BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. - Mars Hill College starter Tim Crawford tossed a complete-game four hitter to lead the Lions to a 5-3 win at Gardner-Webb Monday afternoon.
It was the fourth loss in a row for Gardner-Webb (9-7).
Crawford (1-4) picked up his first mound win of the season for Mars Hill (8-17), and needed just 106 pitches to get through the game. He retired the Runnin' Bulldogs in order in the eighth and ninth, getting five fly balls and a strikeout.
Mars Hill scored without benefit of a hit in the first inning, as Michael Beuker coaxed a leadoff walk, stole second, moved to third on a ground ball to first and scored on Joe Belviso's grounder to third for a 1-0 lead.
The Lions went up 3-0 in the third, as a pair of unearned runs crossed the plate. Nine hole hitter Tyler Reboulet led off with a single and Jacob Rand reached on an error to put two on board with one out. After a fly ball to right nearly closed the door, Coty Pate delivered a two-out single to right field to drive home both men for a 3-0 lead.
Gardner-Webb answered in the bottom of the third, getting one-out singles from Brad Collins and Benji Jackson and loading the bases with a two-out walk to Dusty Quattlebaum. A wild pitch plated Collins to trim the lead to 3-1, but Crawford got out of the inning with a ground ball.
Mars Hill padded its lead in the fourth, with a pair of singles to lead off the frame. Reboulet drove in Matt Mayo with a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead, and Beuker singled home Ben Hunt with two outs to make the score 5-1.
Gardner-Webb went down in order in the fourth, but mounted a brief rally in the fifth. Collins was hit by a pitch with one out, and Jackson belted an RBI double to the fence in right center to cut the deficit to 5-2. A wild pitch moved Jackson to third, and Scott Johnson drove him home with a groundout to third to trim the margin to 5-3.
The Runnin' Bulldogs would not threaten the rest of the way, collecting just one more hit - a Collins single in the seventh - that was erased by a 1-6-3 double play.
Gardner-Webb freshman Matt Fraudin (0-1) took the loss in his first college start, working four innings and allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts (one walk). Mitch Warner worked four scoreless innings out of the pen to keep the 'Dogs within striking distance, and Adam Izokovic pitched a perfect ninth.
Jackson (2-for-3, 2B, run, RBI) and Collins (2-for-2, 2 runs) supplied all of Gardner-Webb's hits Monday, as spots two through five in the order combined to go 0-for-14 at the plate.
Mars Hill managed eight singles in the game, with Pate (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Mayo (2-for-3, run) accounting for half of that total.
Gardner-Webb faces its toughest test of the season on Wednesday, traveling to face No. 6 North Carolina at 3 pm in Boshamer Stadium.