BOILING SPRINGS – Gardner-Webb scored two runs in the third and another in the fourth to build an early lead, and held on for a 3-2 win over Winthrop to complete a three-game sweep in Big South softball action.
Wednesday's game was a makeup of last week's contest that was postponed due to wet weather.
The Runnin' Bulldogs (12-25, 5-7 Big South) got going in the third after Megan Gibbons coaxed a one-out walk. Alia Booth followed with a single into right field and, with two outs, Callie Thornton belted a two-run double into left center – driving home Gibbons and Booth for a 2-0 edge.
Annamarie Warley started a brief rally for Gardner-Webb in the fourth inning, leading off the frame with a single. Megan Champion followed with another single – moving Warley all the way to third – and Rachel Cumiskey drove her home two batters later with a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Eagles rallied to make a game of it in the fifth, plating a pair of runs on Ashley Westbrooks two-run single into left. Tara Loken reached earlier in the inning on a catcher's interference call, Paige Haley singled and Maddie Antone followed with another single to load the bases for Westbrooks.
Reliever Ashley Wark came into the circle for Gardner-Webb after that hit, and coaxed a pair of fly balls to end the threat and preserve the lead.
Wark stranded three more runners in the top of the sixth, recording a pair of key strikeouts, and retired the Eagles in order in the top of the seventh to finish the game.
Summer Darnell (2-8) picked up the win for Gardner-Webb, working 4.1 innings and allowing just two runs on nine hits. She fanned three and did not issue a free pass.
Wark earned her second save of the season, working 2.2 scoreless frames with a pair of strikeouts and no walks.
Booth continued to swing a mighty bat, going 3-for-3 with a triple and a run scored. She accounted for nearly half of Gardner-Webb's eight hits in the game. Thornton (1-for-3, 2B, 2 RBI), Maddie Johnson (1-for-3), Warley (1-for-2, run), Champion (1-for-2) and Madi Lewis (1-for-1) also had hits for the Runnin' Bulldogs Wednesday.
Winthrop finished with 11 hits, but stranded 10 runners in the loss.
Antone led the way, going 3-for-4 at the dish. Haley (2-for-4) and Shayna Covington (2-for-2) also had a pair of hits for the Eagles.
Kaleigh Romine took the loss, allowing three runs on six hits in 4.0 innings of work. She fanned three and walked two.
Gardner-Webb will be back in action on Friday, hosting Liberty to begin a three-game series. The game, which will serve as Senior Night, is slated for a 5:00 pm start at Brinkley Softball Stadium.