Radford, Va. - The Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs posted 17 hits compared to Presbyterian's 13 for the game and blasted three home runs by way of seniors McKenzie Morenus and Lindsea Hutchinson to defeat the No. 7 Blue Hose 11-9 in game 10 of the 2012 Big South Softball Championship presented by Musco Sports Lighting and Brookwood Farms Barbeque Friday night at Radford Softball Field in Radford, Va.
The win was the Runnin' Bulldogs fourth over PC on the season and their eighth straight overall.
PC jumped out to a huge lead in the top of the first, as a two-out GWU fielding error allowed two runs to score to put the visitors on top early 2-0. The next Blue Hose batter was senior Leslie Hensley who belted a two-run home run over the left field fence to give PC a 4-0 lead.
GWU's Morenus got two runs back in a hurry for the Runnin' Bulldogs in the bottom half of the first, as she blasted a towering shot that cleared the scoreboard in left center field which drove in fellow teammate Samantha Meenaghan to cut the PC lead to 4-2. The home run was her sixth of the season.
After Gardner-Webb left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second, PC got an RBI single to left off the bat of first-baseman Mary Ellen Morris to drive in fellow teammate Morgan Durham from second base in the top of the third to push the Blue Hose in front by three at 5-2.
Refusing to quit, GWU took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the third, as Morenus lead off the inning with a single up the middle. After a ground out moved Morenus us to second, shortstop Savannah Burns hit a line drive single to center to put runners on first and third with one out. A pop out to third proved to be the second out of the inning.
Freshman Kellie Beres then singled to short, beating out the throw to first, which allowed Morenus to score from third and put the score at 5-3 in favor of the Blue Hose. The very next batter was Melinda Dulkowski who roped a single to center to drive in both Burns and Beres and tie the score up at 5-5.
GWU was not done scoring, as Meenaghan singled to short and a PC throwing error allowed Dulkowski to score from third on the play to put the home team in front at 6-5.
The Blue Hose retied the score in the top of the fourth, as Tera Powell hit a one-out single up the middle which was immediately followed by a triple down the right field line by outfielder Cat Tarvin, scoring Powell and tying the score up at 6-6.
After PC went down in order in the top of the fifth, Gardner-Webb put together a string of hits to retake the lead.
The Runnin' Bulldogs' Hutchinson led off the inning with a single off the center field fence, which was followed by a single down the left field line by Beres. Dulkowski then moved both runners into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt to bring up the top of the order. Meenaghan then hit a deep sacrifice fly to left field to plate Hutchinson from third to put the Runnin' Bulldogs back on top at 7-6.
With two outs, junior third-baseman Jordyn Arrowood singled through the left side to drive in Beres and push GWU's lead to two at 8-6 through five innings of play.
PC threatened again in the top of the sixth, as the Blue Hose loaded the bases with one out. However, GWU reliever Cindy Boomhower got out of the inning with the help of some solid defense up the middle, allowing only one run on an RBI single by designated player Erin Taylor to cut the Gardner-Webb lead to one at 8-7.
Morenus quickly got the run back in the bottom of the sixth, pushing the GWU lead back to two at 9-7, as she sent the first pitch flying over the left center field fence for her second home run of the contest and seventh on the year.
Two batters later, Hutchinson hit a two-run tape measure shot to left to give the Runnin' Bulldogs their largest lead of the game at 11-7 with one inning remaining in the game. The blast was the senior's fourth of the season.
Presbyterian College refused to quit, as Leslie Hensley started the top of the seventh off with a double to right field. After a groundout to third, third-baseman Rachel Hopper hit a home run to left center field to plate two and cut the GWU lead to two at 11-9.
GWU's Boomhower shut the door, as she got the next two PC batters to pop out to short and ground out to second to end the game with the Runnin' Bulldogs on top 11-9.
Boomhower (12-6) earned the win, as the righty gave up five runs on 11 hits and two walks, while striking out two over 6.1 innings of work.
The loss went to Hensley (11-17), as the senior righty allowed five runs on seven hits over 3.1 innings of action.
Morenus led the offensive attack for GWU, as she was 3-for-4 with two home runs, three RBI and three runs scored, while Hutchinson was 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored. Meenaghan was 3-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Beres was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
For the Blue Hose, Hensley was 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI, while Hopper was 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.
Gardner-Webb (27-27) will continue on in the 2012 Big South Softball Championship Tournament, as the Runnin' Bulldogs will face off with No. 3 Charleston Southern tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
PC finishes their season at 20-33 overall.
Head Coach Quotes
GWU Head Coach Tom Cole
"Presbyterian battled incredibly hard and we earned that victory. It was a slugfest and (Cindy) Boomhower did everything she could to get the win. It was a team victory and we are excited to go to the next round."
PC Head Coach Kama Tucker
"When we played Gardner-Webb earlier in the season, they were a good hitting team. We tried to make adjustments coming in, but they were determined to hit tonight. We only had six returning players and nobody expected us to do much, so I am very proud of our kids on the way they fought all night and how they got better as the season and tournament progressed. I'm especially proud of our two seniors who had good nights and hit home runs in their final game of their career."