The Runnin’ Bulldogs (14-11-1, 3-4 Big South) plated a run in the fourth, three more in the sixth and another in the seventh to provide all the support Fraudin would need.
The Upper St. Clair, Pa., righty didn’t allow a hit until the seventh inning, when Jace Whitley singled to right and scored on a double by Cody Dolan down the left field line for the Eagles’ lone run of the game. Fraudin (4-2) recovered with a strikeout, a ground ball and a harmless fly ball to end the inning. He struck out the side in the ninth to close out his fourth win of the season.
Gardner-Webb loaded the bases in the fourth inning to get going, getting a leadoff walk to put Scott Coleman on board, then consecutive singles from Benji Jackson and Henry Rundio. Brad Collins drew an RBI walk for a 1-0 lead, but Eagles’ starter Matt Pierpont worked out of the jam without further damage – taking advantage of a double play ball to end the inning.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs cushioned their lead in the sixth. Coleman led off with a single, moved to second on another Jackson single and saw Rundio load the bases on a sacrifice bunt that turned into a fielder’s choice with no play made. Coleman scored on a wild pitch for a 2-0 lead, and John Harris came through with a clutch, two-run single for a 4-0 lead.
JJ Nazzaro doubled to lead off the seventh, then scored on a Coleman single for a 5-0 advantage. Neither team mounted another serious threat after Winthrop’s lone run in the bottom half of the seventh.
Fraudin allowed just two hits, both in the seventh inning, struck out nine and walked just one in his stellar performance. He retired 17 batters in a row until the pair of hits in the seventh, with one batter reaching on an error in the first inning the only man to reach base to that point. His walk came in the ninth inning, but was followed up with a strikeout.
Gardner-Webb managed 10 hits in the game, with Jackson going 3-for-4 to lead the way. Coleman went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored as well for the Runnin’ Bulldogs.
Pierpont (2-4) took the loss, allowing 10 hits and five runs despite 11 strikeouts in 7.0 innings of work.
The two teams will wrap up the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2:00 pm. Both games will air on the Big South Network (bigsouthsports.com).