-2) in his hometown, hurling 6.0 innings and allowing three runs on eight hits. Barnett, who paces the Big South in strikeouts per nine innings, fanned seven and walked two – and has struck out 32 batters in his last three starts combined (four walks).
Haymes recorded his first save of the season – and his second sizzling relief effort in as many weeks – lasting 3.0 innings, allowing just two singles and striking out a pair with no walks. The Chatham, Va., freshman fanned eight in 5.0 relief innings last week to earn a win over North Carolina Central.
Gardner-Webb managed just four hits in the game Saturday and took advantage of four free passes. Hodge (2-for-3, 2 RBI) was the star at the plate, driving in both his runs with two outs. Harris and Collins had the other two hits for Gardner-Webb.
High Point senior Jamie Schultz (0-6) was tagged with the loss despite hurling 7.2 innings and striking out eight (four walks). He allowed four runs on four hits on the evening. John Maloney and Mike Krumm closed out the game without allowing a hit in 1.1 combined innings.
The Panthers collected 10 hits in the game, with Manzella (2-for-3, RBI), Barry (2-for-3, 2 RBI) and Dane McDermott (2-for-3) leading that charge. McDermott’s two-out single in the ninth led to the play at the plate by Nazzaro to end the game.
The two teams will play the rubber match on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 in High Point.