The Runnin’ Bulldogs (15-11-1, 4-4 Big South) sent nine men to the plate in the second, getting a two-run single from JJ Nazzaro to get the scoring underway with two outs and bases loaded. Nazzaro and Scott Johnson teamed up on a double steal to push the lead to 3-0, with Johnson swiping home on the play. Scott Coleman came through with a two-run double for a 5-0 lead, before Winthrop starter Tyler Klitsch could work out of the inning.
Winthrop got a pair of runs back in the third inning, getting RBI hits from Jace Whitley and Cody Dolan to pull the Eagles within 5-2. Another Winthrop rally in the bottom of the fifth provided two runs as well, with Austin Barber driving in the first run with a double and Whitley poking another RBI single to trim Gardner-Webb’s lead to 5-4.
Gardner-Webb reliever Mitch Warner stemmed the tide, however, getting a fly ball double play to end the inning with his squad still in front.
Warner settled in from there, retiring the next nine Eagles’ batters he faced. Gardner-Webb got an RBI single from Brad Collins to plate Henry Rundio in the eighth for a 6-4 lead, and Ryan Hodge drove in Danny Yelverton in the ninth for what would be the final margin. Yelverton led off the ninth with a double down the line.
Justin Gullickson came on to retire the Eagles quietly in the ninth, getting a pair of strikeouts to start the frame and a groundout to end the game.
Warner (1-0) picked up the relief win, hurling 3.2 perfect innings with three strikeouts. Gullickson earned his first save of the season with his flawless ninth.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs rapped out 13 hits, with Collins (3-for-4, RBI), Coleman (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Nazzaro (2-for-4, 2 RBI, SB) and Yelverton (2-for-4, 2B, run) fueling the production. Eight different GWU players had at least one hit. Andrew Barnett worked 4.1 innings in a no decision start, fanning three batters and allowing three earned runs.
Klitsch (1-5) was the losing pitcher for Winthrop, allowing six runs (three earned) on 10 hits in 7.1 innings on the mound. The Eagles had seven hits in the game, with Whitley (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Barber (2-for-3, 2B, RBI) each collecting a pair.
Both teams will wrap up the series later Saturday afternoon.