BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb's comeback attempt in the bottom of the seventh fell just short Sunday afternoon, and Radford held on to win the rubber match, 5-4, at Brinkley Softball Stadium.
Gardner-Webb (11-22, 4-4 Big South) fell behind 5-0 after six innings, but found its offensive groove in its final at bat.
After Radford coaxed a ground ball to lead off the inning, Madi Lewis legged out an infield single. Pinch runner Olivia Henson moved to second on Megan Champion's single to center, then Maddi Johnson doubled Henson home with a hit to right field.
Sophomore Kaylee Wacaster came through with another clutch hit, finding the gap in right center to drive home Johnson and Champion – trimming the Highlanders' lead to 5-3 with only one out in the inning.
Rachel Cumiskey kept the rally alive, ripping a single into centerfield that allowed Wacaster to score from second and trim the Radford lead to just one run.
After a pop fly, Gardner-Webb got the winning run on base, as Alia Booth earned a walk. Radford recovered, however, as relief pitcher Kayla Huffman recorded a strikeout to end the game.
Radford took control of Sunday's rubber match early on, scoring two runs in the first on a two-run home run to left from Maggie Rowe.
Neither team scratched again until the fifth, when the Highlanders plated two more. Kayla Bishton drove home the first run with a single into center, then Hunter Mundy singled to shortstop to plate Bishton for a 4-0 lead.
Sofia Tapia drive home a run with her single in the sixth to wrap up Radford's offensive production for the day.
Abby Morrow (13-2) picked up the win in the circle for Radford, allowing four runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings of work. Huffman came on to record the final two outs of the game for a save.
Radford had eight hits in the game, with Bishton (2-for-4, RBI) and Hannah Medlam (2-for-3, 2B) leading the way.
Gardner-Webb's Summer Darnell (2-9) was tagged with Sunday's loss, allowing just two earned runs on three hits in 2.0 innings of work. Mackenzie Thompson and Henson closed out the game for the Runnin' Bulldogs.
GWU also had eight hits, with Wacaster (2-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI) and Booth (2-for-3) collecting two knocks each. The Runnin' Bulldogs stranded seven runners in the game, but batted a robust .444 (4-of-9) with runners in scoring position.
Gardner-Webb will remain at home for its next test, hosting Winthrop on Wednesday at 5:00 pm for a single game. GWU took the first two games of the series over the Eagles to open Big South play.