BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – A two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh by Gage Parham propelled Gardner-Webb to a 7-5 win over visiting Western Carolina on Wednesday evening.
Gardner-Webb (19-17) led off the frame with a stand-up double to left field by Justin Kunz, with Collin Thacker reaching via a walk by Western Carolina (16-19) pitcher Jake Niezen to put runners on first and second with no outs.
The Catamounts would retire the next two batters before Parham would drive both Kunz and Thacker home on a single through the right side of the field.
Gardner-Webb would hold off WCU in the remaining innings, only allowing one base hit to seal the win.
Western Carolina jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Bryson Bowman hit a solo home run to left field with two outs.
The Runnin' Bulldogs answered in the bottom half of the inning to take a 2-1 lead. Mickey Dugan would hit a single to center field, which would be followed by a two-run blast to left field by Kunz, his third home run of the season.
The Catamounts would reclaim the lead in the third inning as Bowman hit his second home run of the day, a two-run shot to left field.
Gardner-Webb would respond in the bottom of the fourth inning, scoring twice on a two-RBI single to left field by Kunz, which was followed by a RBI single by Thacker, giving the Runnin' Bulldogs a 5-3 edge.
Western Carolina would score one run in the fifth on a solo home run to right field by Matthew Koehler and once more in the top of the seventh on a error by GWU shortstop Paul Trick to tie the game at 5-5.
Jarrett Thompson (2-0) earned the win for the Runnin' Bulldogs, tossing a scoreless 1.2 innings in relief while allowing no hits. Starter Isaac Campbell lasted 4.0 innings, giving up four runs with two strikeouts. Wil Sellers tossed a scoreless ninth inning to earn his seventh save of the season.
Gardner-Webb had nine base hits on the evening, with Kunz (3-for-4, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 2-runs), Parham (2-for-4, 2 RBI), and Dugan (2-for-5, run) each collecting multiple hits.
Niezen (0-1) took the loss for the Catamounts, allowing two runs on two base hits in 2.2 innings of work. Starter Michael Davis went 3.2 innings, allowing five runs with three strikeouts.
Western Carolina had six base hits, with Bowman (2-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, 2-runs) leading that effort.
Gardner-Webb steps back into Big South Conference action on Friday evening, hosting Liberty at 7:00 pm. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 (www.WatchESPN.com).