BOILING SPRINGS - After winning the first two games of the series, Gardner-Webb fell in the finale, 10-4, to second-place Radford Sunday afternoon at John Henry Moss Stadium/Bill Masters Field.
Radford (26-20, 11-7 Big South) rapped out 14 hits and used a six-run sixth inning to pull away. The win snapped the Highlanders' six-game losing streak to the Runnin' Bulldogs (27-22, 9-9 Big South) as well.
As it had in the series' first two games, Gardner-Webb jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. A leadoff single from Henry Rundio and an RBI single from Scott Coleman with two outs accounted for that damage.
Radford wasted little time taking that lead back, scoring a run in the second to tie the game and plating a pair in the third to go up 3-1.
Radford extended its lead in the top of the fifth, getting a leadoff bunt single from Brett Mollenhauer to ignite a rally. Mollenhauer came around to score on a two-out single by Daniel Wright to push the lead to 4-1 and Matt Mack nearly added to the lead before being thrown out at the plate by Adam McFarland to end the inning.
Disaster struck in the top of the sixth, with Westyn Baylor lacing a single to right and moving to third when Ryan Burgess dropped a double in between two outfielders in left center to put a pair in scoring position with no outs.
A one-out line drive by Josh Gardiner plated one run when the ball couldn't be handled by a sliding outfielder and Gardiner slid into second safely to keep two men in scoring position. A walk to Mollenhauer loaded the bases and Zach Costello singled through the left side to push the lead to 6-1.
A sacrifice fly by Mack made the score 7-1, but another walk loaded the bases again. Wright followed that with a bases-clearing double to make the score 10-1.
Gardner-Webb plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth, getting a two-run single from Dusty Quattlebaum and an RBI single from Brantley Smith for the final margin.
Radford starter Mark Peterson (4-1) was stellar, hurling 6.1 innings and allowing just one run on five hits.
The Highlanders had five different players pace its offense with two hits. Wright (2-for-4, 2B, 4 RBI) provided the most production out of his sixth spot in the batting order. Mack (2-for-3, 2 RBI) also drove in a pair of runs.
Hilton (4-3) took the loss for Gardner-Webb, giving up three runs on five hits in 3.0 innings of work.
Gardner-Webb managed 10 hits at the plate, with 10 different players collecting one hit in the game. Coleman extended his streak of reaching base to 22 games, going 1-for-3 with an RBI.
The Runnin' Bulldogs will break for exams before getting back into Big South play at Presbyterian next Friday afternoon.