BOILING SPRINGS - Gardner-Webb's pitching staff allowed just four earned runs over 18 innings Friday and The Runnin' Bulldogs scored 19 runs to sweep Maryland Eastern Shore in the season opening twinbill.
Benji Jackson's line drive grand slam sparked a seven-run second that broke open the season opener. Gardner-Webb added three runs in the third to put the game away and cruised to an 11-4 victory.
Brock Wilson (1-0) worked 4.0 predetermined innings for the win, allowing just two hits and striking out two.
Maryland Eastern Shore took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, as Jeffrey Fleetwood belted a two-run home run with two outs, but Gardner-Webb took advantage of control problems from Hawks' starter Jacob Foreman in the second to seize momentum.
Foreman hit leadoff man Scott Coleman to start the second, Adam McFarland walked and each moved up a base on a sacrifice bunt. John Harris then walked to load the bases and, after a strikeout, Ryan Hodge stepped up to draw an RBI walk to trim UMES' lead to 2-1. Jackson came to the plate next, and blasted a line drive over the wall in right field that left the park quickly to put Gardner-Webb up for good, 5-2.
Another walk kept the rally alive, and Dusty Quattlebaum extended the inning further with a sharp two-out single to center. Coleman was plunked again to load the bases, and Adam McFarland drilled a two-run double for a 7-2 edge.
A pair of throwing errors gave Gardner-Webb a 9-2 lead in the third, and Quattlebaum drove in the Bulldogs' 10th run of the game with a double before the Hawks' could get out of the inning.
Alex Newman doubled home Gardner-Webb's final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh, plating Henry Rundio for an 11-3 lead. Maryland Eastern Shore added a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout for the final margin.
Jackson (1-for-3, BB, SB, HR, 4 RBI), Quattlebaum (2-for-4, 2B, RBI) and John Harris (1-for-2, 2 runs) paced Gardner-Webb's seven-hit attack in the opener. Newman and Ryan Hodge each collected their first collegiate hits in the game.
Foreman (0-1) took the loss, allowing 10 runs (seven earned) on five hits in 2.2 innings of work. Fleetwood (2-for-3, HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI) paced a Hawks' offense that registered five hits.
Gardner-Webb rallied for three runs in the six to take the lead for good in an 8-4 victory to close out the night.
Trailing 4-3 after five innings, a fielding error allowed Brad Collins to reach to start the rally. John Harris tied the game with an RBI double to the opposite field and freshman Ryan Hodge belted an RBI triple to right field to score Harris for a 5-4 Gardner-Webb lead. Ryan Allen then delivered his second RBI double of the game to left for a 6-4 lead.
Sacrifice flies from Harris in the seventh and Adam McFarland in the eighth provided the final margin.
Conner Scarborough did not allow an earned run in the start, working 5.0 innings, scattering eight hits and striking out five. Maryland Eastern Shore took advantage of two fielding errors by the 'Dogs in the fifth to score four unearned runs - taking a lead it would hold until the sixth.
Allen put Gardner-Webb in front early, lacing a two-run double down the line in the bottom of the second for a 2-0 lead. That hit scored both Collins and Brantley Smith.
Allen (2-for-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI), Hodge (1-for-2, 3B, RBI) and Harris (1-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI) paced Gardner-Webb's eight-hit effort in the nightcap. Henry Rundio and Brantley Smith each collected their first collegiate hits in the game.
Gardner-Webb swiped seven bases in the game, with Allen and Rundio each stealing two.
Zachary Saca (0-1) took the loss for UMES, allowing two runs on one hit in 1.1 innings of work. Jordan Bone took a no decision, working 4.0 innings and allowing three runs on three hits (three strikeouts).
Tre-Von Johnson (3-for-5, run), James Newsome (2-for-5, 2 RBI), Byron Campbell (2-for-5) and Malik Wylie (2-for-5) each had multiple hits for the Hawks - who managed 11 safeties on the night.
Gardner-Webb and Maryland Eastern Shore will wrap up the three-game series on Saturday afternoon, with first pitch set for 1:00 pm at John Henry Moss Stadium/Bill Masters Field.