BOILING SPRINGS - Adam McFarland dropped in an RBI single
with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday night,
scoring Alex Newman from first to give Gardner-Webb a 6-5 win over USC Upstate.
Gardner-Webb (14-8) took a 5-4 lead in the sixth when Zeke
Blanton roped a two-run single to right with two outs and the bases loaded, capping
a three-run inning. That lead stood until the top of the ninth, when USC
Upstate (16-4) took advantage of a throwing error to plate the tying run.
Austin Liput roped a one-out double to left center to start
that rally for the Spartans, and scored when Brody Greer's grounder to third
was thrown away at first base. Gardner-Webb closer Adam Izokovic pressed on
despite the miscue, getting a diving stab of a line drive by Dusty Quattlebaum
to end the inning with the game still tied.
The Runnin' Bulldogs got the potential winning run on board
via an error in the bottom of the ninth, but could not break through. The
Spartans drew a walk and collected a single to get two men on board in the top
of the 10th, but Izokovic worked out of the jam to give Gardner-Webb
its chance at the win in the bottom half.
Quattlebaum ripped a single to left center with one out, but
was erased at second on a fielder's choice ground ball from the speedy Newman -
who hustled down the line to avoid a double play. McFarland then put barrel to
ball on an 0-1 pitch, and the ball dropped just in front of a deeply-positioned
outfield, allowing Newman to race around from first to easily beat the throw
Quattlebaum gave Gardner-Webb an early 2-0 lead, hammering a
pitch over the fence in right field in the bottom of the first inning for his
fifth home run of the year. That two-out blast scored Benji Jackson, who walked
to lead off the inning.
The 'Dogs did not score again unti the sixth, as USC Upstate
plated single runs in the second and fourth - and two runs in the fifth to take
a 4-2 lead. In the sixth, Gardner-Webb got a leadoff single from Scott Coleman
and an RBI single from Brad Collins to trim the lead to 4-3.
A pair of walks loaded the bases for the Runnin' Bulldogs,
and Blanton took a 2-2 pitch the other way into right for his first two RBI of
the season to give GWU its 5-4 lead.
Izokovic (2-0) picked up the win, working 2.1 innings and
allowing just one unearned run on two hits with a strikeout. Mitch Warner (1.0
IP) and Jeff Howell (0.2 IP) posted scoreless outings in relief of starter
Andrew Barnett, who pitched 6.0 solid innings with four runs allowed on six
hits. The sophomore righty fanned five and did not issue a walk.
Quattlebaum (2-for-5, HR, 2 RBI), Coleman (2-for-3, run) and
Collins (2-for-4, RBI) paced Gardner-Webb's 10-hit effort at the plate. Blanton
and Quattlebaum each had two runs batted in.
Jordan Rusk (0-1) was tagged with the mound loss for
Upstate, which saw a four-game win
streak come to an end. Starter David Palladino - a 13th-round pick
in last June's Major League Draft - worked 5.2 innings, scattered seven hits
and allowed five runs (five strikeouts). Chris Knauff, Chad Sobotka and Andrew
Wyant each worked scoreless innings for the Spartans in relief.
USC Upstate collected nine hits, with Lipt (2-for-5, 2B, 2
runs) leading the way.
Gardner-Webb will turn its attention to Big South play this
weekend, hitting the road to face the league's hottest team at Liberty (20-3).
The Flames are riding a four-game win streak heading into Friday's opener.
First pitch is set for 6 pm ET at Worthington Stadium.