BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb's bats remained on fire in Wednesday's nightcap, as the 'Dogs rapped out 10 hits in an 11-2 win over Winthrop in five innings.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (9-18, 2-0 Big South) swept its opening Big South Conference doubleheader with a tremendous offensive display, pounding out 24 hits in the two wins.
Leading 9-2 after four innings, Gardner-Webb got a two-run single from Megan Gibbons to end the game. Annamarie Warley led off the inning and was hit by a pitch and Kaylee Wacaster delivered a two-out single into center to put a second runner on base. Rachel Cumiskey walked to load the sacks, and Gibbons stepped in with her second hit of the game to end it.
After rallying for six runs in its final three at bats to win the opener, Gardner-Webb wasted little time seizing complete control of the finale.
Wacaster led off the bottom of the first with a single to third base, then moved to second on a ground – and scooted all the way to third on a wild pitch. Gibbons and Alia Booth walked to load the bases and Megan Champion cleared the sacks with a three-run double into left center. Warley followed that knock with a single to drive home Champion for a 4-0 lead.
Winthrop responded with a pair in the top of the second, but Gardner-Webb scored twice in the third and three more times in the fourth to regain momentum.
Callie Thornton led off the third with a walk and Booth belted a two-run home run over the fence in right for a 6-2 lead. It was Booth's second home run of the season, but her first in Brinkley Softball Stadium.
Allie Barrick led off the fourth with a single and the 'Dogs had two on board when Cumiskey singled to shortstop. Thornton drove in a run with a groundout and Booth followed with a two-run single – right up the middle – to give Gardner-Webb a 9-2 advantage.
The 'Dogs then cut the game short with its fifth-inning burst.
Summer Darnell (1-4) earned the win in the circle, hurling 5.0 innings and allowing just two runs on six hits.
Wacaster (2-for-4, 3 runs), Gibbons (2-for-3, 2 RBI, 2 runs) and Booth (2-for-2, HR, 4 RBI) led Gardner-Webb's offensive charge.
Winthrop's Sabrina Shroades (2-2) took the loss, lasting just 0.2 innings. She allowed four runs on three hits and two walks.
Winthrop had six hits offensively, with Maddie Antone (2-for-2) leading the way.
Gardner-Webb will be back in action quickly, traveling to Charleston Southern for a three-game set this weekend.