BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – A RBI double by Gardner-Webb senior Collin Thacker to right field with one out in the bottom of the ninth gave the Runnin' Bulldogs a 9-8 victory over Wright State on Tuesday night.
Gardner-Webb (3-6) rallied from an 8-2 deficit to score seven unanswered runs over the final three innings after Wright State (3-4) took early control of the game after a six-run fifth inning.
The comeback effort began in the bottom of the seventh inning as Chandler Redmond hit his fourth home run of the season to lead of the frame, sending the ball over the left field fence. A base knock by Mickey Dugan was followed by a RBI double to right field by Luke Kaesmeyer to trim the deficit to 8-4. Paul Trick followed that with a two-run blast to left field to set the score at 8-6.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Diamond 'Dogs led off with another solo home run, this time by Danny Sullivan, who crushed the fourth pitch of his at-bat over the centerfield wall. GWU was able to put runners on the corners after the following two plate appearances, and a wild pitch by Derek Hendrixson scored Redmond from third to tie the game.
Wright State had a chance to score in the top of the ninth, as two straight base hits with two outs put runners on the corners, yet GWU reliever Cooper Devine was able to draw a fly ball from Gabe Snyder that was caught in right field by Corey Howard to keep the game knotted at 8-8 as play headed to the bottom half of the inning.
Howard hit a pop fly to Wright State second baseman Matt Morrow to lead off the top of the ninth, which was followed by a single through the left side of the field by Mason Fox that just passed the outstretched glove of shortstop Kevin Whatley. That brought Thacker to the plate, who drove the ball into deep right field to send Fox across the plate for the game-winning run.
Devine earned the win in relief for the Runnin' Bulldogs, hurling the final 3.0 innings, allowing no runs and just two base hits while fanning three batters. Starter Isaac Campbell lasted 4.2 innings, surrendering seven runs with five strikeouts, including six runs allowed in the top of the fifth with two outs.
Daniel Kreuzer took the loss for the Raiders, allowing the game-winning run in the ninth while recording only one out. Starter Chris Rodriguez tossed 5.0 innings, allowing two runs with five strikeouts.
Gardner-Webb collected 12 base hits throughout the evening, led by Fox (3-for-4, 2B, 2 runs), Thacker (2-for-4, 2B, 2 RBI), Sullivan (2-for-4, HR, 2 RBI), and Mickey Dugan (2-for-3, 1 run).
Wright State had a total of nine base hits, with four players collecting multiple base knocks.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow afternoon at 3:00 pm, two hours earlier than previously scheduled because of potential inclement weather, at John Henry Moss Stadium.