Rock Hill, S.C. - Gardner-Webb redshirt-senior Cindy Boomhower threw her first career perfect game on Friday night, while freshman infielder Mariana Gallardo blasted her first career home run to help lead the Runnin' Bulldogs to a 2-1 win over Albany and a 6-0 shutout victory over UNC Wilmington on day one of the 2012 Winthrop/adidas Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C.
GWU's freshmen trio of Gallardo, Savannah Burns and Amanda Gomes combined to drive in seven of the Runnin' Bulldogs' eight runs on Friday, while the GWU pitching staff shutdown their opponents in the two wins.
Game 1: Gardner-Webb 2, Albany 1
GWU rode the right arm of starting pitcher Alyssa Gutierrez over the first three innings and used a two-run home run by Gallardo in the top of the fifth to pick up a 2-1 win over Albany in their first game on Friday evening.
Gardner-Webb led off the game with a single by freshman designated player Kellie Beres, yet saw a double play and a foul out end the top of the first before the Runnin' Bulldogs could push across a run.
Again the Runnin' Bulldogs put a runner on base in the top of the second, by way of a scorching line drive to center off the bat of redshirt-sophomore Morgan Baker, yet failed to score leaving the game scoreless after two innings of play.
GWU's Gutierrez cruised through the first two innings before facing some trouble in the bottom of the third. The Great Danes' put runners on first and third with no outs off of back-to-back errors by the Runnin' Bulldog defense.
However, Gutierrez and the Runnin' Bulldogs got out of the inning as the next Albany batter grounded to short, where Burns came up throwing to home to nail pitch runner Christina Patrick at the plate for the first out of the inning. The next Great Dane batter lined out to short, where Burns then made a heads up play by doubling up Diane MacDowell on first to end the inning.
In the top of the fourth, Burns hit a hard ground ball up the middle to put a runner on first with one out. After a McKenzie Morenus walk put runners on first and second with one out, Baker grounded into a 5-3 double play to end the inning.
After Albany went three-up and three-down in the bottom of the fourth, the GWU offense got hot in the top of the fifth. Senior Lindsea Hutchinson led off the inning with a double to the fence in right field and was moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt by junior Brittney Morrow.
Gallardo, the next GWU batter, picked a great time for her first career home run, as the freshman blasted a home run over the left field fence to put Gardner-Webb up 2-0.
GWU put the next two runners on base safely by way of a walk and an infield single by Beres, yet saw the next two batters ground out and fly out to end the inning.
Albany looked to get on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth, as Katie Wambold lined a one-out single down the left field line. After the next Great Dane hitter flied out to left for the second out of the inning, shortstop Alex Toole hit a sinking line drive to center field where redshirt-junior Melinda Dulkowski made a diving catch to end the inning and help keep the home team off the scoreboard.
Looking to add to their lead, the Runnin' Bulldogs put together back-to-back singles to start the top of the sixth, only to have the next three GWU hitters go down in order to leave the score at 2-0 heading into the bottom of the sixth.
Albany got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, as the first two batters singled to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt moved the runners up to second and third with one out, a ground ball to third pushed across the runner from third to put the Great Danes on the scoreboard and cut the GWU lead to one at 2-1. The next Albany batter struck out looking to end the inning and leave the score at 2-1 heading into the final inning of play.
Neither team would push across a run in the seventh, as GWU's Cindy Boomhower struck out two in the bottom of the seventh to help the Runnin' Bulldogs hold on for the 2-1 win.
Gutierrez (4-6) earned the win, as she allowed only one run on three hits, while striking out one over 5.1 innings of play, while Boomhower recorded her first save of the season striking out three over the final 1.2 innings of the contest.
Albany's Allie Weiser suffered the loss, as GWU scored two runs on the righty on eight hits and four base-on-balls over the seven innings of play.
At the plate, Gallardo was 1-3 with a home run and two RBI, while Beres was 2-3 with a base-on-balls. Baker was 2-3, while Hutchinson was 1-3 with a double.
For the Great Danes offensively, MacDowell was 1-2 with a run scored, while Wambold and Vicky McFarland were both 1-3 for the game.
Game 2: Gardner-Webb 6, UNC Wilmington 0
GWU's Boomhower got six runs from her team in the bottom of the third which was more than enough for the redshirt-senior who did not allow a single base runner on her way to her first career perfect game, a 6-0 win for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
After the two teams combined for just one hit over the first two and half innings of the contest, a single by Morenus in the bottom of the second, the Runnin' Bulldogs blew the game open in the bottom of the third.
Gallardo led off the inning with a single to center, which was immediately followed by a four-pitch walk by senior outfielder Jane Savage to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a strikeout and a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third with two outs, Burns hit a streaking single up the middle to plate both Gallardo and Savage to put GWU up 2-0.
Later in the inning, Hutchinson singled through the left side to drive in Burns and put the home team up 3-0. The next GWU hitter, Gomes, then doubled to right center field to clear the bases and push the GWU lead out to 6-0 after three innings of play.
That was all the run support Boomhower would need, as she dominated the UNC Wilmington batters from start to finish, striking out nine, including the side in the top of the sixth inning, en route to the perfect game 6-0 win.
Boomhower (4-1) recorded her fourth win of the season, striking out nine of the 21 batters she faced in the perfect game.
Gomes led the way at the plate, as she was 1-3 with a double and three RBI, while Burns was 1-3 with two RBI and Hutchinson was 1-3 with an RBI.
Gardner-Webb (10-12) will return to action tomorrow afternoon, as the Runnin' Bulldogs are slated to take on Bowling Green at 1 p.m. and St. John's at 4 p.m. on day two of the 2012 Winthrop/adidas Invitational in Rock Hill, S.C.