CHARLESTON – Kaylee Wacaster went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBI to lead the way for Gardner-Webb in a 10-1 road win at Charleston Southern Sunday afternoon.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (10-20, 3-2 Big South) moved back above .500 in league play with the victory, pounding out 12 hits in the process.
Freshman standout Alia Booth also homered and drove home three runs for Gardner-Webb.
The 'Dogs took control of the game early, scoring three runs in the first inning. Rachel Cumiskey started that rally with a one-out double into left, then Megan Gibbons reached with a base on balls. Booth then drilled a 2-0 pitch over the fence in right center to give Gardner-Webb early momentum – and a 3-0 lead.
A five-run burst in the third inning effectively put the game away for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Maddi Johnson singled up the middle to lead things off, then Callie Thornton followed with a single through the left side. Madi Lewis singled into right to load the bases, then Annamarie Warley doubled home Johnson and Thornton for a 5-0 lead.
Wacaster put the game on ice moments later, following Warley's hit with a three-run homer to dead center. That gave Gardner-Webb its commanding 8-0 lead. Another call to the bullpen by CSU was able to stem the tide.
Gardner-Webb plated two more runs in the top of the fifth, as Megan Champion and Warley each singled to lead off the frame. Gibbons drove home Champion with an RBI groundout and – after Booth walked – Johnson drove home the final run with another base on balls.
Charleston Southern scored on a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth, but could not get the margin under eight runs – which cut the game short for a Gardner-Webb win.
In addition to Wacaster and Booth (1-for-3, HR, 3 RBI), Gardner-Webb got a pair of hits from Champion (2-for-3) and Warley (2-for-2, 2B, 2 RBI). Cumiskey (1-for-3), Gibbons (1-for-2, RBI), Johnson (1-for-3, RBI), Thornton (1-for-3) and Lewis (1-for-3) also had hits for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
Ashley Wark (5-4) picked up the win, working the distance in the circle. She scattered seven hits and allowed just one unearned run in the game.
Charleston Southern's Arizona Pilgrim (4-8) took the loss, lasting just 1.2 innings and allowing three runs on four hits (three walks). The Buccaneers used three pitchers in the game.
Leadoff hitter Amanda Matsumoto (3-for-3) led the Bucs' seven-hit offensive effort. Jade Gandara (2-for-2) also had a pair of hits for the home team.
Gardner-Webb will return home on Saturday, April 1, hosting Radford at 2:00 pm. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3 (WatchESPN.com). It will be the first game of a Saturday twinbill at Brinkley Softball Stadium.